Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Let me just tell you, being grandma is a lot of fun. First of all, when Hallie doesn’t want to do something her mom wants her to do, she runs to me and I get extra hugs. I don’t have to be the one to enforce the rules. I don’t undermine my daughter’s authority, but a little nana spoiling never hurt anyone. Because my granddaughter and her parents live with us, I get lots and lots of time to spoil the child.

As she hits toddler stage, I am also reminded of why I am too old to have more babies of my own.

It’s exhausting.

When Anika was Hallie’s age, she had learned from her four older brothers and sisters all the tricks to forestall bedtime—she had to go potty, she was thirsty, she was hungry. something hurt or needed a band aid, it was too hot, too cold…and of course, there were monsters in her closet.

Now it’s Hallie’s turn to find ways to prolong her playtime and put off bedtime. And Dave and I just giggle. Because we don’t have to have the nightly fight.

While nothing was ever completely effective, especially with Anika, who didn’t sleep through the night until she was five and almost always found her way into our bed, we found that nightly rituals help gear our kids for bedtime. Kira applies much the same approach with Hallie.

Around 7 o’clock, an hour before we actually expected the kids to be in bed for the night, we started the routine.

Snack, drink, bath, brush teeth, brush hair, go potty. Every night. Then, when we tucked them in at night, we had a special tradition of talking about our day together (actually, we still do that with the kids).  We started this when Parker was born and first began baby talking.  It gives them time to reflect on the day and what they did. Then we let the kids read in bed for a short time. Sometimes it required being firm—if they got out of bed, it was lights out and eyes shut.

Now, we hear Kira and Louis wrestling with Hallie – sometimes she wins, sometimes they do.

We remind them that the kids do get through this stage, and to enjoy it, because as we’ve seen with each of our five kids, they quickly get to a point where they want to spend all their time in the bedroom and have as little contact with mom and dad as possible.

So even as we delight in the fact that we’re no longer the ones wrestling a toddler to bed each night, we are a little sad, too, and encourage Kira and Louis to enjoy the moments, and to occasionally just overlook the fact that the kids are out of bed – again – and just enjoy one more hug.