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Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Bedtime Battle.

Bedtime kicked my tail tonight. And not in the "I'm so exhausted, I just want to fall into bed way."

T and M have had their share of nights. M especially has worked her charm and bedtime magic more than once and I fully admit we've at times let bad habits creep in.

I'm not even going to talk about the fact that we spent nearly a year letting M come upstairs in the middle of the night and sleep next to our bed. On the floor.

The going down part has it's moments.

E is the easy one for now. Lay her down and to sleep she typically goes.

I used to brag that H was easy and scoff at friends who told of issues.

But lately we've been too lax and created a bedtime monster that pulls out all the stops.

As a baby, he'd nurse or have a bottle, burp, lay down and go to sleep.

Easy as pie.

And then in his babyhood transition to toddlerhood the routine switched to a book, a song and prayer.

And sleep he'd do.

Once he moved to his toddler bed there were a few shaky nights but the ease continued. And then his bunk beds and still he remained.

But somehow, someway we've gotten too lax.

There are requests for drinks.

Trips to the bathroom.

Trips out just to see what everyone else is doing.

We'll hear a crash. A bang. A yell.

Sometimes we'll go in and see what's going on but sometimes I can't even go there.

I know my limits.

Sometimes I admit more often than not we've allowed him to win and if he's not tired enough allowed him to watch a DVR'ed episode of Curious George or SuperWhy. Knowing full well tv before bed isn't a good idea but needing the time and for convenience sake having that 20 minutes to put E down or transition T and M, who are busy thinking of miscellaneous bedtime injuries to need icing and medications. Or better yet burning questions.

Yeah, I'm not sure why I didn't tell you earlier, but my arm feels like it's broken and my throat is throbbing when I swallow. It's been like that for two days now. They'll say. And I only wish I were kidding.

What happens when we die? They'll ask hoping one, or both of us go into a long winded explanation. They're really grasping and hoping for something when they pull this old favorite out; why did my mom and dad get divorced? Or better yet, will we ever all live in one big house? My mom, my dad and so on.

With H mostly NOT napping anymore, many nights, especially his nights after an afternoon at school, he falls into bed about 6:05pm and doesn't wake 'til morning.

Honestly, I love those nights. Is it bad that I admit that?

But some nights, like tonight, he catnapped in the car and was wired.

He had his bath. His book, his prayer, his song.

And then he needed a drink.

He needed to go to the bathroom.

Pretty soon an entire bookshelf of books was heard crashing to the floor.

Just about the time M was walking upstairs to tell us for the 7th time that the dishwasher was running and kind of bugging her. She's also hearing someone coughing, could it be, a ghost?

I wanted to scream.

J may argue I did scream.

We've created a mess. Even if it's not every day. Even if it's only one day or three days or whatever that week may be.

Unless H is exhausted from no-nap and an afternoon of school and falls into bed just barely hearing half of his bedtime book we've allowed him to push the envelope. Something I've scoffed at, loudly declared that I'd never do. Yep, I did and it isn't looking pretty.

We've allowed T and M to give us laundry lists of ailments that need attending to and even when we've vowed to combat this have slacked once again.

It's time to kick it into high gear.

Bedtime is bedtime.

Our evenings are short and sacred and we can't be taking them up with the constant bedtime struggles on the nights H isn't quite tired enough yet and the nights T and M are pushing the buttons between health ailments and inquiring minds would like to know.

So this is my public admission that this household doesn't have the bedtime act mastered these days. And I'm taking responsibility for the habits we've allowed to creep in out on convenience.

Do you have any suggestions or advice to get all four kids in bed and keep them there?

Here's to sticking to the rules and better bedtimes tomorrow.

(By the way, in the time it took to write this, M has been upstairs 3 additional times and E made a surprise guest awakening. T managed to trash his bedroom while 'reading' and H rolled into the wall twice causing M to run upstairs thinking our house was being invaded.)


Anonymous Unplanned Cooking said...

I haven't slept through the night in five years, so I will be watching your comments section with interest!

December 7, 2009 at 4:19 AM  
Blogger Coma Girl said...

I would love to offer you advice, but my own three-year old pulls the same stuff at bedtime. And I've never been lax, so it's not you. It's the age (ages 3 to like 12, 13!)

The other night I yelled and my daughter said "but I just want to give you one more hug". My heart sank (but really, it was like the 5th hug!)

December 7, 2009 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger LutherLiz said...

As someone who is currently blinded by an easy sleeper I have no help. But when I reach reality I'll return for help!

December 7, 2009 at 11:20 AM  
Blogger The Fritz Facts said...

Oh man this is the worst. We have some sleep issues, but ours are so different.

Boo and Hunter went through a spurt like this, and we did a couple things. Don't know if they will work for you, but here you go.

Do your bedtime routine like normal but let the kids know that each time they get up is 5 (or 10 for older kids) minutes earlier they have to go to bed the next night. The first night we did this, Hunter went to bed at 6 lie. He was quick to realize that I was not fooling around.

Boo it worked out that she just needed some reassurances that we were still there, and just needed to be put back into bed a couple times. We never talked, just picked her up and put her back into bed. No kisses, no hugs nothing just bed. It worked pretty well for us.

Good luck!

December 7, 2009 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger charish said...

We all have issues with bed time. Brit still likes to get up and wander the house when she thinks everyone is asleep. We have found that it helps us to cover all the things kids get out of bed to do. (going to bathroom, getting drink, ect... and having consequences if they get out of bed unless it is a true emergancy. )I think that it also helps that we all go to bed at the same time, on most nights.
I wish you lots of luck.

December 7, 2009 at 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

N still does not like to go to bed and he is 15yrs old.Hate to tell you but i dont think you will have really good nights til everyone moves out. Love to all janet

December 7, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger darcie said...

I had the EASIEST babies in the WORLD...til they hit about 2 years of, at just turned 4 and almost 3...bedtime is a NIGHTMARE for us most nights.
We too are lax, and I tell myself that because I'm at work 4 days a week, I don't get as much time with them as I'd like and that's why I don't make them stay in their beds when they 'aren't tired' or 'need to tell you something'

I can't let them stay up at the expense of me and the hubs NEVER being able to hold an entire conversation - some nights it's 10-10:30 before both kids are sleeping.
I'm not gonna lie - it sucks.
When we do finally get them to sleep in their beds - inevitably one or both makes their way downstairs to our room during the night -
our pediatrician recommends letting them - just so long as they sleep on our floor and not in our bed - so...we do it...and we just keep reminding ourselves that we don't know anyone with a teenager that tries to crawl in with them during the night or that is sleeping on their parents floor - at least not anyone that will admit it!
Hang in there Mama -

December 7, 2009 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Broken 4 Love said...

*Decides to stop taking for granted the fact that the only person I currently have to put to bed is myself*

(Except for those wonderful occasions when I get to tuck yours in - and then it's a treat!)

By the way - I loved the video of H... or, Batman, on top - but I couldn't comment for some reason. :)

December 8, 2009 at 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Holly said...

I would love to know, too!! I also secretly like it when Madi does not nap so she goes to bed early and usually quickly!! Em is waking up at night again, when she had been sleeping through the night since she was three months old! So I'm at a loss as well...

December 9, 2009 at 10:14 PM  

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