Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Night Light



The clocks will go forward soon, giving us longer, lighter evenings, and we'll be facing every parent's favourite challenge: how to make the summer bedroom as dark as possible. But for now, Bella and Angus go to bed when it's dark outside. I find photographing anything in electric light very difficult indeed and so, over the last couple of weeks, I have been taking the camera up with me when they go to bed, trying to capture some of the warmth and cosiness of their bedtime routine. 

They usually go up at around 6.30 pm, apart from the odd night when there is an after school activity which runs later, or at the weekends. After the rituals of bath, pyjamas, teeth and stories, they are allowed "a play" before they settle down to sleep. This is undoubtedly their favourite part of bedtime. Knowing they don't have that long, they get stuck in to some serious play; toys come out, dens are built, stories written and pictures drawn. I was wary of all this at first, thinking that after all that calming ready-for-bed activity the last thing they needed was stimulation. But it works. And at about 7.30, one of them usually will come downstairs and say "Can we go to bed now please?" and then they are tucked in, kissed and lights are switched off.


These bedtimes are precious. Already, at age seven, Bella will often choose to read her own story, rather than have us read to her, and I can feel her pulling away from me in lots of small ways. Doing her own hair, wanting to make her own breakfast or packed lunch, not needing help when she needed it before. And soon 7.30 will be too early for her and she'll want to go to sleep later. It's right that she is gaining independence, of course, but I just want to hang on to our bedtime rituals a little longer.

44 comments:

Mereknits said...

I love this post today, I remember bedtime as such a cozy time with my boys when they were young. Now I get to redo all of that with Little Buddy, but I have to say I am a bit more lax with him, maybe because I am a lot older now.
Hugs to you,
Meredith

Jo said...

Lovely post, I had a little tear in my eye at the end because Big Sis is 6 and she has started to do some of those things but I hadn't really noticed until you said.I love bedtimes with the children too. Jo x

Xelenacrochets said...

The rabbit is so cool!

Jennifer said...

I really love the rabbit nightlight. We have a very similar bedtime routine, it's always interesting to see the parallels. Bedtime is important to us, we really enjoy putting them to bed and having that time with them as they wind down.

janie said...

I LOVE the rabbit ♥♥

A little happy place said...

Lovely post Gillian. We have always been very routine driven....it comes from being married to someone in the military and my son has always needed a routine to cope with common day to day activities. Maybe we should try a be a little more relaxed and see what happens...we may just be surprised. Sarah xo

tangled_web said...

So lovely and cosy :-) I know how hard it is to watch your little one growing up and not needing you as much any more but you'll always be essential in their lives! It's just that those ways change and evolve as they get older and it's a testament to you how happy and confident your children are :-)

(My daughter is 11 in June and she still enjoys being read to occasionally)

Claire/Just a little less said...

Lovely images. I have fond memories of cosy bedtimes when my boys were little and also of the lovely calm that descended mid evening. It will soon change, you are right, so enjoy the routine, ritual and relaxed evenings that you have now xo

Susan Smith said...

Yes, we had bedtime rituals when the kids were little too, and I can still remember them even though they are now 41,37 and 36. You've done well with the photos and I must try and learn how to take better ones, as some of mine just lately haven't been too good. Take care.

Leanne Paxton said...

Hey Gillian,

I've always loved that rabbit nightlight. At the moment Olly goes to bed at 7pm, but I've no idea when Sam does. Long after me that I do know. I hated it when the older two started reading by themselves. Holding onto it all with Olly.

Leanne xx

The Creative Academic said...

What a cosy bedtime. I love the nightlight. Our girls go up at a similar time but we're aiming for lights out at 7pm. Bedtimes are becoming a time for some 'challenging' behaviour. I think this is due to the concurrent early rising (4.30am...no it's not time to put the light on!). I doubt BigR would be able to keep her eyes open until 7.30pm at the moment! She still loves being read too although is excited to be able to learn to read all by herself (school beckons). I'm hanging on to the fact she still 'needs' that at bedtime for now and that LittleR hasn't started wanting a proper story yet... :-) x

CJ said...

You have captured that warm cosiness beautifully Gillian. My ten year old still likes to come and listen to the story I'm reading to the younger ones (eight and five), so hopefully you have a few years yet! But I know exactly what you mean, I'm hanging on to every precious second at the moment. You have reminded me that I need to put up a light-proof blind in the littlest boy's room, although he does love to sleep with the curtains open, as do I. I find that the two oldest stay up for ages in the summer, an hour to an hour and a half longer than in the winter. And they're very silly too!

Clare said...

Love the rabbit
Clare x

Anonymous said...

That all sounds lovely!

forgetmenots blue said...

Aw cosy and sleepy. My daughter has that night light cute isn't it x

Gracie Saylor said...

It seems the bunny light is a winner with all of us, Gillian. My grands don't have such a bunny, but they do have an assortment of other night lights that were a bit too brilliant for this G'ma when she "slept" in their room not long ago. However, the nighttime rituals for resting are a precious part of their day as well and I am so proud of you young parents for doing so well in loving your children. Continued blessings and sweet dreams for you all xx

Joy said...

This is such a warm and wonderful post Gillian - you captured some lovely pics to share with us - but it does pull at the heartstrings somewhat when I consider how quickly our children do grow up and now I see my grandsons going through the same process. But although 'times' and people change, love lives on in their hearts and ours and that's what it's all about at the 'end of the day'. Parenthood - what a joyful experience! Looking back over this message I feel compelled to say, no puns intended regarding clock changes etc., haha!
Wishing you happy days - and nights, Joy xo

Emily said...

Such lovely photos of one of my favorites times of the day. Quieting down and snuggling in after a busy day always feels so good. Thanks for sharing your sweet little routine. ( I love the rabbit night light.)

FunkySteph said...

Bedtime is a difficult story here... We have rituals, but I have failed all along those years to make them really happy... We have lots of homework to do when coming back from school/work and so diner is late and so is bedtime. And so every evening I push to gain a couple of minutes here, a couple of minutes there and in the end this pressure makes things unpleasant... I just seem not to be able to find the right balance there...

Jacqui Galloway said...

They look very cosy....... love the rabbit nightlight.
Jacqui xx

mags said...

Your posts so often remind me of wonderful times. My boys had bunk beds ... Quite hard to get us all in to read a story though, and reading a lovely book was such a lovely time. I miss it. Xxx

Kate-Em said...

Beautiful cosy pictures.

Anonymous said...

How sweet that your children ask to go to bed, even at that age. My little babe does that also at night. At 17 months, she knows that she is exhausted and will head in to start the bedtime routine with her Dad and then climb the stairs to bed to "warm up the bed" for Mom. I think that having a routine, even a small one, is important.

Marion Ogden said...

So lovely and cosy. Love the photos of Angus using the blow dryer. My girls love getting their hair dried this way too. They also have the same bunny night light as Angus although sadly theirs have stopped working this week. I think routine and rituals are very important. They help make them feel secure and they know what to expect and just make life easier for everyone.
Hope you're having a lovely week!
Marion x

Jacqueline said...

The night light is so cute and bedtime is such a wonderful time to cherish. My daughter liked her bedtime stories but like your daughter she was happy to read to herself as soon as she was able. I can't even begin to count how many times I read "Are you there bear?' and Thomas the Tank Engine stories to my son, who never became an avid reader himself but loved being read to.
All many moons ago now.

My Yellow Heart said...

Gorgeous bunny night light, we have the same one also. I can resonate with your feelings about Bella, it's both a joy and painful to watch daughters grow. I love brushing my daughters hair, it's an intimate small thing to share x

Christina said...

You have a lovely bed time routine with your children, Gillian. Unfortunately, my oldest two have somehow already slipped away and do their own things. I consider myself lucky if Sam comes to say good night (he is 13). The little ones share a room and we let them chat for a while after bedtime. The quiet chat often develops into mayhem, with a lot of noise, the odd painted wall and always a collection of toys the beds, so much so that the boys are sleeping on the floor.... I know, some work to do. I love the cosy and personal photos you are sharing with us today. Thank you. Cx

Anonymous said...

Love the rabbit...who makes them , and where can we buy one. A lovely post. I read it just before going to bed myself. Lisa

Tammy Chrzan said...

These have to be, by far, the cutest photos I have ever seen!
Especially that night light one at the start, it's so precious! And the ones of your little girl all tucked in... beautiful... I love these moments... They are the best part of being a mom, these little moments! Also... love those pajamas with the soldiers in their proper red gear :)
Much love to you and I hope you're having a great week, it's always so peaceful and comforting to visit your blog. Lets meet up the next time in the UK.
Tammy xx

mylittlecorner said...

Sounds like a great bedtime routine. The bedrooms do look so cozy and warm ( and very tidy ! ) I wish my children were as good as keeping their rooms tidy. I especially LOVE the night light... where did you get it ? My children all have some form of night light and I think this one is especially lovely. Thanks for sharing such a precious time .. xx

Ladybird Diaries said...

Such sweet pictures Gillian. Love the wee rabbit night light too.
Marianne x

Anonymous said...

Hi Gillian. I love your blog.I find it quite inspirational. It's real and delightful. Tracey.x



Jane said...

Such lovely pictures Gillian and I love the little night light bunny. Have a lovely weekend.
Jane x

Lisa said...

Such precious moments from family life. It's these times which we need to preserve on camera so we can look back and remember when they were so wee and we can rejoice in these happy secure times which help make them into bigger people they become.
Lisa x

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Like you I really struggle with this kind of photography ... I prefer to shoot in daylight but it's nice to be able to cope with any situation ... and you've handled the low light beautifully here. Did you manually set your white balance?

I was showing my husband your photographs because I was lamenting my low light photo skills and he asked why you're drying Angus's hair with a hoover attachment !

Andrea said...

cardboard.....to make the windows dark. We wedge a piece in every night behind the curtain, and down it comes again each morning. It's not flash, it's a bit...ghetto...but it works.

The light is beautiful. The warm glow is just lovely.

the linen cloud said...

You've captured the cosiness perfectly Gillian ... I know that feeling ... mine are growing up so quickly too and whilst I am delighted to see them forging ahead and becoming more independent I really want to spend some time recording my memories of them as they grow ... Bee xx

Gillian said...

Hi Lisa. Thank you! The night light is from dotcomgiftshop, the link is here:

http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/night-light-white-rabbit

Gillian x

Gillian said...

Thank you Annie. :-) I used manual, and kept the ISO on 1600 and then played around with the buttons until I got the sort of light level I was after. I have no idea how to set the white balance. I really should go on a photography course or something, or at the very least read the manual properly...

Please reassure your husband that it is in fact a hairdryer (although a very old one!) and not a hoover. Angus loves to blow-dry his hair and we let him as he looks so comical when it's all sticking up all over the place afterwards. Terrible parents! x

Joy @ Joyfully Green said...

Hi Gillian! I adored this post (the photographs are thoroughly charming!), so I included it in my round-up of Joyful Reads for the Weekend. The link is here: http://www.joyfullygreen.com/2014/03/joyful-reads-for-the-weekend-vol-19-the-connections-that-define-us.html. I like the design changes you've made at your blog. As always, lovely.
Best,
Joy

ashley said...

These photos are divine (that space is so dreamy) We have that little bunny, replacing batteries often as she is illuminated often through the night. Happy weekend to you and yours. x ashley

Gillian said...

Hi - so sorry it took me so long to reply! I thought I had, but hadn't clearly! The night light is from here:

http://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/night-light-white-rabbit

Gillian x


my little red suitcase said...

oh you have just made me sleepy, i just need a white glowing rabbit now, so sweet, Heather x

Aaron Metcalfe said...

These are adorable pictures. I've recently bought a sconce light and a night light from abbeygatelighting.co.uk that were designed for kids bedrooms for my little girl as she is a little afraid of the dark. I also used to be a little scared of the dark and these lights used to comfort me when I was in bed. I loved seeing them lit up and I always looked at them as I drifted off to sleep. These pictures have reminded me of my childhood days. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful blog with us. I love it.