After talking to some of my Mom friends I realized how lucky we are in the bedtime department. I have heard stories of other Mom’s who have to lay down for hours with their kids in order for them to go to bed and after a couple of hours they end up crawling into bed with Mom and Dad anyway! Then there are those who request water, one more story, one more song, one last trip to the potty, turn that light on that one off the list can go on and on.
Let me be honest for a second. I love my kids to death. I love being able to stay home with them more than anything, but when 8:00 rolls around I am more than ready for them to go to bed. I need some Mommy and Mr. Macaroni time. I’ve got bedtime down to a science and the whole thing takes under five minutes.
It wasn’t always so breezy at bedtime. Butter was not the easiest baby. I remember every time I put him down he had to be fast asleep. To get him that way I would rock him, bounce him and walk circles around my dining room table for hours until he shut those eyes and I felt he was out enough to try and lay him down. I can still remember holding my breath gently putting him in his crib, tiptoeing out of the room, knowing where all the squeaks in the floor where and having to wd40 the door because it creaked. Of course he would wake up overnight because he didn’t know how to put himself to sleep. I would go in and nurse him, crossing my fingers that it would put him to sleep or else the whole process would start over again.
As a Mother you develop a super hero’s hearing and I joked that some people sleep with one eye open and I was sleeping with one ear open. It wasn’t ideal. He had just turned one and I was pregnant with Peanut. I vowed that I wasn’t going to be up all night with two babies and something needed to be done. Mr. Macaroni and I decided to sleep train. I can’t remember all the details, but it went along the lines of laying him down awake. Letting him cry for five minutes then going in for a pat on the back, a cuddle and a kiss. I would then increase the time to ten minutes, then fifteen, then twenty you get the idea. The good news is it only took three nights of this before we had a champion sleeper! The bad news was that you need nerves of steel! At the time we were living in a 1000 square foot ranch and there was no escaping his cries. I remember the first night I went in to check on him after he had been crying about an hour straight (his cries never lasted longer than an hour) and he had fallen asleep sitting up, holding onto the rails of the crib facing the door. That image is forever burned into my mind and it broke my heart. Now it was my turn to cry. I lay him down and vowed that I wasn’t going to go through this again with our next baby. Shortly after we were given this awesome toy.
It’s a Seahorse from Fisher Price. It plays music and the belly softly glows for eight minutes. I would turn it on when I put Butter down to signal time for sleep. He quickly learned how to turn it on himself if he woke up over night or wanted it to play again after the first eight minutes. It worked like a charm!
From day one Peanut was a much sleepier baby. I remember at the hospital with Butter I couldn’t get him to fall asleep and with Peanut I couldn’t wake him up! When we brought Peanut home we wouldn’t let anyone hold him if he was falling asleep. I had purchased a miracle blanket (www.miracleblanket.com) and I recommend it to ALL new parents. I would swaddle him in his miracle blanket turn on the music and let him put himself to sleep. No sleeping issues with him ever, in fact now all I do is turn on his music and he practically jumps out of my arms to lay down in his crib.
Ok, so back to our five minute bedtime routine. After dinner we’ll give the kids their bath, because that’s when they are the dirtiest and put them in their pajamas. By the time it’s bedtime I’ll take both kids upstairs I’ll brush Butter’s teeth and while he takes his last pee I’ll brush Peanut’s teeth. I’ll have him wait for me in his bed while I put Peanut down (push his musical seahorse on and cover him up with a blanket) then I go to Butter’s room. He’s in bed. I’ll fix his covers and we’ll talk about his day for a couple minutes, where it goes something like this:
Me: “Today we woke up and Daddy was home. Then he went to work and we went to the playground. We came home had lunch and took a nap. When we woke up we played outside, then we had Macaroni for dinner. After that we watched Woody and Buzz. Tomorrow we’re going to see Grandma and Grandpa and now it’s time for bed”
Butter: “Yeah, and today I found a slug and I held him.”
Me: “Oh yea?”
Butter: “Yea, I liked him”
It goes on like that for a little while longer of Butter adding the highlights of his day. Then we’ll sing twinkle twinkle I’ll cover him completely with his covers, so that you can’t even spot him in there, which is the same way I used to sleep as a child and that’s it bedtime in under five minutes.
Believe me we have our own issues of things we need to work on. Listening for example and being nice and gentle to each other. Thankfully, bedtime isn’t an issue we’ve got that under control!
By the way, don’t Peanut and Butter look adorable in their matching Buzz pajamas?