November 25, 2010
Bedtime… the calming end to a busy day. There are some days (especially if it has been a particularly difficult or exhausting day) when I really look forward to this time. Not that I don’t love spending time with my son, or that I want to be rid of him, but there are days when I just want him to go to bed, so that I can curl up on the sofa and chill for a bit. However, these are usually the days when he decides that it’d be fun to wind mummy up a bit more, by not going to sleep.
Recently he’s been much better at going to bed and going to sleep (he used to be a complete nightmare and I dreaded the end of the day because I knew I was going to have to fight him all the way), but there are some days when despite following the bedtime wind-down routine which we’ve always used (tea, bath, stories, bed), he just will not lie down and sleep, even if he’s totally shattered! An example: last week my husband and I had been out three nights in a row (practically unheard of), so my mum and dad had been babysitting, which meant putting him to bed too. On the fourth night, when I was back to putting him to bed again, he had obviously decided to see what he could get away with… much fun!
I should explain what we normally do, so you can get the picture: the rule in our house is that if he is lying down with his eyes closed, ready to go to sleep, then I will stay in the room with him until he is asleep, as long as it doesn’t take forever. However, but if he messes about I will leave the room and go downstairs and then I go back every so often and lie him down again – not so easy now he’s three and getting bigger and stronger. So, on this night, I was sitting in his room (to start off with), and he was making all the soft toys fly/talk to each other/etc etc (he was still lying down at this point) so he got a warning – something along the lines of, ‘lie still and close your eyes, or I will go out’ which worked for a couple of seconds, then he started to fidget and kick the wall next to the bed, so I left the room. Then he started bouncing, so eventually I went back and attempted to lie him down again but he was up again within seconds of me doing it, and then all the pillows and the duvet came off, then he was sitting in the chair with his books (I’m all for encouraging him to read, but there are limits!). So, I went in and put him down again, then removed the books from the room, and then after more bouncing, I removed all his soft toys as well and went downstairs for about ten minutes. This obviously hurt more than the rest, as the next time I went up, there was one sorry little boy, ready to lie down and go to sleep. I gave him his two favourite soft toys back, reinstated the duvet and pillows and he was asleep within seconds – but I was exhausted! Thankfully he hasn’t tried it again since, but there’s always time!