Marriage & Raising Girls
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Of bedtime stories, lullabies, and puberty

It’s interesting that we, parents, tend to wish for our children to do more, think or act more (mature) than what’s expected of them at their age. Yet, when our wish comes true, we fear that our children are growing up so fast and then we start wishing that they were little kids again, who would like nothing but to stay near us, do things with us, even please us! And this is exactly how I feel right now.

It’s been weeks since I last co-slept with both of my girls. I have started to acknowledge that my eldest, who will turn 13 next Sunday, is growing up and now prefers to sleep in her own bed. Indeed, she is starting to demand some privacy and independence from us. Her younger sister, who shares the bedroom with her, is also aware of that and would usually get out of their bedroom when her sister is there.

I miss the time when my girls were much younger, when they would both snuggle close to me, demanding a bedtime story to be read to them before they sleep at night. I must admit that some days, particularly when I was still so engrossed in my (dream) home-based jobs, reading to them had started to feel like a chore. I tend to wish that they would grow up soon and be able to just read by themselves and stop asking me to do it for them. Yet, when that day finally came, i.e., when my eldest child started reading bedtime stories to her younger sister just so the latter would fall asleep while leaving me at peace to finish deadlines, I regretted ever wishing for it.

Thankfully, I was given another chance to read bedtime stories to my daughters again, even if they have already started reading novels, such as Thea Stilton, Nancy Drew, and Harry Potter by themselves. Believe it or not, I have even started to record myself on QuickPlay as I read some of their favorite stories. I was hoping to launch a podcast that is dedicated to them, so that when I am unable to read them a story for one reason or another, they would still get their (daily dose of) bedtime story. And, yes, maybe use them to read to my would-be grandchildren 20 years or so from now, too.

My youngest child is already 10 years old, and I still continue to read stories to her before bedtime, and sometimes even during the day.  I have come to realize that she asks me to read not because she doesn’t want to read, but because it simply makes her feel good, somehow helps her both sleep better at night and wake up in a good mood the following morning. Moreover, doing so helps strengthen our mother-daughter relationship, I believe.

On the other hand, now that my eldest is going to be a teenager soon, my opportunity to read to her before bedtime has diminished, it seems. She prefers to stay in their bedroom most of the time and do things by herself now, such as reading thick novels and painting. She also requests to study by herself on most days of the week.

There were times when I worry about the changes I see in my soon-to-be-teen. I fear that although we are always together, especially that we are homeschooling, I am losing her as she tries to exercise her independence. I guess I’m just not used to it (yet), and I’m blaming it on puberty. After all, she was really the clingy one when they were much younger and I had often wished that she would start being independent and learn to do things by herself, especially being the eldest. But now that my wish has been granted, I must admit that I do have mixed feelings about it.

Well, it’s past bedtime now, and although neither of my girls has asked for a bedtime story this evening, one of them requested me to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to help her fall asleep. Who would have thought that I could make any child sleep with my singing voice, eh? Anyway, good night for now–or should I say good morning?

(Featured image by Alice Hampson via


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