When Maddie was about two or three my brother babysat for us one night. Before we left we explained to him that Maddie has a ritual of things she says to us before bed. Then we have specific things we answer and she goes on to her next question. Off the top of my head, I listed these out. I think I told him that bedtime would go much easier if he just went through the motions. When we got home he said it was amazing because Maddie had actually said, almost word-for-word, what I had told him and he was so glad he had the right answers.
Over the years, she hasn't kept up the same conversation, but she still has her rituals. One of them is to have some type of last-minute conversation with us right before we head downstairs. It never fails. She's in bed, we've tucked her in and said our goodnights and just as we head downstairs she says, "Mom?" or "Dad, I forgot to tell you..." Usually these are small stories from something that happened that day or a quick question that could have waited until morning. In fact, there are times when it's a really late night and we've said, "Maddie - couldn't this whole conversation have waited until morning?" We love her to pieces, but there are definitely times where when we put the kids to bed, we just want to be done parenting for the day and one more question is impossible to handle.
The other night as Mike was leaving, Maddie had a five-minute story to tell him. I waited at the top of the stairs for him. As we walked downstairs he said, "She's just like you. As soon as her head hits the pillow it's time to start up a conversation." He's totally right. Someday her husband will thank me, I'm sure.