I started out motherhood with romantic notions of a quiet bedtime ritual--singing a beloved lullaby to my drowsy infants, and continuing on night after night until they were, oh, quite old.
So I borrowed some lullaby books from the library and memorized my favorites. As soon as D1 was old enough that bedtime could be distinguished from naptime, I began singing them to her, at the end of which time DOB would come in and pray and tuck her into bed. I obtained a rocking chair especially to complement this activity.
D1 wasn't many months old, though, before I noticed she began to be restless and downright antsy during this ritual. I'm not sure why. She likes sitting in my lap any other time. She likes singing with me any other time. Maybe it was the anticipation of DOB's imminent arrival, comparable in soothing effect to the circus coming to town. Anyway, we persevered for quite some time.
When we moved in here, the furniture situation was in flux for awhile, and the rocking chair wasn't always available. Plus as D2 grew old enough to have a bedtime, he was often included. So I stopped holding D1. At first, she would sit and hold her baby, or otherwise show some interest in the proceedings. Later, she got more interested in one last rummage through the toy chest.
Last week, I realized we had reached the end. On two successive evenings, she dug through the toy chest and pulled out the maracas, shaking them vigorously through the whole song.
I suppose instead of abandoning the singing, we could switch the song to, say, "When the Saints Go Marching In" and have an evening marching band. But it doesn't have quite the same ambience.