Bedtime Help ~ From The Help

Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England (from the book The Cider House Rules by John Irving). http://www.etsy.com/listing/38208078/good-night-you-princes-of-maine-wooden 

The Help has inspired me to try a new way to say good night to the kids.  Not the rushed - get-in-bed so I can run down and have some quiet time kind of good night.  Not the FOR THE LAST TIME, YOU DON'T NEED A DRINK OF WATER, NOW GET BACK IN BED kind of tuck in.  Not the -THIS IS THE LAST TIME I'M GOING TO SAY GOOD NIGHT  kind of tuck in. Nope.  This one is different.  This one is brilliant.  This one is how we all should go to sleep at night.  Doing this has brought so much joy to me at the end of a day..it has brought so much happiness to them before they go to sleep after a long day in their tiny world.  It brings my husband a smile, it brings us together.  It brings me comfort and peace.

I look at each one of them individually and tell them why I am proud of them, why they are special, or give them a compliment.  The looks they give me back nearly reduce me to tears of joy, and fills my heart with a sense of accomplishment that is simply indescribable.  They've also taken to giving me compliments in return.  No matter what kind of shenanigans they pulled during the day, no matter if they listened on the first try or I had to tell them three times to do something, no matter if they had to sit in time out or had the perfect day, this is the great Equalizer.  The cherry on the sundae.  The perfect tie of the bow.  It's a gentle reminder that no matter how good or bad we did the parenting thing today, we did it - and we'll do it again all over tomorrow.  I want the last thing these little men to hear is that they are loved for the special creatures that they are.

Tonight, as part of my blog, I recorded on my video cam what they in turn told me.

3 year old:  "Mama, you are brave, funny, you make all the stuff good.  You are huggy and kissy and are the best player when you play with us.  Also mama, you are a good lamp post and I love you."
(I have no idea what being a good lamp post entails...)

4 year old:  "It's my turn now, be quiet! (to 3 year old)  Mama, you are smart, you stay up later than we do and I don't know why because that's not really fair, you are beautiful and sometimes you give me a time out when I don't listen, but sometimes I don't listen and you DON'T give me a time out.  You're nice and you are a good teacher (I sub at his preschool often),  and I love when you buy us nice toys.  Oh, and mama, I would like you to buy me some more Star Wars Legos, and one more thing you put out the best clothes for us, and I love you).   Verbatim.

12 year old:   "Mom, you're weird - why are you video taping me right now? Ok, ok, I'll do it.  You're weird but you are funny and you are cool and I love you.  Can I go back to my Kindle now?"

This clip in the Help breaks me up every single time I watch it.  But I won't cry for any other reason, but for the gratitude I have for my mother who believed in me and made me feel like the smartest girl in the world, and for my children, who absolutely do the same thing for me.  The least I can do for them, is give them the same gift in return.

Sweet dreams, dear friends.  Try this with your children.  Try it with your spouse.  Better yet, look in the mirror and try it with yourself. 



  1. oh goodness. i got choked up. thank you for the marvelous idea!! we try to not have a rushed bedtime with our dude (2 yrs old) but even though it happens sometimes, either my fiance or i (we switch nights) will sit and read 2 or 3 books with him....but now with our struggles with potty training, and the frustrations involved, im going to try this too :) and oh yeah, as i was putting dude to bed just a few minutes ago, he told me i have nice hair...i think thats why i might have gotten so choked up reading this blog, seriously thank you! :) csf noyoureajerk.blogspot.com

  2. Sigh...you have me in tears, sweetie! Yep, I'm doing this tonight. And every night. This is perfect...thank you!! xoxo

  3. 3 and 4's thoughts made me reminisce, and 12's really made me smile(as mine are 11 and 14 now)....so wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  4. A few years ago, I had the same sort of ‘wake up call’ about  my kids’ bedtime. I decided to stop rushing through the process and start making the most of this special quiet one-on-one time with each of my kiddos (without having the other one around to chip and chirp and wreck things). After they were all tucked in and snuggly, I'd ask 2 questions, the first being...“What was the best part of your day?”...the second “What was the least best part of your day?”. Those simple questions gave me such a neat little glimpse into their worlds and it gave them a chance to share both the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. We've had some pretty interesting conversations as a result. My daughter is now 15 and only occasionally do we go through the routine ...more often than not, I’m going to bed before she is ;) My son is 13 and I consider it a precious gift that, every night, I can still count on hearing his voice calling from upstairs “I'm in bed now, Mum. Come tuck me in!”...and I ask him our questions...and now he asks me, too. What a beautiful way to end our day.

  5. This is wonderful!! Going to start doing this! I always love the things they think of to say in these moments. You know they are heartfelt and sincere and that is why they are so special! You did it again my dear, you made me cry and smile all in one post!

  6. We never rushed things when bringing our kids ( girl 5 yo, boy 2.5 yo) to bed. It's Story Time, Tickle-Me-Silly Time and all in all a cozy, snuggly time. We are blessed with kids that loooooove to read or be read to. We stuck to this routine since they were a few months old and never change it. No matter where we are, this routine is the same. It's a landmark in their day, one they look forward to. And indeed as you wrote, no matter how crappy the day has been, this part of the day can make up for all the crap. The least/best questions you suggested, I'm going to try too. I'll start with thr "least" question, and end with the "best" so it ends positive.

    Also, our kids fall asleep with their favorite music playing on a cd.

  7. We lay in the little one's bed and talk about what we each did that day and on the days we spend all day together we talk about what is supposed to happen tomorrow. I try very hard to find something good to praise her on.

  8. oh this kills me. You have it all girl. I won't say I'm jealous, but know that I want what you have. I know it's the result of perserverance and fate and hope and love. I LOVE YOU! I hate the word deserve, but damn girl. I love when good things happen for good people. xoxo

  9. I do this in the morning before school! I think it's great to build the kids up! :)

  10. i love this...beautiful..can't waiot to start this with my wee ones

  11. My little one is 15 months old. She might not understand everything quite yet but I am going to start doing this with her - tonight! I NEED to start doing this. I have been such an angry, bitter, person lately - stomping around and quick with my temper (for too many reasons to list). I hope this helps give me some perspective and positivity right now in my life because I need a GIANT dose of both :(

    1. Jennifer - we've all been there. It's hard out there. Feel free to email me if you need to sound off. xo DG

  12. This is precious! Thank you for this wonderful idea. We try to name things we are grateful for in our prayers every night and that always gets sweet and comical responses too! Thanks again!


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