I know I'm supposed to treasure these times, that they will be gone before I know it, and I try. But sometimes I really dread my kids’ bedtimes. They just seem to take so SO LONG!
With Adele we usually start somewhere between 6:30 and 7:15, giving her a bath if it's needed, then taking her upstairs. She usually is screaming and fussing while I'm putting on her pajamas and kicking and flailing about so it takes EVEN LONGER THAN IT SHOULD AND IF YOU WOULD JUST HOLD STILL YOU CRAZY CHILD I’D BE DONE ALREADY.
Then, at least recently, once I’ve pajama-ed her up and sat in the rocking chair with her, she won't settle down to nurse and arches her back and cries some more. She will eventually relax and nurse and go to sleep, but some days take much longer than others. And of course there are the days (last night) that she cries whenever I lay her down. (I know - she's got me trained) and I need to rock her a little more. I'd like to work on getting her to go to sleep by herself, but this was how I put Sebastian to bed and it wasn’t nearly this difficult. The difference is he always fell asleep ALWAYS when he nursed except right around the time he was weaned at 13 months. (He basically weaned himself because he just wasn't interested anymore. I was just happy it was relatively easy.)
With Adele, she doesn't always fall asleep and recently she has taken a stand against nursing. I think it’s because she is teething again, which she seems to have been doing NONSTOP since about 4 months. She's got eight teeth with another one coming! (Everything in my life is difficult, is what I'm saying.)
So bedtime. It's a trial. When I get Adele to sleep there's no guarantee that she will stay that way. There haven’t been too many nights where she's slept all the way through. I've pretty much stopped looking for it. It’s not like she can’t because she HAS. It’s just that SHE DOESN’T WANT TO. (Or maybe her teeth are bothering her. Or maybe she’s lonely. Or maybe it’s because her room faces the street and sometimes firetrucks drive by and honk their horns so very loudly right in front of my house.)
So every night I go to bed knowing that I'll have to get up again at least once. It helps if she wakes up in the middle of the night so I can go back to sleep easily. If it's too early in the morning - like 4:30 or 5 - I'm usually up for day. Some nights, like last night, it's right when I get in bed, which is awful because at that point I'm ready to sleep. And I couldn't get her settled down so in order for me to get some semblance of sleep I just put her in our bed again, which I know is creating bad habits, but I NEED SOME SLEEP.
So, that's Adele.
I usually start putting Sebastian to bed as soon as I’m done with Adele, or sometimes in between time spent trying to get her to sleep on those wonderful occasions when IT’S JUST NOT WORKING. Then I’ve got to call in Chris to come take care of Adele while I take care of Sebastian, who absolutely refuses to allow Chris to put him to bed. At this point I’m exhausted and just want to go downstairs and relax, but I can’t do that until I finished this last few mothering tasks of the evening.
When Sebastian goes to bed, he has to read books. I usually limit it to three or four, but now he’s started insisting on reading them to me, (“Just look at the peekshures Mommy!), which would be so adorable except I’m convinced he’s just doing it to draw out the process. And it works. In spite of how much I just want to dump him in bed, give him hugs and kisses and turn out the light, I stay and listen to him ‘read’ and ask questions and usually respond (if I’m not dozing off myself). And after the last book I usually have to threaten him with no song in order to stop him from yelling about the fact that I wouldn’t let him read another story. The song I’m talking about he calls ‘Hush Hush’, and is one I made up myself when he was just a couple of months old and needed some calming down. We have to sing it twice, no less, no more.
And after all that, I’m finally allowed to leave his room. Sometimes I have to go back into Adele’s, sometimes I don’t.
Sometimes I’m putting children to bed for three hours, only to be back upstairs an hour later.
As I’ve said, I know it’s I should take a step back and really be in the moment because these kids, they’re so incredibly adorable and an absolute delight (sometimes). But it’s just so hard when I’m with them all day and all I want to do is put them in bed so I can have a little time to myself, a little time to sit down without someone wanting me to get them some milk or change their diaper.
The process does become easier, right?