8:00 PM is a sacred time at my house, it’s the time when humans under the age of 16 (let’s make that 21) have to be in bed.
The process is simple in theory: change into pajamas, potty, wash hands, melatonin for Jesse, several small cups of water equally distributed, prayers, read scriptures, read stories, good night.
That is how it is supposed to go.
Instead, children don’t always do what you want. I don’t think that I have repeated myself more than when I am asking children to go to bed. Even if they are highly trained, they find some way to get out of bed and drag the process out late into the night.
In truth, tonight was a normal, easy going bedtime. There was no shouting. Sarah and I had to guide the children into pajamas with a little more direction than normal, but it went smoothly as could be expected.
My favorite part is reading to my kids. It’s the end of the day, things are calming down. Jesse is listening intently to whatever I am reading. Griffin is asking me for a vitamin C because he likes the flavor or for another glass of water, or he won’t stop talking quietly to himself because he knows that if he is quiet, he will fall asleep. Sarahmay is next door in her bed under a load of stuffed animals, blankets, and three to five books looking at pictures sometimes singing to herself.
I like to read stories that are new to me or that will interest me a second time through. I have read the Harry Potter books, the Fablehaven series, numerous children’s classics: The Trumpet of the Swan, The Wind in the Willows, Shel Silverstein’s poetry to name a few.
I have read parts of Shakespearian plays to them and Tennyson’s poems. I even started reading Golding’s The Lord of the Flies until Sarah found out and said that it was too dark and too advanced for the kids. (I think Sarahmay was two at the time…my bad)
They have had a different reading experience than most children their age, but they will be well read by the time they are in high school and college.
I do lament the lack of quality in kiddie lit these days. Let me explain that Sarah spends a fair amount of time reading picture books to the kids, and I have been known to read a princess story every now and then (I even enjoyed a few of them). But, I have a hard time reading something that doesn’t keep my interest. This choice might be selfish of me, but I have read advanced materials to my kids from day one so that my kids may enjoy and comprehend better the complex world of life as well as the story at even an earlier age.
Of course, we still take the kids to the local public library and let them pick up several picture books at their own choice, and we have many picture books at home for them to browse through and select for reading, but they are getting much more challenging and I’ll add, intriguing, stories every night around bedtime.
Jesse listens with anticipation while the melatonin does its work, Griffin stops wiggling and drifts off to sleep, and eventually, the pages in the next room go still as Sarahmay nods next to her piles of plushy friends.
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May your bedtime stories be just as sweet…Good night.