Tonight was the first of hopefully many, many bedtime chat sessions for E and I. Maybe in a week or two I'll offer J a chance at it…but maybe not. Judging by how tonight went, I'm hoping we can do this well into the University years. Which might be awkward for her roommate. And even more awkward for her boyfriend. Perfect.
Usually E gets an "extra thing" before bed. It started when she got into the habit of calling us 532 times after we put her to bed for all kinds of ridiculous reasons. If she managed not to call at all one night, then the next time she would get an "extra thing" after stories and before bed, like an extra story, an extra song, an extra cuddle, etc. She's long since done away with the calling, but the extra thing kind of stuck. So I decided to tweak it and make it a little more special by instituting "talk time". During talk time I get into bed with E and we turn out the lights and we talk. She can tell me or ask me anything she wants, and we just chat.
Here's what we chatted about tonight:
How are leaves made?
Let's practice some yoga breathing!
How are all of the things that are pretend actually real in Disneyworld?
How does magic work?
My hope is that one day she'll have something to share that might be so important to her that if she couldn't figure out a way to say it in the hustle and bustle of the day, in the glare of daylight, when she only had half of my attention, that she knows she'll have a chance during talk time. I want this to be a place for us to really connect every single day, a ritual that she can count on when she needs to get something off of her chest, or to hear a few words of encouragement. I want her to go to sleep every night feeling fully loved and supported, and I feel like this is one way I can make that happen.
So many nights I feel like we rush through bedtime preparations, and I'm afraid that I leave her with the feeling that we just want to get back downstairs as fast as possible…because usually we just want to get downstairs as fast as possible. But by taking the time to chat with her tonight, I felt so much more relaxed and happy as I said goodnight. This is rapidly becoming my favourite part of the day. I can't wait to find out what questions she has for me tomorrow night…