The nightly bedtime "routine". The most dreaded part of the day for many mothers - or at for least me. I'm using the word routine very loosely here. But if you count an unpredictable, chaotic mess a routine...then sure.
I recently participated in a photography project with focus on saving a particular story. Something that I would want preserved in photos forever. Of course as a mom, I knew it would involve my kids. They are growing so fast and I'm realizing that any day could be the day of "lasts". The last time my oldest wants to even take baths. The last time my youngest will sleep in a crib. The last time that I will get individual time with them before bed. So before I let those days of "lasts" creep up on me, I decided to preserve them.
Like I said a minute ago, I dreeeeeaaaaad bedtime. Well...let me rephrase that. I dread the PROCESS. It's not as easy as being like, "Ok! Goodnight, boys, I love you!" as I skip off to catch up on Netflix and enjoy my glass (or five) of wine. Nope. It's at LEAST an hour long PROCESS. But as much as I dread it, I know that one day...a long long time from now...I will miss this. I WILL miss this. Luckily, though, I now have the story preserved in photographs. I will be able to look back at these photos and remember the beautiful chaos.
Baths. Ohhhhhh baths. In and out and in and out and...yah. I don't even know the last time I mopped our bathroom floor. I mean my kids are practically the mop so there's no need. Baths always start out fun. Yay! Let's take a bath! I want bubbles! Oh toys! But then...the water is too hot! That's too many bubbles! Blake touched me! *insert eye roll* Bath time usually ends in tears and not just from the kids. Funny thing is, they actually played nicely together the night I took these photos. Kids...always out to prove us wrong.
Now, to the person who says baths calm children down before bed...you are a big fat liar. Either that or my kids are broken. Once they are out of the tub, it's like a bunch of wild wet dogs running through the house! Bouncing off the walls, rolling around on the floor and soaking everything in their path. Wild freakin animals.
Since baths obviously don't calm them down before bedtime, we let them bounce their energy out in our bed. It's an indoor trampoline but less bouncy. The amount of laughter from my two boys is awesome though. They just jump and laugh and jump. Sometimes they wrestle and most times my oldest decides to poke his butt out and fart on us. I can thank my husband for teaching him that. Seriously, why hasn't anyone figured out a way to bottle up the energy from a child yet?
I'm no expert but I have evidence to prove that the best way to calm children before bed is jumping. Let em jump it out! Eventually they wear down and finally chill. We pick a movie for the boys to watch before bed. Not the whole movie...God no. Like, 20 minutes max. Rio is one of our favorites.
As you can see, my kids are never actually still. Even when they're still, they're not REALLY still. They are still in this spot for 5 seconds and then still in that spot for 8 seconds. Our Bailey man...he's such a trooper. He made 10 years old this year and he just doesn't care anymore. He does such a great job at ignoring the hooligans. He's such a good dog and so gentle with our boys.
Finally! The time of day every mom dreams of...ACTUAL bedtime. Like...actually putting them to bed and closing the doors behind you. This is the part I will for sure miss. Lying a baby (yes I know he's a toddler) down in a crib, the quick bedtime stories (if you have older kids you know what I mean), sweet snuggles and hugs and saying nightly prayers over the sound of the light up hippo. The first nursery rhyme it plays is Diddle Diddle Dumpling. Every time. I'll miss the days that Bryce actually wants me in his room. The days that he asks me to lay with him while we read stories and then talk about trucks, construction sites or whatever else he has on his mind at the moment. His obsession with his spider-man hat...how he hangs it on his shelf every night so it'll be right there when he wakes up in the morning. I'll miss the soft glow of night lights and the way that light hits each of their faces - perfectly outlining their little cheeks and adorable button noses.
Once both boys are in bed and the doors are closed, theres a calming relief in the darkness and the quiet humming noise of fans coming from their rooms. In that moment I finally feel like I've accomplished something and tackled another day. It's so cliche but it's true that the days seem so long but the years are so short. One day, our bedtime routine will look much different so for now I want to cherish every single second of what it is.