February 19, 2013

at bedtime

Last night I realized, with something of a shock, that bedtime has changed for our family away from bedtime routines to just going to bed. There is less what we do every night and more what we need to do tonight, less routine and more here there and everywhere people getting ready on their own. Less read out loud stories and more "close the door mom I'm listening to music."

When I was a young mother, with young children, bedtime was sacred. I tried very hard to not let anything throw us off. It was early and regulated and set in stone. Of course, as needs changed the routine did, but still, it was  a routine. Now that the kids are older (and more interested in listening to music or books on tape or reading to themselves than a book read out loud) bedtime is more of a scramble to get everyone where they need to be with enough time left over for Will and I to have some down time. Or at least fold laundry.  I was reminding him just this weekend that we used to get gobs of things done around the house after the kids went to bed and now we are lucky if we don't fall asleep before Briton does. Part of it is age (as in, we are getting older) and part is that, where they used to be in bed at 7:00 and Evie at least would be asleep by 7:15, now bedtime stretches to 8:30 or 9:00, maybe later if there is homework or baths or a school event or whatever. Evie still sometimes wants a story, but she can read now, and she wants to read on her own (to the dog or the cats preferably). Or, if she is very tired, she wants the lights off and music on and good night all she's off to sleep. She did ask me this week if I would start reading the Harry Potter books to her (which made me jump for joy a little) but most of those "let's read more" requests come at different points in the day - bathtime reading is a big hit, for example.

Maybe we just need a new kind of bedtime routine. Or maybe we have one and it just looks so different from what used to be that I don't recognize it as routine. Chores and brushing teeth and chasing cats up or down the ladder, depending on where your bedroom is and which cat you want to sleep with. But maybe it would be good to slip a little mama reads time back into the schedule.

Do you still read to your (older) kids at bedtime? Or have a regular bedtime routine?