Bedtime superstition and ritual


Bedtime is an occasion of superstition and habit. Gabe will resist climbing into his cabin bed unless L or I am in the room with him. He’s very reluctant to go upstairs to get ready for bed unless there’s a parent with him.

Once in bed, we have developed a ritual. Following a countdown and synchronised nodding of heads, we try to switch off the ceiling light at the same instant as his bedside lamp is switched on – he controls the latter, I the former. If synchronicity is lacking, we repeat as many times as necessary, but not ever more than ten times, until the movement of light from ceiling to bed is seamless.


“You lied to me,” said Robin. He supported this accusation by explaining how there isn’t a Father Christmas, but that mummies and daddies go out to buy the presents and put them into stockings while the children are looked after by babysitters. “But you didn’t have a babysitter before Christmas,” I pointed out in an effective distraction tactic. “It’s a magical time of year,” I reminded him.


Eliza was struck with insomnia one night this week. Reading, being read to, making lists in her head, me/L sitting on the end of her bed all failed to send her to sleep. An espresso cup of warm milk was the last thing tried and so may itself become a ritual.


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