Stay in Bed, I Said!

Bedtime and Eddie have never been friends.

As a baby, he would not fall asleep unless someone held him or rocked him to sleep.  Even when he had fallen asleep, if you placed him in the crib just so, he would wake up like he had been faking it all along and start screaming his head off.

Cort used to do the “arm check” to see if he was really out. You know, where you lift and arm and if it just limply falls with a thud, he’s out. Put him to bed and back slowly away.

The rule was that if Eddie falls asleep anywhere? That is where he sleeps. And whoever wakes him up gets a punch to the throat by the strung out momma.

Wait. What?

Oh right. Sleep.

Well he does better now.

I mean, we are over three years into this, and we can get him to nap with no fight.  In fact, he asks for it and then stays sleeping for an average of two hours each afternoon. Yes, it’s as glorious as it sounds. I think I may have decided no one living in this house is allowed to NOT nap in the afternoon.

Naps for all! Weeee!

Anyway, night bedtime is the opposite of easy. It is all the swear words rolled into one big ugly mess of blah.

Night bedtime and Eddie are enemies.

We have always had a set routine.  And even though bedtime is not pleasant, if we get off that routine for whatever reason? Bedtime becomes akin to what I imagine hell to be like.

Since he realized he could get up from the big boy bed any old time he pleased (it actually took about a month…I know, right?), he has become the master of excuses.

Seriously. I can’t make this crap up. When he comes upstairs with a new excuse, I could swear he has a team of sitcom writers down there telling him what to do next.  And then I check for video cameras in my living room because…come on with these things:

“Mom. I need sleepy socks on and I can’t do it.”

“Mom. There are weird shadows.”

“Mom. I found this booger.”

“Mom. I peed. Little help?” (said with his pull up in one hand and his balled up jammies in the other…as he stands there nude.)

“Mom. I needed this in bed? That all right?” (said with a pinwheel in one hand and a flashlight in the other.)

“Mom. I had a bad dream.” (even though he has not fallen asleep yet.)

“Mom. I need to stay up for 100 days.”

“Mom. I can’t sleep. I don’t know how.”

“Mom. I pooped in my pull up.”

I swear he does that last one ON PURPOSE just because he gets to stay up longer than if he poops on the can.

Anyway, we couldn’t stand it anymore.  We had to figure out a way for him to say in his dang bed. If for no other reason that bedtime SHOULD NOT TAKE OVER AN HOUR EVERY NIGHT! (yes, that required shouting.)

So what to do, what to do?  We ultimately decided to combine a few of Eddie’s most favorite things: 1) being in charge. 2) charts and stickers and 3) treats.

My kid is such a sell-out for a sticker and some candy.  It would be sad if it wasn’t so awesome.

It goes like this.  If he stays in bed (unless he has to get up to pee or poop), in the morning he gets to put a sticker on the chart.  Once he fills a row (there are boxes in a row, so a week if he plays his cards…er stickers…right), he gets to go out on a “treat date” with either me or Cort.

Not only does he love to stick a sticker on the chart, but he loves counting how many more boxes until the treat.

The first week he went with Cort on some errands and chose a Pez dispenser.

The next week he picked a cookie at the “donut shop” with Cort.

This past week he and I went Christmas shopping and he chose a donut hole at the “donut shop.”

Plus he absolutely LOVES going out with just me or just Cort.  He feels so big and proud.

(also let’s pause for a moment to look at that photo again. I mean, he is the perfect blend of boy and baby right now, right? The lashes and the lingering baby knuckle-dimples? swoon. I love this boy so much.)

The thing that sealed it was we let him be in charge.  If he wants to look at books in his room after we put him to bed, he may. But he needs to turn out the light and go to bed when he is done.

It’s all him.

And he loves it.

Just like potty training, we have to learn to release a bit to him, let him show us how to parent him, and then do our best to guide him.

It hasn’t been perfect.  It still takes a bit some nights.

If he gets himself thinking about something that bothers him, he will turn his light on and sit on his bed crying until I will either rock him or lay in bed with him while he talks it out.

But we are working on it.

What is bedtime like for your kids? Wait…if it’s easy breezy I don’t want to know!  Just kidding…you can tell me. Charlie is super easy…right now. I’m sure he will change that up for me the second Eddie gets easy, right?