Although Little Abbey had been better about it the further she got past the age of three, she still had her share of meltdowns when it was time to go to bed and she wasn't ready to go to bed. If it wasn't a crying match, it would be ten additional trips to help her go to the bathroom for the third time, get her a drink of water, help her find a favorite stuffed animal that she can't and won't sleep without, pickup up a dropped pillow, etc. She was getting to the point where she could drag out going to bed for nearly an hour. I was more than tired of this phase.
Then one evening, we went through our normal routine of reading a book, saying our prayers with a kiss and a hug and I told her that she could quietly play in her room until she got tired as long as she shut her own light out. She eagerly hopped onto the floor and began to quietly play. Not five minutes later, the light went out and she fell asleep without complaints. From that day on for the last three months or so, this has been our new bedtime routine. Perhaps the longest she has stayed up has been fifteen minutes but the large majority of nights it has been less than five. She initially tried pushing the new rules by asking me to go with her to the bathroom but I gently told her that she is big enough she can go by herself and she does, without complaints. I have re-obtained my hour or two of ME-TIME, a most important chunk of time in the life of a parent, back again for use in finishing up some household chores or reading.
One morning while going downstairs to head towards daycare, Little Abbey walked down the seven stairs chanting, "cuatro, cinco, cuatro, cinco, cuatro, cinco, seis!" Although I do know Spanish, or more correctly, once knew Spanish, I certainly haven't taught her how to count in the language. I'm pretty sure the pre-school didn't teach her nor the daycare so that only leaves one logical culprit, Dora the Explorer. I'm still not sure how she learned how to use her mother's iPod Touch better than I do, her tech savvy dad.