I love. love. love. Bedtime with the kids.
I have been abundantly blessed (any mom will affirm this) that ALL of the kids I work with go down relatively peacefully.
Part of this, of course, is that their parents set me up for success. The kids usually have a pattern to follow, and those who don’t get to chose what they want. After all, the point of having a sitter is that there is someone whose entire attention is devoted to the kids for a time, right? (I’m not a just-make-sure-the-house-doesn’t-burn-down kind of childcare provider.)
Tonite, I put Teresa(8) and her little brother(2 1/2) down like I have done every Thursday night, with few exceptions, for the past year and a half. The baby is sweet to put down because I see him learning the benefits of teeth brushing and going potty in the toilet, and because he’s incredibly neurotic and insists on things like: the blanket touching all four corners of the crib, the monkey on his left, the frogs at his feet, and the closet door closed, but the light on.
Teresa, though, is a different story. Baby girl just turned 8 years old last week and is beginning to assert her individuality. We’ve always had a go-to-bed pattern:
- teeth brushing and ‘jamas
- reading in bed (with voices!) for 15 minutes
- light on in closet, back scratching and singing songs
- setting her “lullaby” (a snowglobe) to play as i walk out
But for the past few months, she hasn’t wanted help going to bed. She’s gotten ready, read to herself, and even turned off her own lights and…put herself to bed. I’m so glad to see her growing into her own little person, someone who takes care of herself, but I missed those times.
Tonight, for whatever reason, she reverted. When it was time for bed, she wanted me to read to her. Then we prayed and I tucked her in to go to sleep.
And then, when I retreated to the living room to work, she came back out. “Miss Ritz, will you come lay down with me for a few minutes?”
Uhm, of COURSE i will. So tonight, we went into full mode. With the singing songs (Matt Redman’s “You Alone Can Save”) and the back scratching and, of course, I stayed a little longer and played her lullabye again because, you just never know how many times you’re going to get to do this!
These are some of the moments I absolutely take for granted, but bless me so much. The moments when I get to give my all to the exclusive care of one little life, and let that child know: You are loveable, you are loved. I adore and enjoy you and spending time with you, getting you to sleep well, is my joy.
I mean maybe that’s not what she thinks I’m saying. But it’s what I’m saying.