Every kid needs a nighttime ritual, something that helps them know when it is time for bed. Dave still scoffs, but we give Kate a bath every night after dinner. He swears that no baby needs a bath everyday . . . and that he won't be a part of the ritual if I insist on continuing the tradition with our next child. I'm still trying to help him understand that the point is the routine - not the cleanliness, although since Kate is eating more solid foods, cleanliness is becoming part of the point.
To be honest, I love it. Once Kate has had her bath, she knows it's jammies, bottle, song, and prayer, and then time for bed. Plus, she loves the bath - so even if she's been cranky, the bath makes her happy before we put her down for the night.
I will admit that some nights it is a pain. Some nights when I'm tired, I've been splattered in peas (green is just not my color), and I can't even remember if I had a chance to brush my teeth that day, I feel more like stepping on the rubber duckie than gently squeezing him to squirt water at Kate. But to me, the pros outweigh the cons. Maybe I'll feel differently when I have two children to put to bed? Not sure yet. Obviously. I mean, I don't have two children. Maybe I should borrow a second child for a few days to test things out . . . :)
Here's one other thing that I do with Kate sometimes before I put her down for a nap. We listen to this song, it's called "Slumber My Darling" by Stephen Foster and it is so SWEET! I love the words and it calming and soothing. Sometimes I even sing it to Kate myself (although I'm not sure it's relaxing to Kate to hear my voice . . .).
Any thoughts on the bedtime ritual? What works for you? What seems to help? Bath . . . or no bath?