Yes, I know I did ALL THE THINGS wrong. I’m tired? We haven’t had a routine for a month? My kids are a wee bit crazy? All of the above?
Last night was the first night that we have had to take care of all our kids at bedtime since we arrived in Waco almost two weeks ago. Can I get a PRAISE THE LORD?! Huge shout-out to all our nighttime helpers who have put our little monkeys to bed for us.
But last night. Oh, last night.
First of all, I was determined to get everyone to bed early. HA! The kids can sense that! And make sure it doesn’t happen!
I started baths at 6:30. Calm, warm baths. After that, everyone was playing a game or watching Cinderella on tv, calmly. At 7:30 (Seth’s former bedtime, though he’s happily adjusted to 9:00), I said, “Say night-night!” Commence screaming tantrum, complete with fast-moving “fit feet”. (If you aren’t familiar with fit feet, just do high-knee marching at warp speed all over the room while screaming.) Well, too bad, so sad. I put him in his crib while he continued to scream. A
helpful child soon went in to inquire about his preferences about the sound machine/fan/juice flavor/diaper/lack of parental attention. More screaming. Sigh. I went in to soothe, but he only yelled for DADDY. An hour passed, and I was more than ready to watch The West Wing, our current nightly ritual. I got Seth out of his crib and laid down with him for 20 minutes, ignoring his requests to leave the room and pretending to be asleep myself. Finally he was calm enough to go back to his crib, and I told him I’d pat his bottom if he didn’t fuss. Dumb. I am so dumb. Was this my first night to put a child to bed??
You see, this isn’t a thing for us. I’ve rarely patted him to sleep, and then only when he was an infant. But last night, the boy wanted to be patted allllll the way to sleep. If I stopped for even a second, he arched up in bed, looked at me with crazy eyes, and yelled, “PAT!” When I started patting again, he would relax, tuck his knees to his chest, and close his eyes. 15 minutes into these patting shenanigans, I thought he was asleep and stopped patting. “PAT!” For the love. Then I put my head down on the crib rail while I patted, contemplating the ridiculous situation I was in, held hostage by a tiny, pat-demanding tyrant. Seriously! Who gets to scream “PAT” and have their diapered hind end patted ever so lightly in a continuous rhythm until they fall asleep? My toddler tyrant, that’s who. This lead to an escaped snort-laugh, which resulted in, “PAT!” from the child that was almost asleep.
While I was patting my way to peace, the girls were sharing a room next door. You remember why we needed a five-bedroom house, right? Because they cannot share rooms ever ever ever. But they were sharing a room. I had already been in multiple times, so once I was released from patting prison, I went to the girls (who were whining for separate bedrooms because each was keeping the other awake by talking…) and said, “Sleep by yourself? The next person to talk gets to sleep by yourself downstairs. Next to the piano. On the floor. It won’t be nearly as comfortable as the bed you are in right now. You choose.” Well, it wasn’t my finest moment, but they at least feigned sleep from that point on. Apparently sharing a room with two beds seemed better than the alternative of sharing a room with the piano.
You guys. Two hours. On the first night that I had to take care of my own children. Finally, we turned on our show, but I promptly fell asleep and had to catch up on the episode while I got ready this morning.
Here’s hoping that Seth will remember how to go to sleep at bedtime tonight, minus the patting. I already have a staggered bedtime schedule carefully mapped out in my head, leaving just enough time for each kid to fall asleep separately while giving me time to get a full West Wing episode in before my own early bedtime. Don’t tell my kids.