As I sit here typing this, Mister Man and I are enjoying a treasured ritual.
In general, both the wee ones apparently have a relatively early bedtime. I didn’t realize it when I started doing it, but whenever children’s bedtimes or sleeping habits come up, I realize how lucky I am (and how much my wee ones benefit from it). Little Miss goes down between 6 and 6:30 and wakes up around 7:30 (plus a 2-3 ½ hour nap).
Mister Man goes down and wakes up around the same time if he doesn’t have a nap. If he does sleep, I allow him to stay up until 8pm. At 4 ½, he still needs a nap – or at least quiet time – to avoid meltdowns. However, he only truly sleeps about every third or fourth day at this point. The last two days, he’s actually gone upstairs and put himself to sleep.
Apparently most children go to bed later, wake up earlier, fuss and protest about bedtime, or some or all of the above. Sometimes not knowing that there’s an alternative means that you end up making things easier on yourself. Had I known that fighting bedtime was a “normal” childhood ritual, maybe I would have somehow unknowingly encouraged it. But for now, I know I’m blessed and I’m not taking it for granted!
On weekend nights, Mister Man gets a special treat if he’s taken a nap. Not only does he get to stay up until 8pm, but we get … MOVIE NIGHT WITH MOMMY!
There are very strict rules about Movie Night With Mommy. Mister Man gets to choose the movie (Dumbo, Fantasia, Robin Hood, or a Thomas episode). We do this after Little Miss goes to sleep. And we make popcorn.
Tonight, we’re again watching Robin Hood. Every time the Sheriff of Nottingham comes onscreen, he points to him and tells me that he’s a bad guy. Robin Hood or Maid Marian? “Mommy, that’s a good guy.” He laughs, he does the “Oh, no!” when something seemingly bad happens, and oh the facial expressions. If it weren’t for the fact that my camera is out of batteries, I would have tried to capture him moods. Words don’t do them justice.
And the popcorn isn’t just any popcorn. I’m a throwback. No funny tasting, overly salty popcorn for me! I go by the Alton Brown method and cook mine in a metal bowl on the stovetop with just a tiny sprinkling of salt. I’ve learned to use potholders that are the glove kind vs the squares when making it – but not before several burns, of course. Really, it’s not much more effort, but it’s a great workout for your triceps and the taste is so much better!
We’ve been quite companionably sitting here, chatting about the movie, and sharing our bowl of popcorn. Alas, the credits are starting to roll.
Mister Man: Mommy, can I watch a Thomas show now?
Mister Man: Pleeeeaaaassssse?
Me: Wait a minute. Do we have Movie Night with Mommy or Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy?
Mister Man: Lots and Lots of Movies with Mommy.
Me: Are you sure?
Mister Man: No, I was just making a joke. It’s just Movie Night with Mommy. Did you know you make the best popcorn in the whole wide world?
Awwwww. He could melt your heart. Good thing I’m not a sucker. He’s a good kid though, and we went quietly and calmly upstairs, changed, brushed our teeth, read a book, and I haven’t since heard a peep. Perfect way to end a fun but busy day!