Bedtime Stories

We started the process of night weaning Silas a few weeks ago.  This means that Jonny has been in charge of him when he wakes up, usually twice each night.  I slept with the girls the first couple of nights, and then moved back into our bed.  Silas’ crib is at the foot.  His sleep habits didn’t seem to be improving, as he was still waking up.  Three nights ago while I nursed Silas at bedtime, Jonny came in and sat with us.  We started telling Silas that he was going to sleep all night that night and that he wasn’t going to see Daddy until the morning.  He knew just what we were saying and responded with a huff and a “nuh-uh.”  (he loves to huff and puff and pout) I put Silas to bed a few minutes later and told him, “see you in the morning!”  And he proceeded to sleep until about 6 a.m. the next day.  I think he was just ready.  He’s done it three nights in a row now.  Weird.  Obviously we hope he keeps it up.

Another bedtime change we are trying to make is the girls’ routine.  Typically Jonny reads bedtime stories, squeezed between them in the bed they share.  He stays until they are asleep (and usually he is too.)  I’ve been going to bed a bit earlier myself and noted to Jonny that if we wanted to have any time to ourselves without children that we needed that routine to change.  Maybe the girls could go to sleep on their own after stories?  It turns out they can, they just chatter and carry on for a little while.  Now, if we can just convince Larkspur to stay in her bed all night.  It’s funny, she was my baby who slept on her own from the time she was six weeks old, because that’s just what worked for her.  I was sort of sad about it then.  Now she wanders in mid-night and wakes up in our bed every single morning, making up for lost time.

Every now and then I put the girls to bed, although usually that is my “work” time.  When I do, they beg me to tell them stories rather than reading books.  Most of my stories are long and rambling, with no real plot; just childhood memories.  They like to hear about my pets.  I’ve told them the stories of most all of them now, and even the stories of neighbor’s dogs, like the one named Frances who bit my little sister in the face when she tried to kiss him.  I told them the story of my first dog, Sugar, but left out the part about her eating her puppies, born when we were out of town.  Sugar was promptly spayed after that, even before it was in fashion.  I remember being really disappointed that puppies were no longer an option.  I told my girls about the graveyard for animals I created at my dad’s house on Missionary Ridge (before he moved to Lookout Mtn.)  I remember a blue tailed skink being buried there, and a chipmunk who drowned in a bucket that filled with rainwater after I left it hanging in a tree.  Oh, the guilt.  Recently, Larkspur started decorating an area in which we have buried a few wild animals that met their end, turning it into a proper animal graveyard.  I don’t know if she was inspired by my stories, or by the natural tendency we all carry to honor the dead.

I find it amusing that the moment I sat down to take a few pictures in the animal graveyard, Intruder walked right into my frame and rolled over, “playing dead,” unintentional as it was.

p.s.  I shared a hilarious nursing photo on my Facebook page last night.  Probably my favorite ever.


  1. I like hearing about others’ nighttime routines. We just have one 19-month-old and she’s still sleeping with us. It’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts…

    Your BF’ing pic made me laugh. I’ve done a few similar moves in my day 🙂

  2. My jaw actually dropped when I saw that picture of the cat, looking, well…like road kill! We had an animal graveyard when I was little…The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown is such a lovely treatment of death, for children, and reminds me so much of our instinctive solemnity at our animal “funerals”.

    Oh, the bedtime routines. We have four children too, and there are some things that don’t seem to work for us anymore but with a newish baby in the house, we’re reluctant to mix things up too much. More time for mom and dad, sans enfants, is always a goal! Glad to hear your little man is settling into full nights of sleep…such a triumph, isn’t it? And that full night’s sleep does a world of good for mamas, too.

  3. Working on night weaning too. My little one has slept all night 4 nights in a row. So happy about that. Hope we both continue to have success.

    • four nights! that’s great! I just put Silas down and reminded him as I left the room that we wouldn’t be seeing him until morning!

      • I nurse for a few minutes(gradually decreasing that) then lay with him until he goes to sleep. I’ll eventually cut down the laying with as well. Haven’t touched nap yet. That will be the last to wean from. Hoping that won’t mean no more naps when we get to that point 🙂

  4. I live near Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge is my favorite place to drive around and look at beautiful houses. I love it up there. When my kids were little we had a routine like yours, where we either read every night or told stories. Such fun memories. And they still remember doing that. I hope all your nights are full of good dreams!

  5. I thought the cat was dead too! Tee hee. Sooo glad that wasn’t the case. We all know death is a part of life but really…what I know of your blog, Ginny, I didn’t think I would see it! *smile*
    Did anyone win the felted wool balls?

    • I promise never to post a picture of an actual dead animal! Yes, the winner of the dryer balls was announced within the giveaway post!

  6. I saw that photo on FB and loved it 🙂 I hope your bedtime routines become less dependant on you as I am hoping they will for us some time in the future. It is nice to know I’m not the only mother that has children you need to stay with until they fall asleep.

  7. The night weanings can be so hard…I remember well! Good luck and hope you get some rest soon:)

  8. When we moved to our current house we had to dig up Norbert the goldfish and relocate him to a new burial ground. How exciting that Silas slept through the whole night 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing with us, Ginny! I saw that nursing shot on FB and laughed out loud — ohhhhh, I remember those days (not long ago) and with this new little one, it makes me wonder what poses she will use! My husband follows the same routine as Jonny-read to two young children (our 6yo son and 3yo daughter) and then falls asleep. The older two are in the other side of the upstairs (I stop short of calling it a bedroom, becuase there is no door …. and tend to themselves. our 8yo daughter, EK, will tell “mind stories” — she tells herslef stories in her mind — until she hears her dad’s voice reading stories, then she listens in. See? Who needs a door 🙂

    • Sounds like our houses are similar! Our upstairs has two rooms with a chimney in the middle. Three to four of our kids sleep in the room right at the top of the stairs, and then Jonny, Silas, and I are on the other side. Jonny finally added a little wall and a door between the two rooms a couple of years ago!

  10. The one battle I swore I would win was bedtime and I have ever since they were infants.

    The only suggestion I have is to tuck them in and leave. Make bedtime a routine from the time they go to sleep until they wake up. Yes, some wake up at 5 – 11yr old youngest – b/c they never sleep a minute over 8hrs and never have nor will. Others will sleep until anytime btwn 6 and 8 – but are usually up by 7 b/c they need 10hrs a night.

    But they are in bed and asleep shortly after 9pm every school night – the 13yr old can stay up until 9:30 and sometimes 10 on weekends/holidays this past year.

    I have to have the down time and we need the kid free time.

  11. I too let out a gasp with Intruder’s “playing it dead” photo. Thankfully he was just playing dead and wasn’t actually dead. 🙂 I really like hearing about other Mamas bedtime routines and nursing/weaning stories. I’ve only just begun the journey with my six month old but we’re already wondering if we are doing the right things for her in regards to sleep and nursing. Seems like there’s never a right thing but of what is right for that child and parent in the moment. She’s sleeping with us and nursing throughout the night but right now I’m enjoying snuggling up to her and waking to nurse in those twilight hours.

    Love the graveyard. I had a goldfish and hamster cemetery in my backyard as a kid. I think a place like that is heathy for a child to learn about death and tradition and respect. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Oh my stars, I thought Intruder was dead!

  13. Hi – I thought the cat was dead at first – lol!! I was anticipating a sad post. We also have evening routine issues and although we only have one little one, we are having no time together in the evenings as my husband reads to Little Son and then, like yours, lays down with him until he sleeps and usually falls asleep until I call him much later then drops into his own bed. Little Son is nine now and I really think he should start falling to sleep by himself so we are on a drive to change our evenings too. Good luck with your efforts. Lily. xxx

  14. Thought that poor cat was dead. Caught my breath on the next photo, lol.

    Good luck on the night weaning. My 21 month old son sleeps all night. 7:30 til at least 7. Later on weekends when school buses aren’t stopping outside the window all morning. It’s my 6 year old that still won’t sleep. She’s in every night with nightmares or just can’t sleep. Usually I walk her back to her room but some nights I just don’t have it in me to get up and she sleeps with us. If we could just figure out her sleep we would all be good.

  15. Our routine for the past few years has been that when any child enters our room in the night, my husband quietly and gently just walks them right back to their bed and tucks them in. They amazingly go right back to sleep. My sleep is just so important for my mental health that our room and bed has to be kid-free…I love the *idea* of kids being in bed with us, but the reality is that I don’t sleep and I need it. Life is much brighter now 🙂

    • I am right there with you. We realized that co sleeping was just not the best option in our house. They all slept in our rooms for varying amounts of time as infants but life was better when they were sleeping in their own rooms.

    • I have gotten to a place where I can co sleep with babies, but I don’t sleep well with bigger wiggly kids. Larkspur most nights though simply slips in on Jonny’s side of the bed and we don’t even notice! Jonny is a very sound sleeper! I am thinking that when summer and warmer temperatures come, she will stop her nighttime visits.

  16. Oh – how I would love more info on how you night wean. My son was a “sleep through the night” champ at two months old…My daughter (13 months) is still waking 4-8 times a night!! I’m not sure how much longer I can do the night feedings like that.

    I love the graveyard!! What a beautiful idea. My sister and I used to put rocks outside the window of where we buried our gerbils, mice, and hamsters. We lived in an apartment complex so rock headstones was all we could manage. 🙂

    I love love love the gymnurstics photo. I was surprised it let me see it since I don’t have facebook anymore. Evelyn does things like that all the time. Drive by nursings or full blown gold medal gymnurstics if I sit down with her. I love toddler nursing (mostly!). They are so funny about it!

  17. I pray for rest for you. My three year old has slept alone in her bed the last two nights and Amante and I have made a point of going to bed before 11 and boy has it helped my mama brain! We reminded her that she can call out to us and we will come to her. So far, so good. I don’t sleep at all when she is with us, and it was getting to a point where something had to give!

    • That is exactly where I was when Beatrix was younger and still co-sleeping. I hope things continue to go well for you!

  18. It is funny how they just seem to accept things. Bedtimes are tough right now, but before we left AZ we had hit an amazing point. We would read aloud and then leave the kiddos to fall asleep. It worked, and Dave and I actually had evening time together. (I usually fall asleep with the kiddos if I lay with them too).

  19. So good to hear he is sleeping to the night, hope it keeps up. Beautiful graveyard.

  20. Ahh, sleep… so elusive, so complicated, so worth it in the end.

  21. Oh yes – I thought you were leading up to something – that he had passed on, but there he was in the next photo! He looks very well fed. 😀

  22. When I got to the photo of your “dead” cat, I said, “oh no! Poor cat, poor kids… ” well, thank goodness you included his resurection photo too! Lol

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