A Better Bedtime

As of February, our nights were a mess. We had one-on-one prolonged bedtime “routines” with each child: singing and rocking Babygirl to sleep in our arms, which was starting to take one to two hours, and coaxing/ cajoling/ begging Babyboy to get into his crib, which was starting to become a nightly battle. Then, on top of all that, Babygirl was waking up 2, 3, 4 times a night, for a bottle.

Then, we realized that Hubby’s job, starting in March, would involve alot of prolonged travel. Like, he’s away now for an 8-day stretch. There was No Way I was going to be doing hours-long bedtime routines and then be up for every overnight feeding, solo. I knew I would not survive!

So the bedtime cleanup began, in serious earnest. I’ve written about our approach to eliminating Babygirl’s nighttime feedings: Cry-it-out all the way. Yes, she screamed. Yes, she cried. Yes, she puked. Several times. But each crying episode was shorter, and each night was fewer episodes, and after three or four nights, we were done with any overnight awakening from her. So it was worth every late-night pukey crib change.

Then came bedtime. I cleaned up Babygirl’s routine first. I had someone sitting downstairs with Babyboy while I tried to get her into a predictable SHORT routine. We’ve gotten into the swing of it– bathtime, milk bottle, read a few stories, lights out/Dreamlight on, and a bit of rocking/ lullabyes, then into the crib. Yes, she screamed. Yes, she cried. Yes, she puked. Again. But after a few nights, again, she is now pretty easy, and we can do the whole thing in about a half an hour, if I’m on my game.

Babyboy’s routine came next. It’s pretty much the same as hers, but he brushes his teeth first. He was tougher. I forced him through each step, pulling him onto my lap for stories, then singing, then plop into the crib… He was so used to playing whatever he wanted until he basically passed out. He screamed for ages, and he can say things like “No mommy come back! COME BACK MOMMY COME BACK!” which really pulls at the heartstrings. But at least he didn’t puke. And he did get the hang of it. He’s now also pretty easy.

The next step was to be able to get them both down solo, to somehow handle both routines without any help. This is still a bit of a work in progress, though I’ve done it several times.

They do tubbies together, which sometimes is a bit of a battle, if one or the other doesn’t want to go in, or if someone had a blowout and the other is really psyched to go into the bath and doesn’t want to wait… so that can be not very peaceful… Then I get one and the other dressed, which also can be a battle…freshly scrubbed babies running around escaping diapers… we’ve had the rug peed on a few times. Then we all go downstairs, and they get milk: Babyboy’s chocolate milk in a sippy cup, and Babygirl has a bottle, with one nighttime cartoon (Usually I grab some dinner or do some kitchen cleanup here). Then I ask Babyboy if he’ll help me with putting Babygirl night-night. Most of the time, he says, “Yesss!” and we all go upstairs, and I do Babygirl’s usual routine with him playing as quietly as he can (not very)… I put her down in her crib and we tiptoe away. Babygirl doesn’t always go down so easy, with Babyboy around. Tonight, she cried for a long while, but kind of an intermittent, whiney crying. No puke. Babyboy whispered as we “tiptoed” out of her room: “It’s Okay little baby. Don’t cry.”

Then I go right into his abbreviated routine: brush teeth, read books, lights out/ Dreamlight on, rock and sing songs, then I ask him if he wants to lay down with his Kittycat (his favorite toy/ lovey) and usually, he says, “Yesss! Go Crib!”. I put him down into his crib, pull his blankie over him, and he falls asleep cuddling Kittycat. It’s adorable.

And then I don’t know what to do with myself. Tonight they were both asleep by 7:45 pm… So I emptied the dishwasher, did laundry, read the paper, and… am writing this blog.

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