One of my daughter’s (and my!) favorite bedtime books is Time For Bed by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer. It’s sweetly written and has adorable pictures. She loves stories and I love kids’ books — this is one of my favorite things to do together. Anyway, there’s a line in this book that has become part of our daily conversation: “What happened today that made you laugh?”
I love this. Whenever I would read her this book, generally at bedtime, I would ask her this question. It’s such a funny little question to me — so simple, but really makes her think. Days are busy over here (not all that unique of a dilemma, I know) and between pickup from daycare, grocery shopping, taking the dog out, unloading the car, yada, yada, yada, I’m trying to engage my daughter and see what her day was like. In all of her toddler-ness, I don’t think she necessary knows what to say to this question. Hey, neither do I, really. How was your day, Tara? Fine, it was work.
But when I stop what I’m doing for a few minutes while we share a snack before dinner or when I actually sit down for a second to watch her during bath time, I’ve been trying to make it a habit to ask her to tell me something that made her laugh during the day. Or, what was silly today? Did anyone do anything funny? I think about her a lot during the day, and I sometimes I wish that I was a fly on the wall to see who she plays with, how she behaves, which toys she chooses, how she interacts. I feel like that question makes her think about her day a bit. Like, what was good today? I know it immediately makes me reflect on the day more positively. And I know I need to be doing this more often, and modeling it for her regularly.
In the same vein, we also make prayers part of our bedtime routine. I wouldn’t consider myself religious, but I like the act of saying what we’re grateful for each day. It’s definitely for me as much as for her. I handle prayers on behalf of her each night, because at almost three years old, that would just go off the rails immediately. I have more recently been asking her what she is thankful for, however, so that she may participate. Sometimes it’s something ridiculous like some God-awful annoying toy that I am NOT grateful for, but sometimes it is something that I am totally surprised by — like seeing Granny or Facetiming with Grandma that day. Or sometimes she says thank you for Vince, our dog, because “some kids don’t have a dog”. And checking in with her in this way helps me get a glimpse of what is important to her and who she is becoming. Because she is just a little person, becoming a big person, and sometimes I forget this.