If you are not yet a parent you may think that bedtime is a blissful time, peacefully reading to your children while they whisper they love you before quietly dozing off to sleep. Then you may even be under the impression they sleep all night, or think that when they do wake it is for a peaceful little re-tuck in and away you go.
This is how bedtime goes in our house….
1. Get ready for bed, bath, PJs, teeth, quiet time.
2. Inform toddler it is bed time, deal with protests quickly so as not to wake the baby.
3. Ask toddler if he needs to use toilet one last time before bed. No.
4. Bed, grabbing all necessary teddies on the way.
5. Books in bed, first with Dad, then with Mum.
6. Quiet chat, “I love you’s”, Lights out, Door shut, Goodnight.
7. “I need to do a wee.” Toddler is out, quick toilet, back to bed.
8. “I forgot _____ bear.” Find said teddy, back to bed.
9. Quiet for a minute, perfect, go sit on couch. Light in bedroom comes on.
10. Go back to bedroom, Goodnight Leo. Light off.
11. “I need to do another wee.” (Seriously?!?) Toilet, back to bed.
12. Lights out..”I need a cuddle” Go in for another cuddle, bed. Leave bedroom with the threat of taking away a teddy if we have to come back in.
13. Baby wakes up around about now, so far bedtime has taken 45 minutes.
14. See the door creak open from the couch, “I just want it a little bit dark.” Go in to room, turn on bathroom light so as to shine a bit of light into bedroom, Goodnight, back to bed.
16. “Mummy, what are you going to dream about Mummy?” back to the bedroom, discuss what everyone will dream about. Lights out…making sure room is just a little bit dark. Goodnight.
17. “I need to do a poo.” (OMG ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!) OK. Quick toilet. No poo, back to bed. No teddy’s taken away because we have always told him he has to tell us when he wants to try for a poo (regretting that now?). Threat is again repeated about taking teddy’s.
18. Back to couch. Light comes on. One teddy removed. Back to bed. (We have now been going for an hour fifteen)
19. “Muuuu-uummm, my doona is rolled up in a ball” Yelling from his room because he has now worked out the implications of teddy removal if he gets out of bed and technically yelling out repeatedly to us is not getting out of bed. Go unroll doona, repeat threat of teddy removal but this time add ‘yelling out’ to the list of things not allowed to do.
20. Go back to couch. State how you think it is all done for the night. Don’t finish your sentence ” My pant legs are rolled up.” Unroll pant legs. “I want shorts not pants” Get shorts. Take away a teddy. Goodnight.
22. Back to couch, listening to cries of protest about removed teddy and loud sobs about wanting another cuddle and to be tucked in.
23. Return to room after five minutes of sobbing, (baby is now well and truly in party mode after all the excitement by the way) one last goodnight kiss and cuddle, tucked in, sweet dreams. Done. And it only took two hours.
24. Start on the second child.
Every. Single. Night.
Frustrating, to say the least. Funny thing is, bedtime used to be easy. We were the smug parents who had two little children whose total bedtime routine took a whole of ten minutes and both children were in bed and slept all night long. Now we have that and our children get up at least two or three times a night.
I am tired but I know that like most phases of toddlerhood, this too shall pass, so for now I will enjoy all those extra cuddles and goodnight kisses I get. And, for the times when my patience really runs thin I imagine a time where I crave less sleep than him, and I will be able to wake him to tell him that my doona has rolled into a ball or the legs on my pyjamas have rolled up.