Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to (Unattended) Sleep We Go

Bedtime lo these past 3 and a half years has been a consistent source of much strum und drang in the Mimilou house. It's always been the time of day I've dreaded most (although dinnertime has often put in a healthy showing as a contender). Both children have needed extensive intervention on their journey toward sleep, whether it be rocking, singing, lying next to, or mere sitting next to. By the time the kids were asleep, I was often grumpy and resentful.

And so it is with trembling hands, crouching in fear that the Internet gods will smite me, that I type the following: Bedtime has been a breeze lately.

We now seem to proceed from bath to stories to bedtime to sleep with almost clockwork precision. The routine goes like this: I give the kids a bath (or, now that we're not playing outside every day and the kids don't get as dirty, just wash their face and hands), brush their teeth, get their pajamas on, and hand them over to Jeff, who reads the stories. (This is my time off; I usually waste it by surfing the blogosphere). Then I put Allie in her crib, and Jeff gets Sean settled in his bed. I do indulge Allie's insistence that I kiss every single stuffed animal in the crib, along with the pillow and both her blankets. I can't "forget" any animals or overlook the pillow, or there's hell to pay. I leave Allie's room, Jeff leaves Sean's room, and the kids fall asleep. ON THEIR OWN. And they stay asleep all night. By 8:30 or so, we're free! (Sorry, Phantom.)

I don't know what's brought about the change. Perhaps it's just a natural evolution. Whatever the cause, I am positively delighted.

Jeff will want me to point out that the story-reading stretch is not always a calm, snuggly affair. Allie still has a tiny attention span when it comes to any story longer than your average board book. She gets to pick out a book, but she rarely sits still long enough to reach its conclusion. She usually can be found paging through a separate book on her own, driving the dump truck around, and making a general pest out of herself.

Last night she decided that this tidy little area in Sean's room needed to be brought down a peg or two.
Or, as the case may be, thirty or forty. I think all this upheaval occurred in about 2 minutes. Still, in our annals of bedtime woes, we file this under "potatoes, small" (and, in the annals of consumer goods, "stuff, way too much", but that is a post for another day).