Thursday, June 11, 2009

Special Bedtime Moments

I have so many wonderful memories surrounding bedtime stories in our home. However, there is one in particular that stands out. I used to read each of my boys a bed time story in their own rooms every night, separately. It allowed me to have a few precious minutes alone with each child. But one this particular night, I decided to mix things up a little bit. I called both of the boys to the living room to make my announcement.

“Mommy’s not going to read any stories tonight.” I said.

“MOM! WHY NOT!?” They shrieked in horror.

”Because tonight Mommy wants to tell you stories instead-- stories about when you were babies.”

They both squealed in excitement.

I sat on the floor and began to tell them stories. “One time? When I was giving you a bath? You pooped in the tub!" They both erupted into laughter. So I told another one and another. Anytime I'd say "this is the last one." They'd agree, but as soon as I'd finish the story, they'd say “Tell us more, please?” And I would because as I was having the time of my life with my boys.

By the time I kissed them good night, my stomach ached from laughing hard. I promised that we'd do it again.

That became one of their favorite bedtime rituals-- listening to stories of when they little. And to this day, if I ever want a little time with my Teenage and Almost Teenage son before bed time, I just sit down on their floor and say "do you know that when you were a baby you would..." And they'll listen to whatever I have to say, and we'll laugh and laugh together.

I like to think they'll never be too old or grown for Story Time with their mama.

I'm writing this story today to kick off GoodNites ‘Special Bedtime Moments’ contest. You will have the chance to win one of two grand prizes of $2,500 for an all-star bedroom makeover! All you need to do to enter is go to www.SpecialBedtimeMoments.com . Share a short bedtime routine, story or moment with your kids for the chance to win. Before you post your entry, please copy the post so you can come back and paste in the comments of this post for your chance to win a “bedtime kit” ($250 value!) Kits include the following:

o $100 gift certificate to PajamaGram.com
o $50 gift certificate to Borders
o Blanket
o Bedtime journal for recording special bedtime moments
o Overnight tote bag to hold all items mentioned above



Three winners will be chosen.

Disclaimer: I have partnered with GoodNites® for this series of posts; I am being compensated for writing about my family's bedtime routine and for promoting this contest, not for endorsing a product.

27 comments:

  1. Since I'm too lazy to check myself, do you know if the winners over there are picked randomly, or based on merit? Will your winners be random? I'm much too lazy to come up with an entry good enough to win based on merit, ha ha.

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  2. Funny that you posted this, since a few days ago, I posted a video of my son's bedtime routine on my own blog. The video really speaks for itself. I am linking to it here: http://annanorton.blogspot.com/2009/06/patrick-gets-ready-for-bed.html

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  3. ACK. My cut and paste didn't work.... but I did post my story- REALLY.

    It was about how when I was pregnant, my three year old son named his sister "star." He sang twinkle twinkle little star to my tummy every night. It was the first song we ever sang to her in the hospital. Elliott still sings it to her every night (she just turned one!) It is our truly special family bonding routine that we do every night. I just know that when she hears it and starts smiling, she is evoking those mystery sounds that she heard in the womb. Its truly special!

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  4. Here's my entry!

    After we read some stories I ask my daughters, "What was the best thing about today? What was the worst thing?" I've learned so much about them from asking those questions! I'm not sure I ever would have known that my four-year old had gotten married at preschool or that it makes her day when I cut her peanut butter sandwich into a heart shape otherwise.

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  5. The Launch Sequence
    That's my husband's name for bedtime for the 4 and 6 year old in our life. All the things they have to do for bed (potty, teeth, bath, PJs), followed by the fun part - stories and songs. We alternate as best we can with the kids, and each have our specialty. My husband plays guitar songs, I make up silly story songs. My 4-yr old's parting words each night "Good night. I wuv you. I'll see you in the morning." So sweet!

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  6. My cut & paste would not work either

    no time to rewrite it

    bummer

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  7. My entry:

    The Magic of Story Time

    After my children are in their pjs and all ready for bed, they each pick out a bedtime book. They snuggle on my lap in our old, comfy recliner while I read the stories. Then I tuck them in and turn out the lights ... and the fun begins. In the glow of the ever-changing rainbow nightlight, I begin a special story just for them. The main characters always bear a remarkable resemblance to my kids, right down to having the same names! As I narrate the story, I pause at random points, during which the kids jump in with their own suggestions. Using their words to shape the tale, together we travel on magical story journeys every night. Our favorite thing to do is keep a story going for nights on end, coming up with new adventures every night and weaving them into an ongoing storyline.

    The story always comes to a close with the girl and the boy tucked in their warm, soft beds, safe and sound with a hug and kiss good-night. And as they close their eyes, they hear me whisper, "Sleep well, my loves, with sweet dreams of the stories we'll tell tomorrow."

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  8. Three years ago we adopted a beautiful toddler from Russia. She did not speak English, and we spoke very little Russian. One way that I soothed her was by singing to her. Singing is just universal, even if you don’t understand the words, the melody can be calming. I enjoyed singing Cinderella's “a dream is a wish your heart makes” because she is living proof dreams do come true. My long awaited child. My dreams come true. Then a month or so later she is still not talking but picking up some sign language. One night as I was rocking her she starts humming our song... she knew it. My little girl was not able to speak English; she had been through so many changes and traveled half way across the world just months prior. Here she was humming a song to me. It is still our favorite bedtime lullaby. It is a memory I will cherish forever

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  9. Here is my entry:
    My boys love laying with me for a few minutes before they go to sleep. My youngest asks me every night "How many minutes can you lay with me?" My answer depends on how late it is, how tired I am, but it's usually 5-10 minutes. I cherish those minutes, when we say bedtime prayers and talk about the fun things we will do tomorrow. I know he is getting tired when he rolls over and asks me to scratch his back. I softly run my nails down his back and feel myself relax as well. I know there will come a day when he is "too big" for this bedtime ritual, but until then I will enjoy our snuggles and scratches.

    Suzanne - suzmarkwood@yahoo.com

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  10. Entered!

    Every night after we brush teeth, I read 2 books to my 6yo son (anything but Skippy John Jones, PLEASE) and then he asks me to lay down with him. I lay my head on the pillow -- he prefers to sleep flat on the mattress. He covers his head completely with the comforter. Then we race to see who can fall asleep first. Sadly, I usually win.

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  11. My entry:

    My 2 year old son Quinn currently has the earliest bed time in the house. After getting a freash diaper, pj's on, and a sippy cup of ice water (yes, there must be ice in it), he goes to my 12 year old son Tommy and gives him kisses goodnight, comes and gives me a kiss and hug goodnight, then leans down and ever so gently places the sweetes kiss on his 7 week old sister Abigail, then he gently pets her and tries to help bounce her in her bouncy seat. It is so heart-warming to see him be so gentle with her and so loving for a little guy who only turned two 15 days after she was born!

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  12. My entry: Bedtime from Afar
    I travel a lot for work, but it doesn't stop me from being part of Ethan's nigh-night routine. Regardless of what's going on, I call home at 8 p.m. to talk to Ethan. I recite, from memory one of his favorite books. I ask about his day. We talk about what he ate for lunch, for dinner. He asks me to smell his stinky feet. We tell one another how much we love the other. Then we give each other Eskimo kisses. I'm sure I look and sound really weird when I'm on these calls, but it doesn't matter. Whether I'm home or away, I will be part of Ethan's bedtime routine.

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  13. I forgot to copy and paste, but the jist is: When my 15 year old daughter was little, her routine was that each night she'd brush her teeth, climb into bed, and I'd read her a story. At the end of the story, I'd tuck her in by going up and down on each side, tucking the blankets completely under her. As I did it, I'd always say "Tuck Tuck Tuck" as I went all along each side. Now that she's 15, she still occasionally asks to be tucked in! And the best part is, we're passing the tradition on to her baby sister!

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  14. Another copy and paste not working!

    Every night, my two year old son and I read stories together. First, I read them to him, then he goes through to pictures and "reads" them to me.

    I love the story above me. Every night we "tuck, tuck" him into with his blanket. I love that he might still remember it when he is 15.

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  15. With six kids, I have done many different bedtime routines, some of which were very elaborate and caused stress and aggravation. Now we follow the same set of steps for each kid, and it works for all of them, no matter what age they might be. Medicine - which means different things for different kids but always includes vitamins - pajamas, teeth, books and bed. Even in my absence, my kids know the steps and they can help each other follow the routine.

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  16. Every night my kids and I have the chance to forget about the worries and troubles of the day by reading. What we read really doesn't matter...usually it's a chapter of the latest book to catch our interest. What matters is, that for a while, we're all transported away from our daily lives and into the book we're sharing. It's the best antidote available for rushed days and harried parents. Books are magic!

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  17. Every day comes to an end with hugs and kisses and tickles and "just one more mom!" before I leave their rooms. My kids are now 13 and 14, but they love being put to bed every night still. One of My fondest memories of our bedtime routine happened one night that I was volunteering at my kids school during a ballgame. I had worked at the concession stand during my daughter's basketball game. My son (who was about 8 at the time) and dh had stayed home. I arrived home at about 8:30 and my son was lying in bed still awake waiting for me to get home. I went in and smothered him with kisses and hugs. He said to me "oh mommy, you smell so good" I said "why thanks sweetie" thinking to myself what a nice thing for him to say to me! Then he closes with "you smell just like a hot dog". I laughed so hard and he was so serious about it! We still laugh about it today.

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  18. Forgot to copy and paste, darn it. But here's the gist...

    From the time our son was tiny, my husband and I alternated reading Czech and English versions of Good Night, Moon every night (my husband translated as he went along). My son's 4 now, but still says "dobra noc, Tata, miluji te" (good night, Daddy, I love you) every night

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  19. When my daughter was about two years old she started picking stuffed animals that she like instead of the ones we chose for her. One day she found Snoopy and since that day she has never let him go. She calls him puppy and we cannot go to sleep at night unless he is found and is laying next to her each night. Puppy listens to bedtime stories and keeps her entertained until she falls fast asleep. For me this bedtime routine is rather funny. I am now a stay at home mom but each and every night I think of my most challenging student and thank him for giving my daughter her puppy. I was in my 4th year of teaching first grade when I became pregnant with my daughter. All the little first graders were so cute and excited for me. Each day I would receive little gifts for the baby. One of my more challenging students who I didn’t even think cared that I was pregnant showed up one morning with a huge smile on his face and a gift bag. I was stunned. I opened the gift to find a Snoopy book and a Snoopy stuffed animal. The student was so proud and was the happiest I had ever seen him all day.

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  20. Our bedtime routine is pretty simple, especially since I only have to come in at the end!

    Jammies, teeth, then Daddy reads the girls two books (usually a chapter from a book the 6yo has picked out and a shorter story book for the 4yo). Then into bed where Daddy sings a song or two. Then I come in and sing "Good Night, Anya. Good Night, Anya. Good Night, Anya... I'll see you in the Morn!" and then the same song for Lily. After that, I switch on a CD of bedtime music and, if we are very lucky, that's the end of that.

    OFTEN, we get about five calls to return (water, owie to report, etc) and then they pass out.

    Then the Mister and I eat crappy food, watch TV and curse. It's awesome.

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  21. At bedtime, after we read a few stories-I put my daughter Josie in her crib and she insists on turning off the lights. But then she wants more stories-we had read 2 stories so many times that I had them memorized-one about bunnies and Elmo Loves You-I recite them to her and ask for a kiss for Mama at the end (instead of Elmo). She has it memorized too now-and she fills in the last word or two of every line. Then I wind up a music box of mine that she found-reminds her of the one in Ariel's Beginning-and she goes to sleep nicely (almost) every time. I don't think I'll ever forget the words to those 2 books . . . .

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  22. My entry:

    Every night my 3 year old takes a shower to start his routine. I tuck him into bed, tell him I love him, tell him he was such a big helper with his brother, and tell him I love him. I kiss his forehead. Then his monkey will want a kiss followed by two kisses on each cheek and a hug or two. Then I say "I love you", he says, "Love you too", I say, "I love you more", he says "No I love you more!" and back and forth we go until we laugh ourselves silly. Two more kisses for monkey, two more kisses for my son, and it's off to sleep he goes.

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  23. When my kids were very young (pre-preschool aged) I let them stay up "late" everynight, til 10 or 10:30 pm. This scandalized my mother-in-law, however, with a father that worked long hours, that time with him in the evening was invaluable. It allowed them time to play with their father and for him to participate in their bedtime rituals of reading, teeth brushing and silly songs. Being flexible was way more important than having the standard, early bedtime.

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  24. I remember my sister and I saying the same prayer every night on our knees at our bedsides:

    Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray to the Lord my soul to keep...

    and then we'd ask God to individually bless each of the special people in our lives.

    Wow, I had forgotten that until now.

    ~Suzy Q

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  25. We have always been a co-sleeping family, but a few months ago, it was time for my four year old daughter to start falling asleep on her own, without me lying with her. The one thing that has made this work well for us is keeping a routine. We talk about what we did that day, read a story, and wrap things up with (what started as) one hundred kisses. It has grown to 111 kisses, all over my daughter’s back. She counts as I kiss, then gets one final kiss on the lips and goes to sleep on her own. I look forward to those 111 kisses as much as she does, I think. It’s such a special moment to share every day.

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  26. My younger daughter is almost three; my baby is growing before my eyes. She loves to be cheek to cheek with me. Each night as we say our prayers, she will bring my face down to hers until our cheeks are touching. After prayer is over, she turns her cheek to kiss me. It is the sweetest, most delicate good-night gift. I will forever remember her soft cheek and little hands pulling me closer.

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  27. The triplets pile on my bed every night for reading time. They are only supposed to grab one book but inevitably bring two or three- story time lasts a while in our house. They always grab "The Cat in the Hat" because it is longer and takes a while. They crack up as I use funny voices and squeal with glee as I tickle them and tuck them in to sleep. Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.

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