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The Importance of Ritual

I’m not big on ritual. Or convention. Or rules, to be quite on honest. I like to find a new way of doing things and don’t appreciate being told how things were done before. This bend toward freelancing life has not served me well in putting my oldest daughter to bed.

Zoe is a live wire. Her mind goes 900 miles an hour and she’s quick with opinions, whether it’s about the snack or what she wants to play with.  The grin you see in the photo to the left is one of her two natural expressions.  The other one is a look of disgust.  She wears it far less frequently, but with just as much intensity.

She bounces through her day, running from the sand box to the kiddie pool and back, encouraging her sisters “C’mon, Twinnies!  Let’s go play!”.  And go play they do.

ZoBo likes new things, meeting new people and thinking new thoughts.  At bedtime, however, she likes the same old same old, and it has taken me far too long to figure this out.  We have battled with her at bed time.  First, the screaming.  Then they crying.  Eventually she would quiet…but only for a moment to gather her thoughts.  Sometimes singalongs would erupt, only she was the only one singing (this never occurred to her, or if it did, it didn’t bother her.)  One night, I found her singing at midnight.  “…Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”  Pause.  Shouts:  “LET’S STAND AND SING IT KIDS!….Row, row, row your boat…”.  This went on for thirty minutes.

Some time back I decided we needed story time, and from that attempt, an elaborate nightly dance has evolved.  It usually goes like this….

Me:  ZoBo, it’s time for bed.

Zoe:  (flatly) No it’s not.

Me: (emphatically) Yes it is.

Zoe: Ok.

We walk up stairs to her bedroom.

Zoe: I want George.

I go find a Curious George doll she’s slept with for two years.  Actually, it’s more of an effigy.  It’s huge.  Bigger than she is.  Her sisters are afraid of this behemoth.

Me: OK, what are we going to listen to tonight during story time?

Zoe:  Miles Davis.

Me:  The Police?

Zoe:  Miles Davis.

Me:  Barry Mannilow?

Zoe:  Miles Davis.

Me:  Degarmo and Key?

Zoe:  Miles Davis.

It’s a gag.  I suggest different bands every night.  I’ve suggested everything from Lyle Lovett to Mannheim Steamroller to the Atlanta Rhythm Section.  No matter what I offer, it’s always the same.

Miles Davis.

I hit play on Miles and read her a few stories.  Confession, I hid Fox in Socks for a while.  It’s horrific to read.  Also, Cat in Hat is just as logical if you skip vast sections, but if you finish too soon, she gets suspicious.

After book time it’s snuggle and prayer time.  ZoBo snuggles.  I pray.  Miles plays the trumpet.

There are far worse ways to end the day.


4 Responses

  1. I love the nightly ritual! It’s such a special time of the day. I wish my kids wanted to listen to Miles above anything else : ) All I have to say is…she’s got good taste in music!

  2. I can’t believe that she falls asleep to Miles Davis! 🙂

  3. I’m LOVIN’ this!! Randy you are hilarious…i will join in the confession of Not ReADinG and entire ‘FAV’ nighttime story or trying to SKIP parts and YES! They Know!! Our daughter Anna was especially obsessive about this.
    ZoBo…what a total DOLL! (pic is priceless)

  4. that is just about the most precious thing i have seen in a while. love it! our nightly ritual is just about as long and mostly enjoyable. . . but mostly, just important for sleep to take place.


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