My kids are big advocates for routine. They thrive when they know what’s coming and what to expect.
One of the reasons Olivia hate animals and babies so much is that they’re unpredictable. She can’t guess what they’re going to do next, whether it’s jump on her, throw up or poop uncontrollable. It stresses her out. She avoids animals and babies like they’re all going to attack her with no notice.
So yes, they like routine and predictability. They like the fact that I get home every day at 5:00. They like knowing that dinner will be on the table no later than 6:15 but sometimes as early as 5:50. They can handle a little spontaneity if it’s just a twenty-five minute dinner window. Olivia likes knowing that she’s going to take a bath every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Alyssa likes knowing that we go to Gram’s house every Monday afternoon.
Our bedtime routine has changed abruptly and Alyssa is disgusted by this change.
Olivia? She loves it, but let’s face it, that’s because she’s the catalyst for the change.
See, before this past Sunday, Olivia would fall asleep on the recliner anytime between 8:00 and 8:20 after I’d read to her, smooched her into near-nothinginess (she loves it), scratched her back, her arms, her neck, her knees and yes, sometimes even her pinky or her thumb-web. She’s an itchy girl.
Then, once O was asleep, I’d leave my station at the foot of her chair and make my way to the couch, where Alyssa would snuggle up against me for an hour or so while we watched crappy television and snarked about it.
Sunday night this all changed because Olivia. Would. Not. Go. To. Sleep. Seriously. She just wouldn’t.
I was tired (big surprise, I’m ALWAYS tired.) and so at 9 I said that we were going to bed. I wasn’t going to carry Olivia to bed because, duh, girlfriend was wide awake, she could walk her little self up those stairs without me having to strain my back. She was actually delighted by this turn of events. Alyssa groused a bit but realized I was serious and trudged up the stairs behind us.
I tucked both girls into the beds, gave the requisite kisses and then settled into my bed. And we all….went to sleep. It was glorious!! I’ve heard of other people tucking their kids into their own beds and then everyone just going to sleep but I thought it was a myth. I’m so happy to have moved into this fairytale land.
When I told my mom about this the next day, Olivia grinned with joy over having walked to her own bed, been tucked in and going to sleep all by herself.
That little shit. She’s been wanting to do this for years (maybe, probably not) and just now started getting her way. My back was willing to do it this way long ago, or, you know, once Olivia hit fifty pounds.
Alyssa hates this routine because she feels like Olivia hogs all my attention until bedtime and then she, Alyssa gets none. This is not quite true. Sure, they have to share me a little more if Olivia doesn’t go to sleep in time to give Alyssa alone time with me but we all sit on the couch together with me in the middle. They both lean against me, they both get kisses and hugs and all kinds of positive physical affection as well as loving words and plenty of snark directed toward whatever bad television show we’re watching. But alas, Alyssa longs for those days gone by (you know, the ones we had last week) when Olivia was fast asleep across the room and she only had to share my attention with the TV.
I keep telling her to be open to these awesome chances to embrace change. She’s not buying it. Maybe I’ll have to come up with some another change in one of our other routines in hopes of distracting Alyssa from this bedtime change.