Before I start on today’s actual post, I want to thank you for the HUGE surge of support and love after my last post. It was really wonderful of y’all to read it, share it, comment on it and message me with thanks and encouragement. You are the BEST. Now, on with the post!
Recently, bedtime with EK has been a marathon. Hubby and I have tried a LOT of different things (now that I’ve said that, maybe that’s the problem?) to get her to go to bed and stay there. When J was born, we moved EK, within a few weeks, to a big girl bed in a different room. We tried moving her before he was born, and we just couldn’t get her to stay in the bed, so he ended up arriving before the switch was complete. She began in that bed just like she was in the crib. It didn’t really occur to her that she could get out on her own. If she woke up, she just called for us and waited for us to get her. She slept the same hours, etc. Then she realized she could get out. This applied mostly to the morning for a while… she’d get up on her own, come into our room, and wake us up, either wanting food or smelling like poop. Or both (blerg).
Nowadays, most nights she gets up 2-4 times after we “put her to bed”, which is a routine that includes a book, singing a song or two, getting a good snuggle in, and kissing her good night and leaving. Sometimes she will even wait up to 15-20 minutes before she climbs out of bed the first time to come find us. We end up putting her back to bed – sometimes staying for a snuggle, sometimes dumping her in there and running out – several times before she’s out for the night. Of course, there’s the odd night that she’s TOTALLY pooped and just goes right to sleep without trouble. But unfortunately even those nights don’t seem to be connected with what we do that day. Even on days where she goes swimming or to the children’s museum or something else different and extra energy-using, she might still get up a few times before she’s down.
((Side note: this is also happening at a time in her development where she’s toying around with getting rid of her nap altogether. Obviously, I say she isn’t ready for that yet, especially if she’s going to sleep late and getting up at the same time (early) so naturally I’m even more concerned about this weird nighttime routine.))
I can tell when we’re getting ready for bed each night that EK is tired. I can tell that she would go to sleep if she’d just let herself. She’s not even asking for anything when she gets up… she doesn’t want water or a snack or a fresh diaper. She just wants to wander around. One night earlier this week, Hubby and I did dishes in the kitchen (her room is at the far end of the house, across the hall from ours) for about 25 minutes after we put her in bed, and we were feeling so great because she hadn’t come looking for us. Well, when we went back to our room to get ready for bed, she was sitting on our bed, cute as pie with her blanket and Daddy’s pillow, playing a game on his phone. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Now I have to worry about her sneaking out of her room, instead of just coming straight for us. Little sneak.
Then there was last night. My grandmother, aunt and cousin are in town, so there are lots of extra hands. I snuggled J to sleep, while EK played with my family, and then I did her routine. She was being so sweet and cuddly (because snuggles are hard to get right now!) that I sang a few extra songs. Hubby obviously thought I’d been in there for a while, so he came back to her room, opened the door (RIGHT as she was falling asleep, of course) to come tag me out. Well she started to stir so I waved him off, thinking I could lull her back to sleep and leave. Wrong, wrong, wrong. She wrapped her arms around my neck so tightly I was pulled down at a weird angle and stuck there. She neeeeever does that. The combined body heat and her and another person is usually so much that she wants to lay on her own. Every time I tried to pry her off just so I could change positions, she would whine and hang on tighter. It was the weirdest phenomenon. I ended up just scooping her up in my lap, and she fell asleep on my chest… in the worst possible position for me to try to put her down. Finally, I got her off my lap, still awake, and I laid her down and told her I had to go pee-pee in the potty. She let me go and fell asleep, I’m guessing, 10 seconds after I had left. In one way, it was the most annoying and strange thing she’s done during this crazy bedtime thing we’ve got going on right now. But in another way, I was so glad to have those snuggles that I didn’t care if I should have left her 30 minutes earlier. She’s a daddy’s girl in a serious way, so the fact that she wanted to hang on me and keep me in there for the 4613th singing of “Oceans” was the sweetest part of my day.
Now for the real question: what do you do to keep your toddler in his or her bed at night? What’s your bedtime routine?