Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Love Quality Time...

As I sit here typing this, Mister Man and I are enjoying a treasured ritual.

In general, both the wee ones apparently have a relatively early bedtime. I didn’t realize it when I started doing it, but whenever children’s bedtimes or sleeping habits come up, I realize how lucky I am (and how much my wee ones benefit from it). Little Miss goes down between 6 and 6:30 and wakes up around 7:30 (plus a 2-3 ½ hour nap).

Mister Man goes down and wakes up around the same time if he doesn’t have a nap. If he does sleep, I allow him to stay up until 8pm. At 4 ½, he still needs a nap – or at least quiet time – to avoid meltdowns. However, he only truly sleeps about every third or fourth day at this point. The last two days, he’s actually gone upstairs and put himself to sleep.

Apparently most children go to bed later, wake up earlier, fuss and protest about bedtime, or some or all of the above. Sometimes not knowing that there's an alternative means that you end up making things easier on yourself. Had I known that fighting bedtime was a "normal" childhood ritual, maybe I would have somehow unknowingly encouraged it. But for now, I know I'm blessed and I'm not taking it for granted!

On weekend nights, Mister Man gets a special treat if he’s taken a nap. Not only does he get to stay up until 8pm, but we get … MOVIE NIGHT WITH MOMMY!

There are very strict rules about Movie Night With Mommy. Mister Man gets to choose the movie (Dumbo, Fantasia, Robin Hood, or a Thomas episode). We do this after Little Miss goes to sleep. And we make popcorn.

Tonight, we’re again watching Robin Hood. Every time the Sheriff of Nottingham comes onscreen, he points to him and tells me that he’s a bad guy. Robin Hood or Maid Marian? “Mommy, that’s a good guy.” He laughs, he does the “Oh, no!” when something seemingly bad happens, and oh the facial expressions. If it weren’t for the fact that my camera is out of batteries, I would have tried to capture him moods. Words don’t do them justice.

And the popcorn isn’t just any popcorn. I’m a throwback. No funny tasting, overly salty popcorn for me! I go by the Alton Brown method and cook mine in a metal bowl on the stovetop with just a tiny sprinkling of salt. I’ve learned to use potholders that are the glove kind vs the squares when making it – but not before several burns, of course. Really, it’s not much more effort, but it’s a great workout for your triceps and the taste is so much better!

We’ve been quite companionably sitting here, chatting about the movie, and sharing our bowl of popcorn. Alas, the credits are starting to roll.

Mister Man: Mommy, can I watch a Thomas show now?
Me: No.
Mister Man: Pleeeeaaaassssse?
Me: Wait a minute. Do we have Movie Night with Mommy or Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy?
Mister Man: Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy.
Me: Are you sure?
Mister Man: No, I was just making a joke. It’s just Movie Night with Mommy. Did you know you make the best popcorn in the whole wide world?

Awwwww. He could melt your heart. Good thing I’m not a sucker. He’s a good kid though, and we went quietly and calmly upstairs, changed, brushed our teeth, read a book, and I haven’t since heard a peep. Perfect way to end a fun but busy day!


Irene April 21, 2008 at 6:16 PM  

Maybe that is what I should try. My kids go to bed about 8:30 (6 and 2 yo) and are up by 7. If my oldest goes to bed later because we are out and about, she still wakes at 7. My 2 yo is still usually napping 2 - 3 hrs though. But lately seems like she wants to give it up! I am NOT ready for that!

Love the popcorn idea. My 6 yo would love that!

Michelle April 21, 2008 at 10:27 PM  

It's worth a try. We did the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book by Dr Weissbluth which saved me. Little Miss had been waking up at 4:30am (at 18 months), which just was not working for me. Or her, for that matter. I'm not ready for them to give up naps either, but I can also tell they aren't ready. I'm definitely letting it go as long as I can!

The popcorn is way cool. So much healthier than the alternative, too. Just make sure to keep shaking it so it doesn't burn (and use enough oil!). Now I've got a taste for it!

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