We are working on getting a more consistent routine going now that Dustin can start putting her to bed before I get home on the nights I work. I think this will be a big help as well. Right now, the routine consists of getting her into her jammies, changing her diaper, reading a story, having a bottle (soon to be a sippy cup) and I sing the Ruby Song while we brush our teeth and it's into the bed. It's about 20 minutes tops. There's been much talk amongst my mommy friends about the "nighttime routine" and how to do it and what to do etc. Evidently, much of the literature recommends an hour long routine. Of course my first reaction was one of shame and fear -- Am I screwing my kid up because I don't spend one hour a night getting her 'prepared' to go to bed? What if she needs that extra 40 minutes and that's why she'll be a blight on society? What's wrong with me that I can't put her to bed right??? Auuugghhhh!
And then, after I stopped my 2 minute mental freakout I calmed down and started think about it rationally. Did Laura and Mary's ma do an hour long routine? Probably not since after plowing, churning, darning and stoking there wasn't enough time for that. That hour the experts are talking about probably includes just doing more calm activities (i.e. no tickle fights right before bed) leading up to bedtime too. A few of my friends have admitted that they also have about a 15-20 minute routine and it seems to work just fine for them. At any rate, I began feeling like we have it down pretty good and I imagine it's all going to change again and again before there's ever anything even resembling predictable so I should just relax. I can't imagine that I am the only one who freaked a little at finding out that my bedtime routine was not up to snuff. But this is parenting -- you take little tidbits of advice here and there, reject others and inject your own ideas to make up a program that works for you. It's a lot like storytime actually.