The following is the typical Ledeboer bedtime routine
(for the kids anyway, this is a G rated blog after all):
Usually involving something too healthy for the kids to get excited about but not so disgusting that they won't eat it with the promise of dessert to follow. What they often forget is that I often hide healthy things there too .
-The kids start getting ready for bed:
Hunter has a little list on the fridge that has his "to do before bedtime" checklist. He loves lists. Once I realized that I could harness this for my benefit, I became very happy. We now also have an "after school to do list", a "things to do before TV, Computer or Wii time" list. They work like magic with him. Ashlyn, isn't so into lists so she gets a little more personal direction with the bedtime routine.
-Once the PJ's are on, teeth are brushed, faces washed, etc, it's story time:
Hunter and Ashlyn each pick out a bedtime story and cuddle up with dad while I clean up the kitchen from dinner. I love reading to the kids, but equally I love listening to Trent read to them–special times. After their personal stories are read, they get one last story out of The Jesus Storybook Bible. We really like this kid's bible, and as the subtitle suggests (Every Story Whispers His Name) it does a wonderful job of weaving Christ into each story told.
-Next is the "bedtime game" (hands-down the kid's favorite part of the evening):
They pretend to go to bed, gleefully saying good night to every member of the family and obediently trotting off to their rooms. Trent and I exclaim in voices a little too loud to be believable, "what amazingly wonderful children we have that go to bed without a fuss" and start discussing our plans for the evening. All the while the kids are slowly, quietly sneaking out of their beds (gasp!) and crawling back into the living room. Suddenly, they jump up and start running around the room, fully of energy and vigor. At this, a very surprised daddy jumps up from the couch and tries to catch them and tote them back to their beds only to find them escaping again. The length of the game depends on how close it is to bedtime (7:00 PM). Inevitability, Trent will begin the one minute countdown which signals the approaching close to the good night game. At the 10 second mark the kids are frantically trying to get past dad (who is blocking their way) and into their beds. On occasion, I am called upon to use my extreme strength to restrain dad so that the children can pass and reach their beds before time runs out.
-Lastly, kisses, prayers, an occasional song and the following back tickle (with specific motions):
Big X, little x (using your pointer finger, draw out the letter X on their back)
Spider crawling up your back, spider crawling down your back, spider crawling up your back (use two fingertips to 'crawl' up and down the spine)
Bites you on the neck, bites you on the neck (gently 'bite' the back of their neck with your fingers)
Cool breeze (blow gently on their back)
Tight squeeze (gently squeeze their sides)
Now you've got the shiverezze (do a quick fingertip tickle all over the back)
A babysitter taught this tickle to Hunter a few years ago. I am not exactly sure what the appeal of a spider crawling up and down your back before bedtime is, but it became an instant hit.
As much as I love it when the kids are all tucked quietly in their beds, I have a feeling that this routine will be one of the fond memories that I will long for when I am older.