Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Production, starring...

What is bedtime like in your world? Specifically that of the younguns.

I always pictured bedtime to be full of warm fuzzy cuddles, snuggles, stories, giggles, kisses, sweet nothings, the final good night, the flick of the night light and be done with it. Right?

What? What do you mean WRONG? Huh? I had my mead up my what? Oh. I see.

Bedtime here isn't a simple task of jammies, teeth, hands & face, story, kiss & bed.

It is a P-R-O-D-U-C-T-I-O-N.

And I don't get it.

It doesn't matter what time you start the 'routine' it just always seems to take way too long than it should. It's a friggin' circus!

Asking for jammies to be put on anywhere from 2-631 times. One thing that occasionally works is the now famed "Jammie Race" to see who can put their jammies on the fastest. I am on a winning streak.

Then the bathroom duties, whoever hasn't number two-ed during the day is asked to try. If you ask T, it's a done deal. If you ask B, it it like you just asked him to pull out his toe nails one at a time. You'd think with all the screaming and protesting that is in fact what is actually happening. I am surprised the neighbours have yet to call public security on us based on all the noise.

Then we ask each of them to pick one book they'd like us to read to them. This can take till the following Thursday. Then you read the book(s) that were finally chosen, you know, "The End. What a great story. Please get into your beds now." Only to be followed by some severe protesting and whining, and often tears, "But that wasn't the book I really wanted."


Then into their beds they go.

I would now like to pause for a brief prayer:

Thank you God, for providing me with at least one child who falls asleep, without protest, every night, within moments of his head hitting the pillow. This makes my life a happy place. Amen.

But the 'other guy' is another story. It can take up to TWO hours (not a typo) for him to actually fall asleep. The latest? He picks his nails, fingers and toes. WTF?

"Why aren't you going to sleep?"

"Mommy! I can't stop picking my nails!"

"Well, honey, you have control over that. You can make yourself stop whenever you want. You are in control." (I think I am brilliant, giving him complete control!)

Final solution: we are now wrapping his hands with the two flannel blankets he has slept with since he was a newborn. It's like he is a newborn and you are trying to prevent him from scratching himself, but only now, my five year old has cuticle issues.

DH is away for practically the entire month. Prior to his departure for this most recent series of travels, the bedtime wasn't going smoothly for either of us parents. Now in his absence I am committed to making it better. I am bribing him (ssssshhhhhhhhh!) The stickers are on the calendar, we have 2, he earned another one tonight. If he gets to 5, we're off to Dollorama for a reward, and then I'll start it all over again. Barbarba Coloroso would not agree, but I am beside myself.

You'd think as an adult, a parent, something as simple as a kid not going to sleep would be easy-peasy to handle. Perhaps my coping mechanisms are on strike, cause by 9 PM, on a school night, I am beyond simple frustration with the kid, I am pissed off. Should I apologize for being so selfish and wanting my five year old asleep by 9 PM so I could watch Grey's Anatomy in real time and not on an hour tape delay thanx to the PVR? Sheesh. I don't think I am being all that unreasonable, really.

The Quest for a Simple Bedtime remains an unsolved mystery in my world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha, I have half a blog post written about this very subject!

What drives me to distraction is the nagging... I have to tell them SO. MANY. TIMES. to just get on with putting on their jammies, brushing their teeth, etc. Ugh! Takes at least 20 minutes every night. And, like you, the agony of each choosing a book... it's painful, and I have a very hard time, by that time of night, not snapping at them to just hurry up and pick a goddam BOOK already. (breathe, breathe)

Before I got that far in your post, I was going to suggest the sticker routine. Why is that bad parenting? Bad parenting is locking them in the bathroom to sleep in the tub, which I have never, not once considered (okay, actually done.) Rewarding good behaviour with a small treat works for us on so many things, and even the teacher encouraged us to do it last year for Tristan.

I was just saying to Beloved that we're lucky to be in a stretch now where they do settle in (touch wood) fairly easily, but two months ago was quite different. Hoping this phase lasts through the arrival of baby brother next year! I feel for you, doing it all by yourself every night. That's a lot of stress at the end of an already long day.

9:13 AM EDT  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Yeah, bedtime is all about the nagging here -- and it drives me crazy. I mean, it's not like any of this is new, right? It's the same thing every night. I guess the fact that I don't assign any repercussions to the behavior that prompts the nagging doesn't help.

Hang in there! If it's any consolation, you're not alone.

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marisa said...

Sleep? What's that?

Watching tv in real time? We can only dream, can't we?

Hang in there...you are so not alone.

11:58 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That pretty well describes our routine. Nag, nag, nag, jammies, toilet, hand washing (takes twice as long as the toilet), teeth, hair brushing (oh, the screaming!), book (sometimes taken away as attempted incentive to move faster, but a) doesn't work and b) I like to foster reading), lights out and songs. As you say, if extra time is given, things just take longer, even though they can't tell time.

Thankfully, one falls asleep very quickly. The other, it depends on when he napped. If early, then falls asleep bf. If late, we have 1-2 hours of crying before he caves.

Does your non-sleeper lie quietly? My friend's dd will lie quietly for an hour before sleeping - my friend just finally accepted it and lets her be. I remember from pre-teen years through adulthood, I had an awful time falling asleep. Until I had kids and had to learn out of desperation or never get a nap (or maybe it's just total exhaustion that wipes me out each night!).

Anyway, it's nice to know we're not alone in the evening routine!

2:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Silver Creek Mom said...

OH Baby! Hun we are going to have lots to chat about in 9 days! I'll bring a BIG bottle of something to help us through.

I've gotten to the point where I PICK THE GODDAMN Story. And I will NOT read if the pj's take's more than 5 jumps on the bed and 6 kicks. I also walk out of the room which is a BIG NO NO in Nathan's books. Then after lights out its the insesant talking. Mommy I have one thing to tell you. And I could go on and on...but I won't he's screaming at me now for not lettinghim have a muffin an hour before supper.

9 days can't go fast enough some nights.

4:30 PM EDT  
Blogger BeachMama said...

We don't have the easiest time here getting into the bed, but one his head hits the pillow he is pretty much down for the count. Have you considered starting the bedtime an hour earlier? At least for the one whe can't fall asleep, maybe that would help him get to bed earlier if he sees he is missing out on some fun. And you would get another hour to yourself.

9:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a difficult stage. I think there are a couple of different problems. First, the bedtime routine.

Can you try talking about the routine at a different time of day, going through the expectations and getting everyone to agree? Maybe a picture-chart on the wall would help: pyjamas, teeth, toilet, picturebook, kiss, lights out.
You could negotiate a deal for a positive reward, like if they do all the first 3 jobs on the chart before the stove timer goes off, then you will have time to read 2 stories instead of one. And you could discuss the time when this (usually) needs to start, so that it's not YOU telling them, it's the clock on the wall that says 7:30 is pyjama time. (Sometimes there will be exceptions to the start time, of course.) And I would say that if they don't pick out their story within 2 minutes, then you get to pick. Heck, they could choose the story any time, even before supper.

The second problem is the son who has trouble falling asleep. We've had that challenge with one daughter for several years. Today a blog post at "Ask Moxie" has some interesting suggestions for that in the comments, talking about night waking with twins. Maybe giving permission to "read" in bed with a flashlight, or listen to soft music or a book on tape, or iPod, would help that child to settle quietly, while not keeping the brother awake? I hope that if he has something comforting to do, it will distract him from the nail-picking habit and any anxiety that might be a factor. Our daughter has recently been hair-pulling in bed at night. She was able to stop, but still has trouble falling asleep. I'm going to try the book or listen to music thing for her. As long as she is in bed, and happy, I hope she will fall asleep a bit sooner.

Hope things will improve at your house soon! Hang in there,

12:45 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO......you are NOT selfish - I teach preschool all day and HAVE to be patient with those children.....so by 8:30pm (and mine are 9,8 and 5) I am NOT in the mood to still be dealing with them...and that is 8:30 - it is getting better =)
Hang in there.......it will.....should......BETTER get better =(

1:12 AM EDT  
Blogger CL said...

My toddler makes it a production too. And not just during the night routine. At naptime too.

So I have to make little threats all all the time:

If you don't
-get in the tub
-brush your teeth
-put on your PJs
yada yada yada
right now...

mommy will
-put your (favorite toy of the moment) on the shelf
-put your (favorite book) in the closet
-unplug the tv
-give (some toy) back to X or Y
yada yada yada

I HATE doing it.
But it works.
Most of the time.


12:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Loukia said...

Currently sleep time is a battle in our household with our 2 year old son. We try everything we can to get him to bed at a reasonable time, but usually it is not until 10 or 11 p.m. He wakes up at 8 a.m usually and still naps for 2 hours a day... he just will not go to bed before 10 or 11. It's quite disasterous... I am so exhausted most nights... especially now at 8 months pregnant...

3:58 PM EDT  

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