Bedtime in 21 Easy Steps
By Christine Alderman
To the Management,
Lately my bedtime has not been to my satisfaction and there has been some confusion about what I require. Here are just a few tips to help clear things up.
1. I prefer a bath that is warm, with some more cold water, and then some more hot water, and then some more cold water, with a little bit more hot water.
2. Only empty the bathtub after I am done playing. Which is never.
3. I try to make you proud by using the potty. I prefer to climb to the potty on my potty steps myself. Unless I don’t. Please know which one it is.
4. I prefer at least three books from each parent. And then one more from each of you so I don’t forget your voices all night. Because I love you. And then another one. Because I love books.
5. Please rock me in the big chair until I am ready to get in bed. I will indicate this by going stiff as a board.
6. I want to climb in my own bed. Do not help me. Except if I slip. Then help me. But don’t help me too much or I will need to do it again so I can show you I know how to do it.
7. I am hungry. I think I need dinner again now.
8. Thanks for the cold milk cup that is only cold enough if it waits in the fridge until the minute I need it. I will keep telling you I need milk until you get back upstairs in case you forget.
9. My bed feels nice. A clean sheet each night helps my complexion. Thanks.
10. My bed is too hot. I need a different blanket.
11. My bed is too cold. I need a different blanket.
12. My bed is not right. If I get out and climb back in that might help.
13. Please cover me up with almost all of my arms covered up, but not covered up too much, and my feet, but not my left foot.
14. Please fix my pajamas so that the footies don’t cramp my toes, but aren’t so loose that monsters can get in there and get my toes. Monsters love toes.
15. Now that I think about it my teeth are a bit sore. Medicine would be great. Purple would be great. I will say please over and over until you get back with it. You like it when I say please.
16. My mouth is sticky. I need water.
17. I need to go potty. You like me to go potty. You ask me all day. I will make you proud now and use the potty!
18. Please cover me up again with my blanket. But not this blanket. The other blanket. The one that is in the washing machine. I miss that blanket.
19. Please pat my back for a little bit. A little bit is the same amount of time as when you say we will be at the grocery store for just a little bit more.
20. Please put sweet dreams in my head. Only the best dreams. I have suggestions if you need them. Sit with me and I will tell you about them.
21. The door needs to be open a crack so I can hear you. Please don’t be too loud.
If I am not asleep please see above steps. You must have missed one. I can remind you of them if you want.
Please note that I have a separate issue with your naptime performance. I will address this in a separate memo.
Christine Alderman has worked with children, youth, and adults in juvenile detention, prison, and schools. Christine has a Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University. She lives in Texas with her husband and her threenage daughter.