Menu

The sweet (yet sometimes maddening) dance of bedtime

I try to remember that this how the dance goes for now. And I try to let it wrap me up in its rhythm. ?

The sweet (yet sometimes maddening) dance of bedtime

My husband plays beer-league hockey on Wednesday nights. I don’t begrudge him this time that he takes—he needs it as much as I do since he does half the parenting in our home with three young daughters.


If I’m lucky, his freedom occurs after 8 p.m. If I’m not, I must perform the Dance of Bedtime as a solo.

Tonight, I am unlucky. An early game. Which means he will be gone for several hours during the most difficult time frame in our little home.

Good luck, Daddy!” our 6 year-old calls out to him as he slings his giant bag over his shoulder. He smiles back, thanks her and waves at me as he glides out the front door—an unmistakable spring in his step.

FEATURED VIDEO

We are now alone, my daughters and I.

I am greatly outnumbered by happy little faces, goofy, laughing children who have no desire to go to bed.

My daughters are 6, 4 and 2. Bedtime is the antithesis of all of their little hopes and desires. And, due to my reliance on bad habits to get through the early stages of motherhood, only the third child has grasped the concept of going to sleep on her own. (I know, I know…)

My oldest likes me to lie next to her.

She doesn’t require snuggling or songs—she just simply needs my presence. She’s grown to expect it. Ever since she was a tiny little baby, she’s been my tough nut to crack where sleep is concerned.

When she was little, I would rock and rock and rock her in our soft glider, comforted by the sounds of her noise maker in her pastel-covered room. I enjoyed the quiet of these nights. When it came time to transition her to a bed, I would lie down next to her and watch her fall asleep. I stayed with her that very first night in her ‘big girl’ bed so she wouldn’t get out over and over again.

I haven’t left it yet.

My middle daughter is the snuggly one.

She wants to wrap her arms around me and get as close as she possibly can. She wants to play with my hair between her fingers, listen to my breathing, feel my ‘heartbeep’ close to her body. Only then will she allow herself to drift off.

Our two-year-old is fiercely independent and loves her crib.

It’s a winning combination for me. She is perfectly happy with me leaving her for the night. I put her down, listen to her cheerfully yell and babble to herself through the monitor until she tires and willingly allows sleep to take over.

Once I have her in bed, I start the dance with my other two daughters. After telling them repeatedly to brush their teeth and go to the bathroom (because asking them once doesn’t seem to register with them), we read about witches and broomsticks and dragons who have lost their fiery breath. I answer question after question about the logistics of fire-breath and brooms taking flight. Finally, they yawn and rub their eyes as the story finishes.

This evening is no different than any other evening.

I put one child into bed and leave to tuck the other one in. The first child gets out of bed and heads to the bathroom for water. I tell the second child to stay in her room and go to sleep while I get the first child back to bed after drinking her water. By this time, the second child has gotten out of bed and is peeking her head out the door, looking for me.

It’s a dizzying dance filled with frustration. But I know that they only want one thing.

Me.

And although I realize I’ve been working on bedtime for roughly an hour already, I give in. Because I know that they won’t always be easily calmed by my presence.

There will come a time that my middle daughters’ slightly baby-like chubby arms will no longer be there, wrapped around my body as we lay face-to-face in bed. She will be ‘too old’ for playing with my hair while she tells me about her day and drifts off to sleep.

There will be a time when my oldest won’t reach out for my hand as her eyes flutter closed. My fingers wrapped around hers won’t be her security any longer.

So for now, I try to remember that this how the dance goes. And I try to let it wrap me up in its rhythm.

I remind myself of this as I head back to my oldest daughter’s room. She has called out for me again. I crawl into her bed and look at her face. She’s tired.

So I lay next to her, just as I did when she was a toddler. I watch her face as her eyes close. We lay like this for a while until a sound startles her and her eyes open suddenly. They dart around for a minute, confused by being woken. And then her eyes meet mine.

A giant smile spreads across her face as she lets her eyes close again. I feel tears well up in my eyes. I smile back at her even though she is already drifting back off to sleep. I lay still for a while and l listen to her snore.

The dance has left me exhausted, but happy.


This article was originally published on Yummy Mummy Club.


Join Motherly

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play