If you have Facebook and you’ve spent any time on it over the last few months I’m sure you’ve seen the post with the dad and daughter at the playground. I have no idea if it is a true story or not but here it is, CliffsNote version.
Dad & daughter at the playground, Dad says “let’s go” daughter says, “5 minutes!?”
Dad says “okay.” Process repeats several times. Turns out, sibling passed away and used to ask for “5 more minutes” all the time and Dad would rush them onward. So Dad is giving the time to the daughter in memory/honor of the sibling and this daughter’s childhood importance.
“Are you crying?”
NO! I got granola bar crumbs in my eye…
I know, it gets you directly in the heart. Right? dagger
Anyway, Bubba’s bedtime routine is always the same, and we are developing Little Bear’s routine as well. It’s a process.
First, we tell Bubba to pick up “bink & tags” to take upstairs. This usually comes with the first of several protests. I not go night night.
We then convince him that we are headed up to change diapers and put on PJs. We all know where we are headed, but we’ll just pretend that tonight PJs are just a costume change.
Then, as we are putting on PJs to the sweet melodic tune of increased whining and the 2nd-4th protests: No night night, I not go night night, I no want go night night.
We happen upon the negotiation stage: I watch TV, five minute, Mommy bed. Then he puts out his little hand, five fingers outstretched and stares into your soul. Pwease, 5 minute?
Usually whoever has the task of changing Bubba defers to the other parent on this one. Neither one of us wants to tell his sweet, pleading face ‘no.’ So we take the copout and look at our other half. I dunno Buddy, ask your Daddy. And I smile sweetly at the man who now has to decide to a) crush the dreams of our adorable cherub or b) let him stay up 5 (let’s be honest, it’s like 15) minutes later. We all know how that plays out. Sure Bud, You can have 5 minutes.
The most awesome part is that once he’s told yes, he gets a giant smile on his face and in the most genuine voice says Oh, thank you, Daddy! And then runs into our bedroom. I’m quite sure that the TV in our bedroom hasn’t played anything except Thomas the Tank in weeks. I also think it’s only used for Bubba’s bedtime routine currently.
Then, as a little family, we get our 5 minutes. Usually we all sit on the bed. Bubba on Mommy’s side under the covers, Daddy on his side and Mommy & Little Bear laying somewhere in between. Oh and the dog lays on his bed too, not to be left out. It’s the best five minutes of my day. Bubba may not be paying much attention to us at that time but he’s relaxing, calming down and preparing for bed. Read: usually quiet. Sometimes he wants to wrestle or read books, sometimes he wants to brush his teeth for the 20th time that day and sometimes he just wants to give his baby sister hugs and kisses-hence the almost 15 minutes. Then toward the end of his minutes we get the last, half-protest: I no go bed. I no want night night. Then, Daddy, lay on floor. We do n’t begrudge him that either. He’s only little for so long. If he wants us to lay on the floor for a couple more minutes just to ensure that we’re there, we’ll do it. Nothing is too important that he can’t have five more minutes with us, even if it is just to say goodnight. The dishes can wait in the sink, the toys can stay on the floor and the clothes can stay in the basket for five more minutes. I used to worry that the dishes in the sink had to be cleaned right away and the toys had to be picked up immediately. All of those chores will still be there, but tomorrow Bubba will be another day bigger. He won’t remember how clean the kitchen was or that his toys were well organized into boxes by type, but he will remember that Mommy and Daddy played with him each night, and that we were here when he wanted his 5 more minutes. They say that kids are only little for so long, but that so long is way too short. Take and enjoy 5 minutes today.
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