Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bedtime Routine

For the reading pleasure of those who revel in the minutiae of Jada’s life, and also to document for Jada when she wants to look back on her childhood, here are some elements of her bedtime routine. They are in no particular order – we mix and match according to how the day has gone – but they are regular enough that hopefully they are giving a sense of continuity after a long day of taking in so much new information.

• Winding down strenuous activity and as much noise as possible – that means I have to rein in the urge to throw her up in the air and catch her, or hold her by the hand as she practices standing, and that we try to turn down the TV and radio

* Turn off all the lights in the hallway and turn on the lights on the pink Christmas tree that used to belong to Amy's grandma -- sometimes I'll tell Jada about her great-grandmother, who would've loved her, and sometimes I'll tell her about the Christmas story, and sometimes I won't tell her anything and we'll just look at the pretty lights Mommy put up

• One last diaper change – we splurge on the nice diapers for this one, since it has to hold an overnight’s worth of pee-pee

• Warm up a bottle of formula – and bring a second, unheated bottle as a backup

• Close the curtains in her bedroom – not that this keeps out all the outside noise, but at least it keeps our all the outside light

• Read a story together in the rocking chair – actually, it’s a picture book of animals, with fur and whiskers that you can touch; we have to go through it twice, and I try to say the animal names in as many languages as possible so she understands that objects are called different things in different languages

• Turn off the light and feed her a bottle in the rocking chair – halfway through, I make a feeble attempt to burp her, even though she always fusses

• Get her into the crib – usually by ¾ of the bottle, she’s dozing off, and then I try to keep her in motion from the rocker to the crib, first by continuing to rock, then by standing up and gently swinging her from side to side, and finally by slowly swinging her down into the crib

• Get her to fall totally asleep – she might wake up, but a bottle in the mouth usually gets her to fall right back asleep after only a few sucks

• Get her back to sleep when she (invariably) wakes up – usually once or twice, and usually within the first hour or so of going down, so that’s not too bad since we’re usually still up at that point (the waking up several hours later is the harder one, of course)

For as busy as we keep her during the day, crawling on her belly and standing up and pulling herself up and over things, she’s usually good for about twelve hours. I’d tell you about our waking up routines, but that’s just getting too much into the minutiae. Maybe I’ll save that for another post.
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