Superstitious bedtime routines

Bath time, check.
Water, check.
Special blanket, check.
Rusty the Koala, check.
Special lotion, check.
Footie pajamas, check.
Humidifier, check.
Favorite book, check.

All the pieces are in play for a perfect night’s sleep. Everything is set up exactly like last night. Everything is the same. Everything. Last night they slept through the night – the entire night – without waking. So, tonight, they have to be able to do it again. It has to happen, right?

I was a nanny in college. My roommate and I worked for this wonderful family with four kids. My roommate would work the mornings and I would work the afternoons. I remember one night, my friend shared a confession from the mom. “You know, she told me today, she hasn’t slept an entire night straight in four years.” I remember being appalled. I remember shaking my head in disbelief thinking, That poor woman. How does that happen? Ha! You post-adolecent fool!

Harper’s 4th birthday is coming up, and while I (thankfully) have had a few good stretches of sleep every now and again, between Harper, Elliot, and the dog who eats everything,  there seems to always be a reason to be up around 2 a.m. You know, there needs to be a word for when you actually sleep ALL night without interruption. A full 8 hours. The opposite of an all-nighter. What’s a good word for that?

Now that those nights – those no-named unicorn nights of restful, continuous sleep are seemingly possible, I find myself trying to replicate every last detail when we get one. I’ve become kind of superstitious about it. I’ll make Jim do this ridiculously choreographed routine where one girl gets to go to bed first, and ring this bell and sing this song before the second girl gets to come in and we rub her back a certain number of times, spell out a certain word and then talk about what she’s going to do in her dreams. It’s an elaborate pain in the ass that I’ve created. (The bedtime routine, not the girls, generally speaking.) And the silliest part of all is it doesn’t make a difference. Some nights we win. Some nights we lose (sleep).

Even though it’s a pain, I have to admit, it’s still fun and I think the girls appreciate it. Which is why the charade continues. And when I walk out of the room after a rowdy chorus of Hey Jude, and someone softly calls out, sweet dreams mom, and I hear the girls saying goodnight to each other and no one tries to get out of bed one last time – I know it’s all good. At least for the next five hours or so.


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