I wrote this post about 7 weeks ago and never posted it.
Our bedtime routine is probably not unlike most families with two little kids. It’s tough. It’s lengthy. It’s noisy. It’s frustrating. These little people should be exhausted by the time the day is finally over, you know you are, but they’re not. Not even close. They run from one room to the other trying to escape, refuse to open their tiny little sugar ridden mouths for brushing, decide tonight is the night to go commando, and refuse to wear anything but fleece pajamas in the middle of the summer. Book choices tend to be whatever is long, and the story I hate the most.
I’ve been making note of our bedtime routine for a while, hiding it from the outside world because I am the mom that lays with my son. It didn’t start out intentionally, but I was just pregnant and basically up for a nap at any moment of the day. It was easier, and frankly I couldn’t muster the energy to climb off the bed and make the parental “you’re going to bed alone” stand. My son was great about going to bed. We read books, we turned off the lights, a little back rub, and goodnight. See ya tomorrow. Mommy’s alone time begins. My husband and I switched off nights putting the easy kid to bed because the nights where we didn’t have to read books to the baby was like bliss.
Out of the blue one day our oldest decided he only wanted daddy to read. We decided after arguing about “it’s mommy’s night, it’s daddys’ night” we’d just let him choose. Well, after about a week of daddy reading he wanted mommy. 9 months later he wants mommy to read every night. Why? Because I lay with him, I get him water, I let him choose an extra book, I rub his back, arms, legs, feet, tummy, and hair. I’m guilty through and through. It’s the only time of day that he snuggles with me, that he stays still for more than 5 minutes, and obviously I love that. I’ve read blog posts about laying with your kids and enjoying that time with them etc. and I totally felt validated, but the biggest difference is that many of these moms that say they lay with their kids because it’s their chatting time, they’re only young once, etc. aren’t caught in a trap of having to lay with their kids. They choose to lay there for a bit, but aren’t stuck laying there until they fall asleep because it’s easier than sending them back to bed 10 times and yelling at them until 10 pm when whey should have been asleep by 8.
I’m stuck there. If I can manage to stay awake through all of the tossing and turning until he falls asleep my alone time can begin between 8:30 and 9, but if I fall asleep I’m down for the count until at least 10. Last night I woke up in his bed at 10:30. What? This has to stop!
I Ferberized this kid hard when he was 4 months old and I thought my work was done. Ha ha moms and dads who decide on some other method. You’re missing out big time! My kid sleeps from 7 pm to 9 am. It’s still light out when my kid goes to bed and in the morning I can drink an entire pot of hot coffee before I have responsibilities again. Well, I got mine! Ferber’s got nothing to say now. Apparently he thinks he’s so great that he doesn’t need to write another book on what to do when your kid is 4 and refuses to stay in his bed.
In all seriousness though, if you’ve got a baby that won’t sleep, this book will change your life!
So, one night I realized I’ve got a baby coming in 4 weeks and I did what any mother would do and got my information from Facebook and proceeded to order…another book. Yup, because I still think that there must be magic in one of these damn bed time books that will make my son forget about the noises outside, the shadows in his room, the zombies under his bed, or any other multitude of random impossible things his little imagination can think of. Something so magical that he will actually be tired and feel comfortable falling asleep without me. Maybe I’ll be the next parent to comment on Amazon with 5 stars. I’m crossing my fingers that this little book holds the key to mine and my husband’s sanity!
Additionally though, we’re cracking down hard core on all of this crap. You want water? You get it before you get in bed because there’s no water trips anymore. You want Mommy to read tonight? Sorry, it’s daddy’s night. You want 5 books? Sorry only 2 and your brother is reading with you. You want to sleep with all of the lights on? Sorry! Haven’t they taught you anything about Melatonin in daycare yet?
We need our life back, like now!
I was able to score the magical book of the century and had the opportunity to read it to my oldest at nap time. Let me tell you, it was shocking! I decided I would try it over nap time on a day when we actually had afternoon plans where he HAD to take a nap first or we weren’t going. I figured that since he needed to be out by 1:00 in order for this whole day to go my way, this book would do it 100%.
First of all, lets just get it out there that if I ever want anything to go my way and there’s some kind of plan and other people involved, and always when things are pre-paid for it will NEVER, I repeat NEVER go as planned. This day was not unlike any other day with a plan.
I showed him the book while he was eating lunch. He seemed excited. There are two really cute tired little bunnies on the front cover. I was already pumped because usually it takes a little bit to convince him to try out a new book. I read the directions, and the warning. Warning? Yup, right after the title of the book there’s a warning about not reading it near anyone who is driving. Woah! Ok. So, we get up to his room, get comfy, and he starts throwing a fit, like straight up yelling at me, shaking his finger, pointing at me.
“You are not reading that book to me.” “I don’t want to listen to this book.” He turned his back to me, crossed his arms and sat at the end of the bed. Sometimes he’d come and check out a picture before he’d toss himself around on the bed, kicking the mattress, kicking me, yelling at me. To be clear, this is out of character for him completely! I mean, sometimes he doesn’t want to take a nap but he always snuggles for books. Always.
It’s like he knew he was being psychologically manipulated. He totally saw right through the whole thing. He was making these really weird faces. It was truly the strangest reaction I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, the nap never happened. Our afternoon plans never happened and we ended up taking a drive for 30 minutes just so he’d fall asleep and stop yelling at me and his little brother.
This book did not work for him. I thought maybe it would be interesting to see what happened if I tried reading it to my little guy. Being 2 he’s pretty good about bed time, but sitting for stories is difficult for him. Maybe if I can get him to sit he’d relax and not lay awake so long in bed at night. So, I showed him the book. I said, look at this cute book. You want mommy to read it to you? He took one look at the front cover, grabbed it from my hand, pulled a Nolan Ryan on me and chucked the thing across the room. Seriously! Then he screamed at the top of his lungs, like I’ve absolutely never heard before “NO!”
And there you have it. Do my kids have super human powers? Are their brains different than the other kids whose parents are raving about this book? Probably not. But for now, this book is shelved.
Anyone want to borrow it?
You want a good book for your kids? Journey is great! It may not hypnotize them into a sleepy state, but it grabbed my son’s attention immediately and he absolutely loves it.
(Photo by Iana Dmytrenko on Unsplash)