bedtime for two

sisters at play, originally uploaded by kelanew.

how to manage bedtime for two kids on your own, when the elder is not accustomed to falling asleep on her own and the younger is too old to just nurse quietly at any time of your choosing:

night 1: take papa to the airport at the crack of dawn. during the sleepy day that follows, discuss with eva that after pjs/potty/teeth/book/song, you and hazel will go downstairs so hazel doesn't keep her up. feel far too reassured when she agrees to fall asleep on her own. subsequently answer her queries down the stairs every 20 minutes, at first with "iloveyous" and giggles then later with shouting and explanations of consequences. continue in this loop until 11, even though you must wake up early for a daytrip in the morning.

night 2: in an effort to avoid a repeat of night 1, orchestrate your day such that you eat dinner before your drive back into town, planning for the kids to fall asleep in the car. inexplicably, feel far too reassured (once again!) when the plan works. ninety minutes later, start the cycle of the previous night all over again when she wakes up. later, make her cry by shouting up the stairs in frustration "just. go. to sleep!", and nearly cry yourself when she responds through tears, "mama, you're not being very nice to me." go up and sit with her until she falls asleep. fret that she was up until 11:30, knowing the alarm is set for 6:45 to take the rescue puppies to get spayed and neutered.

night 3: get home late when it takes forever to pick up the puppies. mentally check out after the makeshift dinner, mentally check back in to realize your daughters are playing on the floor, giggling hysterically at each other, scoop up your heart from where it melted into a puddle on the floor. decide "screw bedtime" and follow the giggles instead until after 9. be amused rather than frustrated when hazel grabs the bedtime book 42 times and literally crawls back and forth over you and eva over and over as you read. wish you had a video camera handy to record the insanity. go along with eva's request to stay with her. amuse hazel on the floor rather than the bed so that she'll stop crawling on her sister. stare at eva's sleeping face just 7 minutes later. wonder why on earth you bothered with the hours of craziness the previous two nights.

night 4: plan to not bother with bedtime at all, given there's no need to wake up early and that papa will be home tomorrow. surprise yourself by initiating the bedtime routine promptly at bedtime because things seem to be heading that direction with ease. follow the night 3 plan, marred only by papa's phone call home when eva is all but asleep. be amazed when both children are sleeping peacefully by 9:15! get a glass of wine and watch an hour of trashy television. be more than ready to welcome papa back home tomorrow!


Amy said...

Whenever my husband isn't home at the kids' bedtime, I just take them in bed with me and we all snuggle, one on each side. We all sleep better that way. Why fight?

Glad you found a way to make it work!


Kristy said...

oh, i know, i should just give in! we do all sleep together in one giant bed on a regular basis, but i'm trying to get them to sleep so i can have a couple hours of break in the evening to recharge for the next day. in hindsight, more sleep and less struggle would also be restorative, huh? :)