Growing up I don't remember having a strict bedtime routine and never thought I would want my children to have one. In fact I didn't think about it at all! Then my son was born and it all changed. I became a parent that liked routines and my son became a child of routine.
Bedtime was a fun and enjoyable time that included a massage, a bath, some singing, reading, feeding, cuddles, baby in cot, lights off and baby sleeping within a few minutes most nights. ABSOLUTE BLISS! Obviously it didn't go smoothly straight away but my son became used to this routine and bedtime was mostly uneventful. To be honest I felt pretty smug about it and my husband and I enjoyed having the evenings to ourselves.
Then my daughter came along and, you won't believe this but she was a really good sleeper too. We felt like the luckiest parents on earth... until one night I woke up and my son was standing right there next to my bed staring at me. WHAT THE HELL!!! I have absolutely no idea how he got out of his cot but the fact is HE DID and from that night on the bedtime struggles and sleepless nights started.
NOT SO SMUG NOW!
Since then my son has been perfecting his bedtime avoidance techniques. I've heard some pretty funny and creative excuses come out of his mouth as he tries to squeeze every last second from the day before finally falling asleep.
The many ways my child tries to avoid sleep
I want another extra extra book
It is not enough that we already read about five books and one extra one he always wants another extra extra one and sometimes an extra extra extra one! You might be thinking that maybe he is just not tired enough but I can assure you HE IS VERY TIRED and sometimes can barely keep his eyes open... go figure.
I'm busy playing
My son loves taking a toy to bed with him as well as his best friend Teddy. I know I should probably not allow this but I'm picking my battles, if you know what I mean. Of course that when I say he needs to put whatever toy he has away because its time for sleeping he is ALWAYS too busy playing and so in his own words, 'sleep has to wait because I'm just too busy busy playing and if I stop now my motorbike will get very sad and cross with me and I don't want that mummy you know?' UMMMM actually I don't know and you need to just put it away now before I IMPLODE.
But mummy did you know...
Granny and Grandad live in London and London is in the sky. I drew Mummy and Daddy and A today at school. A was pink because she is a girl. That's right isn't it Mum? Pink is for girls and orange is for boys because that is my very much favourite colour in the world.' This happens most nights but if you ask my son what he did at school that day he will always say 'I don't know'.
I'm having a bad dream
'Well, I really don't think you have because I have just turned the lights off and you are not sleeping yet...' and of course he always says '..but I was really and now I'm very scared.' To which I respond, 'there is nothing to worry about.I have made some magic and now bad dream can't come in here on good dreams'. (Please kill me now!)
I have super powers and don't need to sleep
That explains A LOT! I often try to ignore but if I'm not allowed to ignore it then I will just say that super powers fade away if super children don't get any rest and so as long as he is ok with that he can stay awake. He normally wants to keep his super powers.
I don't like my pillow anymore I want yours
I get my pillow for a swift swap in the hope that he will now be happy and just go to sleep but of course that was just wishful thinking. As soon as the pillows are swapped he obviously wants his own one back!
I don't want to sleep with my eyes closed
That's ok by me. 'Just sleep with your eyes open if you prefer'. 'Ok Mummy'. Seriously child just GO TO SLEEP.
After about an hour or so of doing what I call 'the no sleep dance' he finally drifts off into dreamland and Mummy can finally RELAX!
This post first appeared on White Camellias
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