Friday, August 28, 2015

The best bedtime stories

For my kids, the best bedtime stories consist of retelling their day to them, selecting the best parts of what they did and experienced. In the telling of it, I affirm their choices, give them assurance that what they do had been observed, and help them settle and set aside the events of the day.

Tonight as I was getting my 3 year old daughter to sleep, I said "today, you took good care of your animals and dolls. You gave each of them at least one toy to play with. The bunny had a teddy, the teddy had some cars, the cat had some trains, and the dog had some trains, too." She perked up and said, "yes, I love them all and take care of them!" 

I tell her how thoughtful she is to think of everyone, and she wriggles with happiness, and then drifts off to sleep. 

For my 5 year old son, it is the same strategy, but I also think through his day about assertions he had made, and things he has said that I can agree with, and I repeat them to him. It's a longer process, but he, being older, has more to work out before he can settle to sleep. I will tell him that when he was playing outside he did do some amazing circus-type tricks as "Tyler the Magnificent," and I recount what they were (swinging on the 'trapeeze,' running up the slide, etc). For him it also helps to say a prayer and incorporate whatever may be troubling him. We give his worries away. 

For both kids, it used to be enough to just repeat "I love you," but this is a new way, a way that says, "I see who you are and what you do, and I love you." 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lazy days of summer

In fact, we are making hay while the sun shines. I'm investing six weeks of summer in my kids, and building them up as much as I can before we get carried off into the school year, and all it entails. I'm plying them with books and reading time, having conversations with them, initiating activities, taking them places, and arranging play dates and family time. In other words, I'm aiming to be more interesting than the iPads they tend to turn to when there is seemingly a free moment.

We are slowing down a little this week, because we are all a little under the weather. There is something so dear about a little sister falling fast asleep in her older brother's too small for him, too big for her hoodie, the first thing I grabbed for warmth as they were heading to the basement to watch Master Chef with my mom and play with Lego.

We are:

-Enjoying the waning days of summer, as the nights are already cooling quickly.

-Warding off the occasional nightmare, which I wonder whether reflects the anticipation of an upcoming school year, in which the five-year old is again thrust into the stimulating but sometimes disorienting / unexpected happenings of kindergarten.

-Hugging tightly, snuggling up in the morning while half-asleep, joking about "good-night forever, I mean, good-night until tomorrow!"