Nighty-Night, Moonshine

I would consider myself quite “Laissez faire” as a mama.  I’ve read, but not followed the advice of many books to put my baby on a strict nap schedule or eating regime and have broken all the rules when it comes to “good sleep habits”.  When Monie was just a few weeks old, I started a journal to try to figure out her schedule, but alas the girl is quite spirited, and things would change from day today, so I quickly gave that up.  But there is one, very special and regimented  part of my day–a routine and set of rituals, if you will, that I follow every day that I can, and that is Monie’s bedtime.   Monie and I have somehow slipped into a routine that has seriously become my very favorite part of the day.

As an introvert, I used to escape by taking at least one bath a day in an attempt to get some alone time.  I’d bring a glass of wine up with me, turn off all of the lights, light a candle and bask in the present. Since my little Moon arrived,  I don’t have the luxury of taking these spontaneous baths anymore. My new refuge and therapy has become something else that involves my sweet daughter.  I’m not even sure how it started, but I, Julie Chatham have actually found a set of nighty- night rituals that both Monie and I live and thrive by.  They start with a bath of course. Unlike the baths of my past, I bathe with my girl.  I honestly can’t think of a more luxurious sensation than soft slippery baby skin against mine, with a little lavender oil. The bath is then followed with the bedtime story, Goodnight Moon, a book that I swear she has loved since she was three months old.  I’ve tried others, but there is something so amazingly entrancing about the illustrations and alliteration of this book that lulls Ramona into deep relaxation. I’ve tried other books, but if it’s not Goodnight Moon, my little bean is fussy and ready for the next ritual which is a nice hearty bedtime meal.  I like to tank my baby up with food before bed.  She seems to sleep better this way and she soothes herself to sleep with food (against every rule in the book).  It works like a charm.  After her meal, we turn on some nice folk music.  We like James Taylor, Nora Jones and Gregory Alan Isokov for bedtime.  We slow dance to three or four songs and then I gently place her in her crib.  She has a turtle that casts stars and a moon on the wall that I turn on. Shes usually stares at this for about 5 minutes until she falls asleep.  The brilliant turtle turns itself off.  This ritual can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, and I will gladly devote as much time to this bedtime hour(s) that is necessary.  It is my daily retreat and sweet, sweet time to be fully present with my baby.  I’m savoring every night, for I’m afraid these will soon be fleeting memories….

 

Tennille - That is so sweet julie! I bathed with Holden for almost a whole year and loved it! He also has the twilight turtle but now he drags me in his closet, shuts the door tells me “off” for the light and we gaze at the stars for as long as his little heart desires. He bosses me around telling me to put the moon “up” then “down!”. It’s hilarious! Glad you guys are doing well.

Melody Zobel - Hi Jules,

This is so precious to read! I wanted to share with you my favorite folk cd geared toward children – Elizabeth Mitchell’s you are my little bird http://youaremyflower.org/?page_id=463….

We STILL listen to this cd all the time….I found her through her Catch the Moon collaboration with Lisa Loeb.

Anyhoo — thought you might enjoy her too!

Love hearing about you all and the bambino!

Melody Ann

Dawn - Oh my goodness, your posting is sweet, inspiring, and such a wonderful reminder to enjoy, be present, and cherish every moment. My husband and I have ten month old twin boys. Becoming pregnant was not easy for us. We tried for a couple years before seeking help,fertility treatment. It took a couple attempts before becoming pregnant with our beautiful boys. We feel so incredible blessed and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t “thank our lucky stars”. With that be said, we have experience a few sleepless night. I may have forgotten to “savor every moment, for the fear of fleeting memories”. Thank you so much for the reminder! Your memory and joy of “bedtime” (along with suggested folk music) brought a tear to my eye and I can’t wait to get home to our babies! Thank you!

April Ingram - Julie–I very much enjoyed this blog post. I brings me back to a very simple and magical time in my life when my daughter, Catherine, was my only child and still just a wee little thing. I used to take baths with her all the time. We never intended to co-sleep, but we did anyway because we just couldn’t stand to hear her crying all alone in her room 🙁 All 3 of my kids had a special song I sang them and a special book that I read them…actually I still sing these songs to them and read these books to them. Each kid is special in their own way, but it’s really hard to top that euphoria of your first baby. Our Catherine is now 8 1/2 years old and we have a very special and strong bond that is completely different than the bond that I share with our boys. I don’t know if it’s because she’s a girl, because she was our first, because I did these things with her, or all of those things combined but there are times when I long to be transported back to rocking my baby girl at 11pm, even though I started at 10pm, and watching her fall asleep while nursing! It’s definitely a very beautiful and special time, and normally I would tell a mom to cherish this time, but you seem like you have already figured that one out 😉

Jenn Budden - Julie,
It seems like forever ago that you did our wedding. (9 years ago) So special. I tend to come on over and look at your work from time to time and then to find that you now have a little girl. I am so happy for you! Motherhood is the most rewarding experience in my lifetime. You are so right to cherish it!
Enjoy EVERY moment.
Jenn

Emilie Dowd - I’m so excited you started this blog!! I come look at your site from time to time and I’m always hoping to catch a couple pics or words about how motherhood is going (we’re expecting our first in August) so I was thrilled to see this blog! I clicked on the “subscribe to blog” link but it gave me an error :/ Congrats on your daughter!

Courtney - What a sweet room! I often dream of having a nursery for my daughter (16 months) but it’s just so much easier to have her crib in our room; she still wakes up during the night. I love the turtle!

mamamoon - I LOVE Elizabeth Mitchell. In fact, that was what my next post was going to be about! You’re psychic… Wish you were here, Melly! I’d love to be mamas together–and of course share a bottle of wine or two. Love you!

mamamoon - Thanks, Emillie! Congratulations on the expectancy! Try subscribing again, I think we fixed it. And please, visit often. My first 6 weeks with Ramona were not the easiest and I have a lot of honest advice for brand new mommies–like drink that glass of wine while you breastfeed. Ha!

mamamoon - Jenn!!! I was just thinking about you the other day! Crazy. It’s so great to hear from you… stay in touch, mama! I’d love to get my camera on your family again. xoxo

mamamoon - April–Thank you for your heartfelt response to my first entry. You made me cry. Jesse and I want at least 2 more kiddos, and since I’m no spring chicken, we thought we might give it a go sooner rather than later. You’ve made me reconsider rushing into another pregnancy and baby right now. I want to truly be present with Ramona’s every milestone. For it really is, a “simple and magical” time in our lives….

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