The truth is: we have struggled to find and maintain a nighttime routine with Little Elephant. First of all, we moved around way too much for a while. Then, we let her dictate and weren’t great with consistency. Since she is still not sleeping in a crib, she did for a while but that experiment failed because of lack of parental follow through, it complicates things.
For a while, we had a nice routine—or so I thought. It consisted of reading a story, singing a song, feeding her, and me putting her down. Turns out this was a bad routine for us! She started to associate reading with bedtime. Since she hates bedtime—or rather she hates missing out on anything—she started to dislike reading. It has been months and I am only now starting to get her to agree to sit down and read with me. Therefore, I count that bedtime routine as a epic fail.
As or recently, however, we have seemed to find a groove and the truth is: I like our new routine, even if it is unconventional.
Little Elephant often doesn’t eat enough dinner because she wants to be out playing with the other kids. Or, if there are not other kids out, she just wants to be out playing. Therefore, she nibbles and then rages until dinner is done. We have stopped letting her down when she does this and she is forced to stay sitting throughout the meal; this hasn’t, unfortunately, upped the amount of food in her tummy. With the new bedtime routine, after dinner, she gets on jammies. We make a smoothie with vegetables, yogurt, milk, ginger, a banana, cereal and sometimes juice or other fruit. Then, we go outside and get into her little pink push around buggy. I push her around the neighborhood, she drinks her food, and we watch the sun go down, stair at the stars, or point at the bats. You wouldn’t think that walking around the neighborhood would calm her down— but it does. And, her belly is much fuller. Once done, we go inside, cuddle, nurse, give kisses and go to bed.