bedtime stories · routines · slice of life

Getting Bedtime Wrong

Ever since Isabelle became interested in reading MG novels before bedtime, I’ve been the parent who reads them to her at bedtime. We’ve read everything from Operation Frog Effect to Maggie Muggie to the Pacy Lin books to The Dollshop Downstairs. We finished The Higher Power of Lucky over the weekend. Now we’re reading The Hundred Dresses. Lots of great titles, right?

I’m worried all of that reading doesn’t make up for the fact that Ari isn’t getting my attention at bedtime unless Marc is working late (and I need to tuck both kids into bed). Quite frankly, I didn’t really think twice about the fact that Marc has been tucking Ari into bed until last night.

For the past couple of months, Ari has been coming into my bedroom between 9:30 – 10:00 p.m. a few nights a week. At first, Ari said a noise woke him. After a few nights, I realized I didn’t hear any night noises. Then we thought he wasn’t relaxed, so I suggested he and Marc do some of Headspace’s Sleep programs with Ari. While Ari’s visits lessened, they didn’t disappear.

Lately, though, Ari has been giving me a ballpark figure of when he’ll come into my room to see me at night. Ari knows he’ll find me reading in bed so he just plods in, lays beside me, stays for a few minutes, and then retreats to his bedroom when I tell Ari it’s time to go back to bed.

Post-Bedtime Snuggles

Last night, I asked Ari — as I do many nights — if anything was bothering him. He said, “no.”

I asked Ari if there was anything on his mind or heart he wanted to discuss with me. He said, “no.”

I asked Ari if he was lonely in his room by himself. He said, “no.”

“So, buddy, why do you keep coming in here at night?”

“Because I want to snuggle with you,” he replied matter-of-factly.

“I could snuggle with you before you go to bed,” I replied.

“But you’re putting Isabelle to sleep. So that’s why I just come in here after bedtime. Then I can snuggle with you.”

Oh my heart. All he wants is… me. My undivided attention at bedtime. That’s it.

That’s when I realized we are getting the bedtime thing wrong. As soon as we finish The Hundred Dresses, it’s going to be time for Marc and I to alternate who puts the kids to bed at night so Ari gets more Mommy snuggle time in. Besides, it won’t hurt for Marc and Isabelle to read some novels together!

20 thoughts on “Getting Bedtime Wrong

  1. My heart feels all the love for this little boy! What a sweet, wonderful snuggle of security to just be able to cuddle up next to his mom and let any fears or worries disappear as he drifts off to peaceful slumber. You are blessed!

  2. This is so heartwarming. Made me reminisce about the time my son, Shubham was young. He is 20 now and still loves to cuddle up to me. He very recently landed his first job as a computer game developer and when I asked him what he would want to buy for himself with his first salary; his answer was the IKEA shark so he can cuddle it when i am away.

  3. I sit in a spot just outside both kids’ doors and read to them both (well, to all three because my husband has to listen too!). They are closer in age than your children so they always enjoy the book together, even if one or the other claims not to be interested in the title. After, I have to alternate who I go to for the final goodnight first. My son is especially concerned about getting all the last minute snuggles in. He will come check on me about 10 minutes later to get one last hug. When we ask him if anything is bothering him and why he keeps coming in, he gives a similar answer to Ari. 🙂

  4. Oh, Stacey. Stuff like this can crack a mom heart wide open with its sadness, its sweetness, its sincerity. First of all, a genius to YOU for sticking with the conversation and really working to find out what’s at the heart of his nighttime visits. And then also for figuring out a way to make things better.

    And…as a mama who’s past the age of night-time snuggles, I may or may not be just a little bit jealous… =)

  5. Oh, that Ari! I think this slice brought back so many snuggly memories to so many of us because you laid it all out so clearly. Wonderful that you have found a solution that benefits everyone.

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