Bedtime Agony

April 30, 2013

Bedtime used to be a science. Twenty minutes – pjs, teeth brushing, face washing, stories and sleep. Easy as that. Until now…

Everyone who knows anything about rearing children knows that kids thrive on routine. If you have a series of activities that prepare them for the winding down that comes with bedtime, it will be a smooth transition to getting them to sleep. If you are repetitive with this routine then they will understand the expectations of them. I get all this, I live all this.

For the last month or so, things have gradually gotten worse. All of a sudden there’s an additional potty session thrown in. Then there’s a NEED for an extra sip of water. Now there MUST be one additional song. The laundry list of excuses is growing by the day.

I’m finding that bedtime used to be around 7:30, pushing 7:45, a little more like 8, coming very close to 8:15 and now it’s near impossible to get everyone done with their millions of curve balls they throw until at least 8:30. And then I have to start with Noah, which by comparison these days is easy as pie!

It’s not that my days with these children are not full of rewarding loving moments. My eagerness to get those maniacs to sleep has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t enjoy every moment spent with them. I certainly am not anxious for time in my day without a drooling, whining, pooping leech hanging on me. It’s solely the fact that I want them to be healthy and strong for the following day. And I, a truly devoted mother of three, want to provide them with every opportunity to have the most energy after their sound slumber.

How do I put a stop to these shenanigans? It’s not that I don’t put my foot down and say no…because I certainly do. I frequently find my “unwinding time” after they have gone to sleep filled with the joyful screams of a child who didn’t like my last answer. We have a series of bedtime activities that have remained constant to our routine for years at this point. What is a mother supposed to say to a newly potty trained girl who has to “go potty” for the twentieth time that night? What is a mother supposed to say to a booger faced boy who is begging for his thirtieth kleenex but never actually blows his nose? You tell me!

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