For those of you who don't participate in the Facebookosphere, I posted this note on my profile tonight. It's actually my personal journal entry for tonight, but I thought it was too good not to share.
Stephanie and I have done the same bedtime routine with Heather for a long time. We probably started getting consistent with it when she was about 6 months old, maybe even before that. Needless to say, we've done the same bedtime routine for over a year now. All of us read together from the children's scriptures, then Stephanie bathes Heather, then I dry her off, get her dressed and read her a story. Finally, we say a prayer together and Stephanie sings Heather to sleep. The same 5 songs every night...in the same order! We feel strongly that kids need structure and consistency, and we've been working very hard to provide that for Heather.
Although we have our "assigned" bedtime routine tasks, I've filled in for Stephanie enough times to know the whole bedtime routine very well myself. Between Stephanie's responsibilities at church and our ASL classes, I have been doing the bedtime routine by myself at least once a week for a while. And at the end, I sing Heather to sleep...the same 5 songs each time...in the same order, just like Stephanie!
Tonight I had a wonderful experience as I was singing Heather to sleep. I decided to do a little experiment. As I was singing one of the songs, I decided to stop right before one of the words we've been teaching her to say and sign. "Temple" she filled in. So I sang a little more and came to another word we've been teaching her and stopped. "Day" she said. I must have done this at least 10 times between the 5 songs, and each time she said the correct word--clearly too! I was impressed enough by the fact that she could say the words we've been teaching her ("temple", "day", "heart" to name a few), but she also said some words we haven't been teaching her ("Spirit" and "true"). Mind you, this isn't something we've been practicing--I just tried this out of the blue and Heather was perfect!
I'm not going to pretend this is because Stephanie and I are such great parents. Heather is so bright and special in so many ways. But I can't help but wonder how much the consistency is helping her learn and grow. Stephanie is a wonderful mother and has been so consistent in so many of the things she does with Heather--she is the reason we have a bedtime routine in the first place! I'm so thankful for the two girls that I have been blessed with!