Mr. E has always had a very reliable bedtime routine, since about six months old, and for this I am grateful. He embraces the routine and expects it, so putting him to bed is almost never a challenge. I’ve encountered one obstacle throughout the years regarding bedtime, and he goes by the name of Dada, aka, the Hubs.
The Hubs plays with his little boy like many dads, all rough and tumble and funny faces and slapstick comedy. It’s adorable. He’s the best dad in the world. But a half hour before bedtime, I’ve told him he needs to begin easing into a more soothing pattern of play. Calming voices. Reduced sensory stimulation. Setting the tone for a cooperative transition. This has earned me the loving nickname “Major Buzzkill” at least once a week since E was born.
Our current routine goes like this: we help E pick out his jammies and get them on as well as his pull-up. He’s getting close to doing this without us, but just not quite yet. Then the hubs reads 5-6 books that E picks out and they brush his teeth during reading time. After that’s done, E gets one last hurrah where he comes racing at top speed out of his bedroom to “find me” and shouts, “It’s time to cuddle, Mama! You come cuddle now!” (He’s going through a bit of a demanding phase.). Then we turn on his moon and stars projector in his room and his “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” music, set for one hour, and I climb into his train bed with him for cuddle time. Cuddle time is a lot like how it sounds, but we also sing songs and say our prayers. Sometimes if something is on his mind E will tell me about it after a few minutes. It’s a very special time that I cherish because I know it won’t last forever.
About three nights ago, I discovered a new dimension has been added to our bedtime routine. After the books have been read, the hubs and E have a dance party. I realized this because I was waiting to be summoned for cuddle time when suddenly I heard the melodic strains of “Shake Your Booty” by KC and the Sunshine Band. It was reverberating through the door where my son was supposed to be reading soothing books with his Dada and preparing for night-night.
So I go in there and sure enough, there’s my husband and my kid dancing all over the room. Realizing I was outnumbered, I settled in to watch the cuteness. E has a few special dances, one he calls his “one foot dance” and another is his “two feet dance.” I would describe his style as a combination of “The Charleston” meets Flashdance.
As the last song was wrapping up, (“Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”) by Michael Jackson, E just kept on dancing even though the music ended. He just kept going! Finally we asked him what he was dancing to, and he looked up at his Dada and said, “It feels like the perfect song, and it makes me think of you.”
It’s true! My kid just busted that line out of nowhere! Honestly, it was out of the clear blue sky. We monitor everything he hears, sees, or reads, and I don’t know where this one came from. My little boy is definitely a wordsmith! I’m a little fearful of the pick-up lines he might devise when he’s older and the object of his affection isn’t his dada!
Okay yeah, I’m a little jealous the hubs got that line and I didn’t. But it’s cool. He got the first “I lub you!” too, and it was no biggie. I started hearing it as well, shortly after the first one.
So the dance party seems to have officially become part of the bedtime routine, because I’m definitely not going to eliminate the part where my son does the “one foot dance” and spews poetry off the top of his head. It makes settling down for cuddle time quite a challenge, but I’d call it a fair trade off.
Here is a short video of my littlest sweetheart showing off his skills. This is when we were playing in the backyard last night. I think he has more creative moves when he’s in his room since it is a smaller area, but I takes what I can gets when he decides he’s willing to cooperate with the camera! (Please don’t judge me on my dry, ugly grass. The sprinklers couldn’t keep up with the heatwave. Mostly because I didn’t want to also go in the blazing heat to turn them on. Meh.)