Like most parents -- with the exception of my newsletter friend, of course -- I have struggled with everything having to do with sleep. I don't get enough of it, my toddler's all over the place with it. I even talked to sleep expert Elizabeth Pantley about it back in May.
She had some very sage advice. "The key is consistency," which she also espouses in her best-selling No-Cry book series, which includes the No Cry Sleep Solution.
I know, I know ... consistency is king! But why was I facing down a mutiny night after sleepless night? The answer was simple: I was copycatting other people's routines instead of inventing one of our very own.
One thing I've noticed about having a boy (and please chime in if your girls are the same way) is that they go nuts for pajamas. To borrow a line from one of our favorite pajama ritual stories, which I'll tell you more about in a minute, they like "to wear pajamas with cars" and they also like "to wear pajamas with stars," on some occasions opting for "stars and cars!"
That would be Little Pookie.
They like them fuzzy, polka dot, or with monkeys and zebras and lions on top!
Whoa, pardon me ... just channeling my inner children's book writer.
We now maintain a pajama supply well into the dozens because every night (after dinner, bath, and nudie play time), we begin our pajama ritual by selecting what combination of pjs my dear Ezra will be wearing until the early morn. The choice is entirely his; mommy has no say in it whatsoever, although if I sing the monkey song, it does expedite the choice somewhat.
We then put Elmo and Sleepy Frog to bed, select a couple more of Ezra's favorite things (pictured here), and pick three of about six pajama-related bedtime stories on his bookshelf. In constant rotation are ...
The Going to Bed Book
Night Night Little Pookie
My kid loves Sandra Boynton's board books, but to broaden his horizon, we always sneak in a couple of Mother Goose or Shel Silverstein rhymes.
Then we make up a couple of songs about our pajamas. Talk about what's on his pajamas. And then, like clockwork, he falls asleep.
Should he wake up in the middle of the night, I whisper sweet nothings about the monkeys dancing on his pajama bottoms and he drifts back to sleep. So much for the noise machines, my stack of sleep music CDs, and sore nipples. All he needed was a little reassurance that when he slumbers, he's not alone. He's got his pajamas ... mommy's got her pajamas ... daddy's wearing his ... his trucks are going "crunch!" and his cars are still racing, the monkeys are dancing ... until ... yawn, good night.
What sleep routines work for you? Do you have a pajama ritual of your own?