So bedtime at my house is the worst. Let me say this again.
Let me set the scene. I run a family childcare home. Which is a fancy way of saying I babysit in my house. But I consider myself a professional, and I see this as a career that I love, so I say Family Childhood Home.
I love it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not exhausted at the end of the day though. I work 11.5 hours a day; cleaning, cooking, creating, snuggling, laughing, kissing boo boos, mediating arguments… Anyhow, you get the idea.
I should also add that my husband works in the evenings. As wonderful as he is, as much as he contributes to our family and our Littles, I am still “on” from 6:30 in the morning until my kids go to bed at night. So by the time bedtime rolls around I’m ready for some quiet and some Netflix. If I’m feeling really wild, I may even have some ice cream.
My son, who is coming up on three months old, has been an amazing sleeper. 12 hours at night from 8 weeks old. He starts his little bedtime routine a little after 7 and is out by 7:45. Any later than 8 and he voices his displeasure.
My daughter, however, is a whole different creature. Once she got past her fourth trimester, until she was about 2, she was a delightful sleeper. But now, at three, my Threenager despises going to sleep. If I don’t lay with her, she will guaranteed get out of bed a dozen times.
But if I do lie with her, her little brain is such a busy one that it has a very difficult time winding down. The singing, talking, wiggling, kicking, talking… It’s very sweet, but at the end of a long day, my tired brain can’t compute.
Let’s just suffice it to say, my legendary patience with kids is about nil at that point.
I have read all the books on infant sleep.
I have tried the whole “don’t say a word and walk them back to the room.”
I have stuck to my guns
I have given in
I have yelled
I have rationalized
I have begged
I have snuggled
I have bribed
And after many tears on both our parts, we just don’t have any success having a peaceful bedtime.
Now I love kids, and I consider myself a bit of a kid expert <enter daddy pig’s voice in my head, “I am an expert at children-ing”> but when it comes to bedtime with Imp, I’m at a loss.
And for some reason, tonight, I. Am. Done.
All evening, every two minutes she is back out of her room. By about 10pm, (taking into consideration that her bedtime is 8:30), I sit downstairs. I scream into a pillow. I text-vent to The Hubs at work using some choice swear words.
He responds, “Oh I wish I was there, I would lay with her.”
So I rain hellfire down on poor dear Hubs- “How DARE YOU think you can do a better job than I have? I’d like to see you do this on your own every day.”
I scream in the pillow some more, and look who is up again!!
I calmly walk my little Imp back to her room. We sit down and I explain,”Look, I love you. I love spending time with you. I understand you want to spend time with me, too. You get to spend time with me All Day. Anytime you want., we can have snuggle time. But the when the sun goes down, and you go to bed, it’s mommy time. I need time for me so I can be a good mommy when it’s time to have time for you. Now you are going to stay in bed and go to sleep. We will snuggle in the morning.”
“Ok mommy, I will!”
Huge sigh of relief. I did it. She did it. Now I can catch up on Breaking Bad. (Don’t judge. We all have our guilty pleasures). Twenty minutes in, and it’s still quiet. I decide to go peek on her, kiss her sleeping face so I feel a little less guilty for feeling so frustrated.
But she’s not in there when I go to her room.
My heart tightens as I hurry to my room. And there she is, wide awake, waiting patiently for me to come into MY bed. I am simultaneously amused and chagrined.
And I crawl into bed.
Now, I know this too shall pass. I know a day will come when she will no longer want mommy snuggles, no longer fight me to go to sleep, no longer beg me to lay with her for “five more minutes”. I will miss the little snuffle sound she makes as she sucks her thumb in her sleep, the smell of her shampoo as she snuggles her head into my arm. I also know that we are both better people in the morning when we have rested well. I know that we will apologize, and hug, and move on with our day. She will know that she has a mom that is human, who gets frustrated, who makes mistakes. Hopefully they day will come when I sweetly kiss her brow, and she whispers goodnight as she dozes peacefully snuggling her blanket.
We will muddle through anyhow.
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