Bedtimes are hard work - especially when Stef is working late (quite often). I have a bit of an energy dip around 6 - 7pm and during the week the children are usually tired and either grumpy or crazy with it. Baths and hairwashes and pyjamas and homework and teethbrushing and all that seems a little stressful. On the other side of it, however, is the best reward - the bedtime snuggles.
I love tucking my children into bed. They are warm and soft and loving. They ask for 'one more' kiss and cuddle.
A few weeks ago I read online about a game called 'Rose, bud, thorn' which you can play with your children at bedtime, and when I tested this out at bedtime, they both absolutely loved it. Arran has especially taken to it, and absolutely demands that we play this every day. We've always had a bit of a chat about the day at bedtime, but the structure of this seems to appeal to him enormously and he shares things with me that I don't think I would hear about otherwise.
Here's how it works - you ask your child to share with you their 'rose', 'bud' and 'thorn' from the day that has just passed. Their 'rose' is the thing that went best for them - something they are proud of or a friend that they enjoyed playing with or something that made them happy. Their 'bud' is something that they learned that day - anything at all. Their 'thorn' is, of course, the thing that went less well that day - something they found difficult, a row that they had with a friend, something that made them sad. I've actually been swapping the order, too, so that it's 'rose, thorn, bud', rather than ending the chat on a negative.
Two extra things have happened already. One is that Arran absolutely insists that I join in this game too, and for him it is very much a sharing exercise. I had only anticipated a one-way sharing process and it's quite interesting to have him listen solemnly to how I've felt about my day. I think it's quite good for him to hear about my 'thorns' too - I suppose I've never really spent time telling him about things I find difficult before. Perhaps when he hears me say that my thorn is, 'I got really cross with someone today and I wish I hadn't let myself get so cross because it didn't fix the problem and it just made my tummy hurt' he may realise that grown ups have problems too and don't always get things right.
The other thing is that he's added an extra category, completely of his own accord, which he's called 'pick'. This category is something that you 'wish' that day - it can be something that you wish had happened differently or something that you wish for in general.
Eilidh enjoys the game too, but it's really Arran that has embraced it so wholeheartedly, and insists 'Rose, bud, thorn, pick!' at nighttime if I look like I am going to forget. Through this, I have learned about little trials and anxieties, shared proud and happy moments with him and even heard a little about what he gets up to at school (via the 'bud' category)! I love the feeling that I know my children a little better.