Tonight after dinner, we made popcorn and had a family movie night.  When the movie was over, we gave the kids the two-song warning to get ready for bed.  Riley made a beeline for the bathroom to start brushing her teeth, but Rip was moving somewhat slower.  I think he was still a little amped up from the movie, or maybe he was still riding a bit of a sugar high from his school Halloween carnival earlier in the afternoon – so he probably wasn’t as tired as he normally is around bedtime.

I let him know that I would be available for the next 15 minutes to read books, and then he started moving a little faster.  He managed to get his teeth brushed and pajamas on, and we settled in to read.  We made it through his weekly reading practice book from school (which he read enthusiastically all by himself), and one more book before he said he was thirsty and wanted some water before the last book. I told him to hurry up and go get a drink, but about 5 minutes later, Kristin gave me a heads-up that he was out in the playroom playing with a couple of new toys that he won at his carnival today.  So I turned the light out in his room, just as he was walking down the hall with a balloon in hand.  I told him that book time was over for tonight, and that mommy and daddy would be available again tomorrow to read books.   He threw a minor mini-fit in our bedroom before Kristin carried him back to his room; she then came back and closed our bedroom door.

Now in the past, this would have resulted in major drama – pounding on doors, lots of screaming and crying – but tonight, nothing….  Just a whole lot of quiet.   About 10 minutes later, he did knock on our door to ask Kristin if she could fix one of his new toys.  When she let him know that  she would have to do it in the morning, he quietly said “ok, but keep it in your room so you remember…”  Again, no major blowups demanding that we fix it right now.   Just more quiet on the other side of the door.

I have to admit, I was bummed out about not being able to finish the bedtime routine with Rip – it seemed like a disappointing way to end what had been  a pretty good day.  But the important thing I need to remember is that this is another step in the learning journey for Rip.  Tonight I realized that he’s starting to learn that he’s in control of his own actions, and that includes getting ready for bed on time if he wants to get book time and song time with mommy and daddy.   And if he noodles or gets distracted, he’s learning  that there are consequences – and just as importantly – learning to accept them.

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