My creative life lately has been filled with very practical things–like sewing up a gaping and quite revealing hole in my husband’s work-as in saturday outside, hard labor-pants, replacing buttons, and appliqued washcloths. Which obviously means that my sewing machine is working now. Thank you for all your suggestions. I did almost all of them, so I really have no idea what worked. But new bobbin, new needle, rethreaded, screws tightened, dust vacuumed…it’s working.
But back to the washcloth….it’s a small part of Dan’s and my attempt to work through some bedtime battles. The girls share a room now, and the struggles have been escalating since Elizabeth was born. It’s call you in a million times, get all settled and tucked into bed then remember you have to go the bathroom, grumbling because your sister is talking, whining because your "tummy hurts", bad attitude, hyper-active, over-tired–you name it, we’re experiencing it at bedtime.
When we first put them in the same room it was heaven. Dan and I would be dumb-struck, sitting in the living room waiting for the little voices to call out to us, but they never did. It was like they were so happy to be together, they didn’t need us anymore. I guess the charm has worn off.
And really there’s nothing worse than ending your day with them with these struggles and anger and frustration, especially for Dan, who’s time with them when he gets home from work is already limited.
SO, we’re making some changes around here. (how many times have I said that on this blog?) Starting with adopting my grandmother’s (mother of 15, granola recipe to follow) strict bedtime philosophy. Many times since we’ve lived here on the farm with her, I’ve heard her mention how they would call the children in from playing at 7:30, even in the summer when there was still plenty of light for playing, and all the other neighbor children were still awake and available.
Granted, I don’t have quite so many children to get ready for bed but we’d been letting bedtime slip later and later this summer and the kids were so tired…ugh. it was just horrible. So we’ve established a "time to come in" time–a tiny bit later than my grandmother’s but still early by previous standards. And we’ve established a bedtime routine.
after dinner before before you can go outside, play, swim, etc, the girls must have three things on their pillow:
–whatever stuffed they are sleeping with
Then, once we come in, we have a bedtime routine:
1. Get on pajamas
2. Brush teeth
3. Wash hands, face (usually legs, feet and arms in the summer)
4. Go to the bathroom
5. Get a cup of water for beside your bed
6. Get in bed
It seems like a lot of steps, but really all those bathroom steps flow together. I mean, we’ve tried everything but a real routine, so I’m hoping this helps. And we took down their bunk beds until further notice. (It seems to help mary to be able to see emma. She doesn’t call us in as much.) And as I write this many of you are probably thinking, "Duh, molly, we all already have a bedtime routine, this is nothing new…", but I’m pretty sure we all still have a few bedtime battles that we fight each night. Ours has just grown quite a bit, lately.
So what does this have to do with a washcloth? Well, the day I introduced the new routine, we sat at the kitchen table and drew little pictures of all the steps–I never thought I’d spend so much time trying to teach emma how to draw a toilet…and then I gave each of them their own appliqued washcloth to hang on the hooks by the sink. Just trying to drum up some enthusiasm for the new routine, you know?!
It’s day three of "Project Bedtime Routine" and it seems to be helping. Things seem calmer at bedtime. And I do believe that children like a little routine and structure and regularity in their lives. I do, too. I’ll keep you posted on how this works. Parenting is contstant evaluation and adjusting, isn’t it?!
So, this is really long. Thanks to those that stayed with me.
I think I"ll save the recipe for Monday. If you’re desperate for it, let me know and I’ll email it to you. I just finished up my jar of it and want to make some this weekend, too.