Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nighttime Routines

We've leaving the kids with family next month for an evening wedding,
so it's a rare time we won't be putting them to bed. I'm a little
nervous for the poor person or persons who have to slog through the
nighttime routines. Here's my best description of how they go.

Aaron
1. Change his diaper and put him in pajamas.
2. Bring him up to his room and put him in the crib.
3. Make sure he has his pacifier in his mouth, his teddy bear in his
arm, and his blanket on top of him.
4. Close the shade and turn on the humidifier and lullaby music.
5. Turn off the light and shut the door.

Jada
1. Close the shade and turn on the humidifier and baby monitor.
2. Change her into her pajamas.
3. Fill up sippy cup with milk, sit on bed with her while she drinks.
4. First, you'll read "Put Me in the Zoo." Towards the front of the
book, there will be three consecutive pages where the bear's spots are
all one color. She will announce each color, and you are to repeat
what she said. Then, towards the back of the book, there are pictures
of a circus. For each picture, she will say, "circus," and you'll
need to repeat, "circus." If you don't give her time to say these
things or if you don't repeat after her, she won't let you turn the
page or put down the book.
5. Second, you'll read "The Little Penguin." As you read each left
hand side page, let her touch the furry animals on the right hand
side. She'll also point to and say one item: "fish go in the water."
Repeat after her.
6. Third, you'll read "The Busy Spider." The first two pages have a
picture of a sun. She'll say, "sun," and you should repeat after her.
After that, you should be able to read the rest of the book
uninterrupted.
7. Fourth, you'll read "The House that Jill Built." I've lost track
of the things she'll point out and say, but suffice to say they are
the exact same things each time. Just repeat each one.
8. Fifth, you'll read "Yum Yum Dim Sum." There are just a few things
she'll point out in this story. In order: "fish go in the water,"
"cookie," "spoon," "cup," "cup," and "orange." You've probably
figured this out by now, but: repeat after her.
9. Sixth, you'll read "One to Ten." This is a relatively new addition
to the rotation, so she hasn't yet developed any rituals with this
book.
10. Seventh and finally, you'll read "Goodnight Moon." Hoo boy, where
do I start?
a. The first set of green pages, you'll need to point to various items
and ask Jada what they are. Your best bet is to go in this order:
moon, telephone, red balloon (at which point Jada will say, "red
balloon," go find her red balloon, and then say, "one two balloons"),
clock (the one on the nightstand), the other clock (the one on the
mantle), fire, cow jumping over the moon, bears sitting in chairs (at
which point you should ask her "how many bears," and she'll point to
them and say "one two three bears"), stars, red blanket, green
blanket, rabbit go under the covers, light (it's a lamp), brush,
cereal (it's a bowl of something), and mouse. You don't have to go in
this order, but don't say I didn't warn you. You may or may not have
to repeat what she says after she says it, but if you don't repeat and
she keeps saying it, the only way you'll be able to move on is if you
repeat it.
b. The second set of green pages, you'll need to point to various
items and ask Jada what they are. Your best bet is to go in this
order: mama's knitting (a ball of yarn with needles), mama's chair
(the rocking chair the knitting is on), house (although you have to
keep pointing at it as she goes through this sequence: "go up the
stairs," "open door," "door," and finally "house"), mittens (hanging
on the drying rack; you'll then ask her "how many mittens," and she
will point to them and say "one two three four mittens"), kitty cats
(then you'll ask her "how many kitty cats," and she will point to them
and say "one two kitty cats"), mouse (then you'll ask her "how many
mice," and she will point to it and say "one mouse"), giraffe, books,
elephant, and fire. Again, you don't have to go in this order, but
don't say I didn't warn you; and you may or may not have to repeat
what she says after she says it, but if you don't repeat and she keeps
saying it, the only way you'll be able to move on is if you repeat it.
c. The third set of green pages, you'll need to point to just two
things: rabbit go in the water (the painting) and moon.
d. The fourth set of green pages is completely different. This time
you ask her to point as you say the following items: moon, red
balloon, telephone, clock, the other clock, cow jumping over the moon,
stars, bears sitting in chairs, red blanket, green blanket, rabbit go
under the covers, light, brush, cereal, and mouse. Again, you don't
have to go in this order, but don't say I didn't warn you.
e. After that, you can just read the rest of the book without interruption.
11. By then, she will have finished her milk and it's time to brush
her teeth, which we call "sha sha sha" (it's from a Mandarin DVD we
watch every so often). So we head to the kitchen, and she'll try to
climb one of the chairs near the island in the middle of the room, but
then stop and climb the chair in the corner near the rear door.
You'll put toothpaste on her toothbrush, and then start to brush the
back of her teeth. You'll say "ah," and then she'll say "ah," but
then before you can even touch any teeth, she'll say, "I hurt the
mouth," and you'll say, "I'm sorry." You may have to repeat this
back-and-forth two or three times. After you're done brushing the
back of her teeth, you'll say "ee," and she'll say, "ee," and then you
can brush the front of her teeth. Then you'll give her the toothbrush
and say, "now you brush." She'll look at the front of the toothbrush
and say, "Pooh," and then "honey," and you should repeat after every
word. Then she'll flip the toothbrush over and look at the back and
say "honey" five times, and again you should repeat each time. Then
she'll suck on the toothbrush, and then brush, and then she'll hand
the toothbrush to you. You wash it off, get a plastic cup of water
ready, and hold her above the sink while she holds the cup, drinks a
little water, spits it out, and then dumps the water and the cup into
the sink.
12. You then head back to her room, en route asking if she needs to go
potty one more time.
13. You put a diaper on her, and then sit down on the bed with her and
pray. This is the prayer I've been in the habit of praying: "Jesus,
we thank you for a wonderful day. We thank you for Aaron and Jada and
Mama and Dad and Granddad and Nina and Agong and Ama and Uncle Dither
and Auntie Mester and Uncle Matt and Aunt Cole and Aunt Eyah and Uncle
Chris and we pray that you'd give us a good night's sleep and help us
to love You even more tomorrow; we pray in Jesus' name: Amen."
14. She'll say amen, and then you kiss her on the forehead and she'll
probably say "tuck you in," so you repeat and tuck her in. If they're
not already in the bed, she'll gather her dolly, monkey, slippers,
triangle, two blankets, balloon, and pinwheel.
15. She'll ask for "tissue" and you give her a tissue, and then she'll
ask for "sing" and you can sing. Amy and I both sing the following:
"the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord lift His countenance upon
you, and give you peace, and give you peace, the Lord make His face to
shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious, the Lord be
gracious, gracious unto you, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
amen."
16. She'll say, "I love you," and you sneak one more kiss in, and
she'll say, "light on," and you leave the light on and close the door
behind you.

After all that, she has not gone down peacefully. She'll probably
come out of the room, either to ask for more tissue or to hand you a
speck of something that she doesn't want in her room. I have no
answer for what to do; sometimes, it takes her quite a long time to
settle into bed and fall asleep.

You may think that it's me who is the OCD person here. But I'm
telling you that I'm desperately trying to mix up or minimize the
routine, and it's Jada who refuses to let me take shortcuts or
liberties. Anyway, best of luck to our family members who will have
the blissful opportunity to go through all this.

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