I don’t want to forget this stuff. I know if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget. And I’m terrible about writing things down. His empty baby book is proof.
My baby is 8 months old and growing up so fast. Our bedtime routine has changed quite a bit over the last 8 months, but we’ve gotten into a pretty good routine that we stick to as much as possible. So here’s a typical night for us.
When it’s time for bed, which is when I clue in that he’s getting tired, anywhere from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. but usually between 6 and 7, we do basically the same thing.
We put him in his high chair to feed solids around 5:30 or so. Then, depending on how messy he gets or how tired he seems, he might get a bath. But not always. Sometimes we just go get changed into his night clothes. Then we sit in the glider (which I L-O-V-E, Love) and nurse. I have an iPod nano (my old one) hooked up to a sound machine sitting right next to the glider on a table, and I turn it on while we’re nursing. It’s always the same music. Since he was in the womb. It’s a collection of Anthony Burger and Dino playing hymns on the piano. I’ve loved this playlist for a long time and still do. It’s soothing. Calming. And consistent. What’s nice about it, is when we are out late, like way past his bedtime and he gets fussy in the car, we can put this on and he instantly calms down. But I digress. He nurses and if he doesn’t fall asleep while nursing, we read some books.
The first book we read is called I Love You, Good Night. It’s so cute. It follows a mom and a little girl getting ready for bed and they are comparing how they love each other to various things. “I love you like I love blueberry pancakes!” “I love you like I love strawberry milkshakes!” What I love about reading this book to him is that after every new item, E just giggles. So you say “pancakes” and he gives a little “huh-huh.” Then after “milkshakes,” another “huh-huh.” All the way to the end of the book. It’s just darling. There are certain pictures that make him grab at the pages. Like the page that reads “boots love splashing in puddles!” He’s so funny. I love spending this time with him.
We may read Good Night, Moon next or Guess How Much I Love You. Those are new ones I added to the mix just recently.
But we ALWAYS read Sleepy Time Blessings last. It’s a cute, short, little story that tells of little bunny angels watching over the little bunny baby. It’s the first book I memorized. It’s the first bed time book I bought for him when he was maybe 6 weeks old. It has a special place in my heart. The last line is “Angels praying, gently saying, baby, God loves you.” It has the word “baby” in there a couple of times but I always change it to “Eli”. So before he goes to bed, I always say, “Eli, God loves you.” Then I close the book and tell him how much we all love him. And how much God loves him. And then I pray over him.
And then we turn off the light and rock. The room is quiet and has a blue glow from the night light. As we rock, I sing to him. Jesus Loves Me. And Jesus Loves the Little Children. And anything else that pops into my head. Like at Christmas I added Away in a Manger. Sometimes I’ll just hum. Sometimes I’ll sing a hymn or two or just make up a song. And sometimes I’ll sit quietly and just rock. And listen to the music playing. Slowly. Rhythmically. With my baby boy snuggled against my chest. Sometimes fidgety. Sometimes grunting. But usually getting quiet and settling down.
Before he falls asleep, we get up and I tuck him into his crib. If he doesn’t already have it, he’ll get his paci. Sometimes he will go straight to sleep. But most times, he starts fussing. He doesn’t want to be left all alone. So I turn on his mobile. The light shines pictures of baby animals on the ceiling and we go through the animals as they scroll past (something daddy started)… “look, there’s the lion – he goes ROAR!” “There’s the polar bear and the penguin.” “There’s the monkey, monkey goes ooh-ooh-ooh.” “There’s the alligator, alligator goes chomp-chomp-chomp,” and so on until I have backed out of the room, pulled the door near to a close, and he’s content to fall asleep on his own.
Some nights he’s good to sleep all night. But lately, he’s been waking up after about an hour or two, sometimes three and wants to nurse again. After that, he usually goes back down fairly easily and is down for the night waking up at around seven in the morning, give or take 30 minutes. Occasionally he’ll wake up again once during the night, but that’s rare these days. When that doesn’t work and he decides he wants to stay awake, we rock a bit more. If that still doesn’t work, we’ll go to the living room and play for a bit until he gets tired again.
I’m so blessed. He’s a happy, pretty easy-going baby. He’s precious and I’m so honored and privileged to be his mother. And thankfully, I can get some sleep at night. I know I won’t always be the apple of his eye, so I’m thankful for these times with him.
Now the thing about publishing this post, is that Murphy’s Law will likely kick-in. All you mommy’s out there who are still getting up 2 and 3 times a night with your 7 or 8 month-old’s are cursing me right now, I’m sure. You’re probably wishing very bad things on me since I get to sleep. Well, Murphy will probably come to bite me on the behind and E will start changing his whole schedule. It’s just that this is what’s worked for us in the past few months. Which is why I wanted to write it down. Because as soon as he changes his routine on me, I’ll forget this time we share together. And I don’t want to forget.