Bedtime Stories

I’m not, and never have been a heavily routine-led parent. The structure of our days can vary pretty widely, but the one exception is bedtime. We started implementing a “bedtime routine” when Thomas was just a few months old. That may have seen us bathing him at 10pm, since that was the time he naturally settled and we wanted him to learn to associate a bath with bedtime, but the basic structure hasn’t varied all that much, even if the timings have.

Reading books has been a part of the process since he was about six months old. Back then, he was still breast-fed to sleep, but we always made time to look at a book first. Looking at picture and textured books gradually gave way to reading a story. Then one story became two. Then the bedtime feed shifted to being before bath time, and suddenly it was a free-for-all with book after book being requested. “One more” was probably Thomas’s first two-word sentence! I invariably gave in, because I loved – and still do – the fact that Thomas enjoys books and stories so much. I find the request to read almost impossible to deny.

Up until we took the side off his cot, stories were read in the glider chair in Thomas’s room, with him snuggled on our lap. Ian and I take it in turns (although he has been through phases of requesting Daddy every night, and currently, if asked, it’s always “Mummy’s turn to read tonight”) and we’ve finally settled on the reading of three books. This is always stated firmly, with the three books picked out before we begin. Of course, it’s not quite that simple though, and we play a game where Thomas gets away with requesting “a short one” which is always taken from a small selection of short picture books. Sometimes Thomas insists on “reading” this book himself whilst giving us another that we must read to ourselves. Since he knows a surprising number of books off by heart, the casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that he truly was reading to himself!

Now that we’ve taken the side off the cot, story time takes place sitting on the bed. And yes, he really does sleep with all those trains in his bed. We’d hoped when the side came off the cot that he may start to line them up on the floor next to him, but when we tried, an epic meltdown ensued. He carefully audits his trains before sleep, and woe betide us if any are missing!

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Bedtime story time is such a short, simple part of each day, but it’s a part that never, ever varies no matter what else we’ve been up to. And I’m so happy that Thomas won’t accept going to bed without his stories. It’s one of those ordinary moments that I treasure, and will surely miss when he is old enough to read his books by himself, and no longer needs Mummy or Daddy to share them. I hope, of course, that he might want us to share this moment long beyond when he is capable of doing without us!

 

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8 Replies to “Bedtime Stories”

  1. I love that he sleeps with that many trains! Do they get pushed to the end of the bed as he sleeps or actually cuddled? Regardless it sounds like you have a lovely bedtime routine (and a lovely wee man)!

    1. Thank you! They end up in all kinds of crazy places – on the floor, under the bed, under the pillow, in his hands! We hear them crashing on to the floor at regular intervals (we have a horrible laminate floor in there left by the previous owners, but which has saved us during many throwing up incidents!) and we also hear him calling for particular trains he can’t find!

  2. I love this post and could have probably written it (albeit far less articulately)! We are very similar up here, never really had a strict bedtime but always stuck to the routine of bed bath and book. Since weaning Emily a few weeks ago books have now become an even more important part of bedtime and she regularly asks, just one more mummy, just one more. It’s such a lovely special time. Thomas is very lucky to have such a great mummy!

    1. Thank you! I often wonder if I find bedtime special because I know it’s not long until I (hopefully) get to relax a bit… Which makes me a feel a bit mean! Still love it though!

    1. It seems crazy for me to imagine that in a few years he’llbe reading to us! Books are such lovely things to share though.

  3. Aw what gorgeous photos, definitely ones to treasure when he is older. Bedtime stories are a huge part of our routine in this house and we have so many lovely books, I love snuggling in bed together at the end of the day and reading one. Love the tootsies shot! x

    1. It is a really lovely thing to do. I always feel sad when I hear the tales of children who grow up without books at home. I like that shot too!

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