I’ve always find it quite amusing when I hear people talk about the sleeping routines they establish with their babies. Not because these in themselves are funny, but because the fact is I NEVER had any luck instigating a solid routine with either of my kids. My babies were firmly in control of the when and how much in the sleeping department and I was totally at their mercy. I learned soon enough that that was just how it was going to be and I better get used to it. I guess, given this, it should have come as no surprise when the toddler bedtime battles began.
If someone asks me when my kids go to bed, I say with outward confidence “7.30”. Now I think it’s time to give you an idea of just what this 7.30pm bedtime actually looks like.
Me: Time to do teeth and hair girls.
Girls: I’m not going first!/Ouch that hurts, stop pulling/THAT’S ENOUGH!………
Me: Go and pick two books each…. NOT LONG ONES.
Girls: How about three?
Me: No, two.
Girls: How about one long one and one short one?
Me: No I’m not reading four Dr Seuss books, go and pick two others.
Me: Oh God, do we really have to read the Jolly Postman again? Okay… fine, let’s go.
Reading on Miss Four bed, Miss Two throwing herself backwards off the bed every two minutes, screaming “Stop Talking!” Miss Four asks forty questions per page, often the same questions every page and often relating to what is about to happen in the story which if she SHUT UP AND LISTENED she would find out without having to ask questions. I read somewhere that reading twenty minutes a night is really important and so is letting your kids ask questions during the books, but oh my lord does this do my head in.
8.00pm (later if the story time has been particularly arduous)
Me: Okay that’s it. Time to sleep.
Girls: Can we have two lullabys?
Girls: NOOOOOOO TWO!
Me: Okay fine, two lullabys, then it’s sleeping time, promise?
Me : Sing two lullabys (Puff the Magic Dragon and Morningtown Ride, again with Miss Two throwing herself off the bed every two minutes).
Me: Okay now it’s sleeping time. Lights out, stay in bed.
Girls: NOOOOOO we need a snuggle.
Me: I just gave you a snuggle while we were reading and while we were singing the lullabys. I’m going. Good night!
Lights get turned off
Miss Four: I NEED THE TOILET
Me: Fine, be quick.
Me: What are you doing in there?
Miss Four: Nothing (always a worrying answer)
Me: Well, hurry up
Miss Four: Give me some privacy (if only I could get the same!)
Me: Okay times up, get back to bed.
Miss Four: (coming out of the toilet finally) I need a kiss and cuddle.
Me: Fine, then straight back to bed.
Miss Two: I bumped my head! I bumped my head!
Me: Well if you stayed in bed you wouldn’t be able to bump your head, now go back to bed
Miss Four: We need a drink!
Miss Four: We CAN’T sleep unless we get a drink. We’re thirsty
Miss Two: THIRSTY!!!!!
Me: Fine, one drink, but I’m not leaving the water bottle there (we learnt that the hard way, Miss Two tips it all over her bed thus forcing the lights back on and a bed that needs changing. Miss Four drinks the whole thing right before finally falling asleep then wets the bed at 3am). Now you’ve had a drink, a snuggle, a lullaby, it’s time to SLEEP.
Miss Four: I need the toilet again.
Me: No, you just went.
Miss Four: But I REALLY need the toilet, I just had a big drink.
Me: FINE, you’ve got two minutes.
Me: Miss Four, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE? HURRY UP!
Miss Four: I’m coming, I’m coming
Miss Four : I need another kiss ad cuddle
Me: NO. GET BACK TO BED.
Miss Two: I need a tissue.
Miss Two: I NEED A TISSUE! I NEED A TISSUE! I NEED A TISSUE!
Me: Fine, here’s a tissue, NOW GO BACK TO BED.
Miss Four: Mum, Miss Two’s on my bed!
Me: I’m not coming in, go to sleep!
Miss Four: She’s jumping on my neck!
Me: Go to sleep!
Miss Two: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
Miss Four: She fell off my bed!
Me: Right if I have to come in here one more time there’s no TV tomorrow. Miss Two stay in bed!
Me: Aaaah I think they’re finally asleep.
Mr Good: What’s that noise?
He goes to explore….. finds Miss Two in the study, playing Duplos
Mr Good: Miss Two! What are you doing? Go back to bed and stay there!
This goes on…. and on….. and on until far too late, sometimes after 10pm. Miss Four inevitably crashes earlier than my night owl, Miss Two. It’s infuriating, it’s exhausting and it’s every night. I’m hoping four year old kinder four days a week for Miss Four (that’s a lot of fours) will help… just another reason I’ll love kinder. And then it will just be a battle with a very cheeky Miss Two. So when I say my kids go to bed at 7.30pm it’s true, they just don’t stay there until much, much later. And that’s just my reality.
So now please advice, how do I overcome what has become a nightly nightmare? Does it pass? Do the nighttime shenanigans ever settle down? What are your best bedtime tricks?
And finally, Jess had a fabulously funny and relatable list last week, I can’t wait to see what she has on offer this time. Make sure you check it out.