Josh and I could be considered by some strict parents. We have some house rules and we try and stay consistent with them so the kids know what to expect. But even with saying that, one of the greatest joys in parenting for me is surprising my kids with the unexpected.
Like treating a little girl who can't sleep to some popcorn and a chance to watch the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with daddy. This picture was taken months ago but is still special to me. Abigail is mostly our night waker. If this girl gets a nap at all she struggles to sleep at night no matter how much activity is involved. Most nights she has to rest in bed until she sleeps but there are times when the unexpected is so fun. A movie, a book, or storytelling time, just us and our girl all snuggly in her pj's. What a great joy of parenting it is.
Well, it was really fun the other night when Ethan got to have his first "unexpected evening surprise." Our little man had had a longer then normal nap and was struggling to sleep. He was just sad having to stay in bed that after a little bit Josh carried him down and he got to enjoy a banana and a book about big machines with daddy.
Yes, schedules are good, rules are needed, structure is established but these are the memories I hold dear. The thing is, the kids always go to sleep better and happier after these encounters then any other method we have found! Good memories for us and for them.