Like many families, mine is driven by ritual. Every day, pretty much lots of things are the same. Things happen in the same order every day, and then my kids know what to expect, and they also don't question what I'm asking them to do. I have never had a child unwilling to go to bed, because there has never been a question that after dinner, bath, and stories, one gets into bed and goes to sleep. This has always been the way it is, and they just assume this is always how it will be.
The ritual is beauty. It makes my life so utterly simple, not having to plan, or think, or arrange anything. The wake-up till breakfast is all pre-planned, the lunch-nap is all pre-planned, and the dinner-bed is all pre-planned. Best of all, the pre-planning actually schedules in time for me to be myself, to pursue what I want to do (like washing the floor, hanging out diapers :) or maybe sewing a little). I am so bought into the ritual, so tied to it, that I simply cannot imagine that there are people for whom this kind of life would seem rigid, and like work. And it might be, for them, but it's not to me.
So tonight, the ritual is thrown off- 7 PM is bedtime, usually, given that we eat about 5:30, then go up for Crazy time, bath, and books, which lands the kids in bed around 7. So today, I urged the kids to nap, to which Liam easily complied, knowing that his time with his grandparents depended on the length of his sleep. Aoife, less able to consciously make this choice, talked for an hour and I thought, Well, she might not make it for the visit... but then, by now at 2:30 I realized, I can take advantage of this opportunity for a late nap. So I went up, popped her the boob, and about 2 minutes later she was out like a light.
So tonight, it will be... music class, bath, playtime...then Grammie and Grandpa! Won't it be a treat to stray from the rhythm, as soothing as it is, to get in our one precious evening with Greg's family, en route to a conference in Rhode Island. The kids will be well rested, because in knowing their routine and their needs, I could restructure the day to be sure that they will be fit and happy to hang out with the family. Aahhh... Looking forward to a glass of wine on the porch myself.