Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Her Own

Princess loves being an only child. Well, technically she's not an only child, but her siblings are all grown. Lately, she has embraced her own special private time. The Lizard King and I usually head up to bed between 8:30 and 9:30. Princess, who still sleeps in our bed, always came up with us. We read, watch TV, talk and snuggle until we fall asleep, one by one.

For the past several weeks, Princess has chosen to stay downstairs after LK and I have gone to bed. She watches TV, plays the Wii, plays on her computer, plays with her toys or does whatever inspires her at the moment.

I often come down to find toys staged throughout our living space. Having a need for order, each morning, I pick up the toys and put them away so that Princess can again create her imaginary world. Yes, I pick up her toys and I do it joyfully, imagining what fantasies she may have played out the night before.

Princess will come up to bed around midnight. She and I decided on that (approximate) time together. There are things that Princess wants to do and in order to do them, she needs to wake up mid to late morning. So, around midnight, Princess comes up, changes into her nightgown and climbs into bed.

Freckles and I had a conversation about this ritual and she pointed out something that I had not thought about. Many parents wouldn't let their kids stay up on their own, unsupervised. It never occurred to me not to do this. I trust Princess completely and know that she will make good decisions. I know that if she needed me, she would come get me. Later, LK and I talked about it as well. His words of wisdom were that you need to set boundaries, but the boundaries need to be very far and wide.

What are our boundaries? In a word, safety. Princess knows (without us instructing her) that she should stay inside the house at night and keep the doors closed and locked. I make sure that any food she needs or wants is available and accessible.

I trust Princess to make good decisions and she does. Always.


  1. See I always enjoyed the house being quiet so I have a set time for my children to be in their rooms. they may do what they like in there until they fall asleep but they must be in there. However my husband has to go to bed earlier and so I can not go to my room for quiet time. Perhaps if I had my own spot to go to I wouldnt care what time mine went to their rooms.

  2. Everybody has their own way of doing things, Crystal! You need to do what works for your family.

    LK goes to sleep much earlier than I do. He has to wake up at 5am for work. If I watch TV, it doesn't bother his sleep and if I read, I use a book light or read on the Kindle app on my phone. Princess is always considerate of her noise level, so her play doesn't seem to disturb the quiet.

    I enjoy my quiet time, too! =)

  3. :) I love that there are just so many ways to do things. LOL if I go to bed and read I use a light and it still wakes my husband up. As soon as I lay down he sits up. So I have been avoiding going to bed. He has to be up at 2:30am so I just hang out in the living room or on my computer till then and then I go to bed. Im not getting enough sleep these days though.

  4. My kids need to go to bed early since they will not sleep any later in the morning. Whatever works for you.

  5. Each family needs to figure out what works for them, Secret Mom. For me, this post was more about trust than simply letting your kids stay up late. Princess sleeps until she's ready to wake up. Mostly that is between 10:30 and 11:00 am, but sometimes it's 9am. She follows her own rhythm. She wakes up well rested. If that were not the case, we would talk about it. But yes, this works for us.

  6. Love this post. Thank you for reminding me to joyfully take care of my children and their toys.
    My oldest who is 6.5 is a night owl, actually we all are.

  7. I'm so glad this post was timely for you, Darcel! I love when little reminders show up when we need them most. Thanks for commenting!! :)

  8. I think it's sweet to that your daughter has her own time. My 8yo daughter goes to bed before everyone else so she can wake up before everyone else and do her own thing in the early morning.

  9. Don't you just love it, Sara?! Our kids can figure out what works best for them. They listen to their bodies and find ways to meet their needs. It's a beautiful thing. :)