Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sticking to the Routine

I know kids love routine as it gives them a familiarity that allows them to relax and feel comfortable, feeling safe with the day to come.

But from a parent's point of view, some of it can get a little repetitive.

It's up to us to fill the child's day with as many different activities as possible, trying to introduce new ways of spurring their imagination and creativity while educating them at the same time. This, for me, is great. I love drawing with Lydia, building towers and other objects out of Duplo bricks or wooden blocks, reading books and so many other activities. This is the interesting bit, where we break the routine by doing something different to the day before.

The Very Hungry Sodding Caterpillar

When it gets a bit less interesting for me is Lydia's bedtime routine. Not because I don't enjoy saying goodnight to my little girl, because I really do cherish those moments together (last cuddles before bedtime). What I don't particularly enjoy is the fact that Lydia always wants me to read the exact same book and sing her the exact same song before I put her in bed each night.

I must have read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" over 100 times by now. I know every page by heart, to the point where I recently couldn't find the book so recited it from memory instead. I have tried suggesting other books, asking her if she would like to read some of "Cinderella" or "The Jungle Book", but Lydia repeatedly demands "Capatiller" until I cave in and read it to her.

I would love to be able to read something new, but she never lets me.

The same thing applies to her goodnight song. For roughly 4 months or so last year I had to sing "You are my sunshine" before putting her down in her bed. I don't sing the whole song, just the first four lines, but these four lines become so mind-numbingly repetitive that by the end of those 4 months I had almost no pleasure at all in singing them.

That's what I imagine it must be like for Vanilla Ice or some other one-hit-wonder who has to repeatedly perform the same track.

Just recently, around a month or so ago, I managed to change bedtime songs so now I sing her "Pure Imagination" (from the Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory film). This is accompanied by spinning and dancing around the room, which she really enjoys.

The problem is that this song has now stuck as the only song she will let me sing her before bed. I even resorted to attempting the first line of "You are my sunshine" last night in a bid to change things up a bit, but Lydia stopped me after barely 3 words. The little lady knows what she wants.

I'm constantly on the lookout for new songs that she might like, although they would have to have an excellent opening if I am to get her attention within the first few words. Until then, I'm stuck with "Pure Imagination", which is made worse as I end up getting the song stuck in my head after singing it to her, meaning I spend the rest of the evening absent-mindedly humming it to myself. Until now, nothing else has worked.

I have tried nursery rhymes and songs for babies or young children, but Lydia's only response is to order me to sing "maginashun".

If anyone has any suggestions for a new bedtime song please let me know. It would need to be something a little bit uplifting - Lydia loves the spinning-dancing bits - but ultimately ending with a calming note as I lower her into bed. I realise that narrows the field somewhat, but any ideas would be very much welcome.

Please, for the sake of my sanity, help me!

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