Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bedtime stories

When Isaac moved into Danny's room, probably about three months ago now, I was really unsure about how bedtime was going to go. Three or four nights of the week, bedtime is solely my duty, and I was very pessimistic about it! I figured the boys would keep each other awake way past bedtime, messing around, I'd have to go in every ten minutes and tell them to be quiet...

I really should have just been more optimistic. They dealt beautifully with it. I think one of the things that has seriously helped was instituting chapter book reading.

Our bedtime routine normally involved pajamas; brushing teeth; washing face and hands (and sometimes feet); two or three picture books out on the couch; and then I'd leave Danny, nurse Isaac to sleep in our room, come back for Danny and put him to bed. Oh yes, I also sang Wynken, Blynken and Nod to each before leaving the room (my dad used to sing it to us when we were little). was exhausting. I'm glad it's combined now! Now, after stories on the couch, Isaac nursed (which he quit doing only a week ago, but that's another post), then we go to the bedroom together, both get in bed, lights are turned off and nursery rhyme is sung. Then mommy excuses herself to go get the chapter book and flashlight. We read one or two chapters (somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes worth, depending on how late it is and how the behavior has been), and by the end, Isaac is often asleep and Danny might as well be. It's great. They very rarely "talk" much after I leave. Reading relaxes me, so I guess reason stands that it must be soothing to them, as well.

The first book we started off with was The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate Dicamillo.
When I was first reading this book, I was a little startled by the dark tone of the novel. The boys didn't seem to mind it whatsoever though; I repeatedly asked Danny if it was too scary, and he always answered no. We didn't have any nightmares or any crazy talk, so I kept on with it. I actually really enjoyed the book, so that was a bonus! Isaac still talks about the Princess Pea.

Then we moved on to James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
I loved Roald Dahl immensely when I was young, so I was super excited to read one of his books. I almost bought a boxed set of them, then changed my mind for whatever reason, only to pull a box out of a shelf way up high in our closet and find it in there, along with many of my other old favorites! The boys also really liked this book. Dahl is as dark as Dicamillo was though, so I felt a little better about having read her book. I decided that when you think about it, lots of children's literature (and movies) feature death, dying, mild swearing...part of life that kids need to learn about, I suppose.

Then, we just finished The Mouse and the Motorcycle, by Beverly Cleary, last night.
I also liked Beverly Cleary's books a lot when I was young, though re-reading them as an adult wasn't nearly as exciting! I think this has by far been the boys favorite, which doesn't really surprise me, what with their love of all things on wheels. We'll be finishing the series of them, but I'm taking a breather with the next book!

Tonight we'll begin Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another by Roald Dahl.
As much as I loved Roald Dahl, I never actually read this book, so I'm excited for it. I had actually planned on starting Charlotte's Web, but never got my trip to Powell's in; plus we've read enough animal books for now and Christa's son loved Charlie--I'm sure Danny will, too, and I can't wait to listen to Danny and Andrew discuss it at preschool!

I've been amazed with Danny's ability to remember what's going on in the books as we progress through the chapters. I quiz him almost every night, and he almost always recalls what we read the previous night.

I've been waiting to start this tradition for quite awhile, and am so glad that the kids are at an age where we can start enjoying books together! I just hope it lasts long enough that we might read the Harry Potter series--I have a feeling by that point they may be tired of reading only one chapter a night with mom :)


  1. I should have read this post earlier! I just went to the bookstore today to find a new chapter book for Andrew. I think I'll borrow your routine since you seem to be getting through them faster than us. I'm going to start reading Flat Stanley to Andrew and Alyssa tomorrow.

  2. I'll have to try this, we've tried the mouse and the motorcycle and it didn't hold interest very well, not enough pictures so I could see how reading in the dark might be beneficial!