Bedtime routines have varied over the last 3 years. They are a bit cyclical on speed and ease, and when you get into a memorable “that’s just a phase” (other people’s words, not mine) routine, you feel like your life will never be simple again. And it isn’t, those “phases” continue to evolve into something else entirely. There is nothing is simple about it. They are just too excited, too psyched to lay down.
Have you ever tried to hold down a wet puppy after a bath? on its back? in a ball pit? Yeah, bedtime can be like that.
We lucked out here, as Stella was a supreme sleeper as a baby. And technically, she still is. Our newborn phase consisted of participating in staring contest with the little cutie, and then waking up with your own drool on your chest and baby still staring at you. Baby wins.
So we learned quickly to just put her to bed and she can stare at the rotating stars on the ceiling. (Baby Nora is currently in this stage…but isn’t quite as good at it as her sister was.)
newborn phase II
Yep it’s the same phase only now the tiny human can make cute noises and can yell for attention, directly aiming her voice at the microphone of the baby monitor. This is when you start to read your silly Babywise books, and do things like letting the baby cry it out. That is unless you read the other book and then you run in there and scoop her up to calm her down. (I’m no expert, but I assure you either way works just fine)
mid- 1st year
Don’t really remember this phase, because it was in the middle. No one remembers middle things, only the first and last (and the notable) things. Middle School? No recollection. Middle Sibling? She was in family pictures. Middle Earth? No clue.
i can do what i want
This is pretty self-explanatory, and this phase is just teasing you with the shit that’s about to come. But really it’s “just a phase”, because professional parents tell you so, and it will not be this difficult forever. This is when Stella started dictating terms on which she will enter the bed. As our cute little baby was in a toddler bed by now; candy trails, pony promises, and reality-shattering lies were at my disposable to get her to fall asleep with ease.
I recall that during this phase it was made apparent that bedtime is pretty inconvenient and was a real disruption to the play schedule of my toddler. Going to sleep just gets in the way and is cramping her style. She proceeded to play in bed with her light up turtle, the blanket, her hair and then she’s still bored, so she thinks “let’s call out to daddy and pretend I have to go poopy” which she is well aware will make us come running. Once we get to the bathroom we figure out that it was just a ruse, as she would sit on the toilet asking “what’s that”, pointing to random objects, for 15 minutes. But, doing that was usually enough fun to get her to go lay down and relax. It was exhausting, but luckily it was “just a phase”.
where’s my <insert animal>
This is one of the most recent phases, and is still ongoing along with the last phase on the list. This little girl is getting smarter, cuter, and more irresistible, while we, as parents, are getting weaker, dumber, and just plain defeated…and she’s not even 3 yet. She has the will of an ox…but only when it comes to needing the single random chipmunk, or tiny pony, that is buried under her pile of other stuffed animals. She can’t be satisfied with the 12 in her bed, and she remembers where the farthest stuffed animal is from her room and sends us on a mission to find it.
We have tried ignoring the requests, waiting until she passes out, etc., but then she would yell for her Minnie Mouse ball for HOURS. So then we tried preemptively asking her which animals she wanted, but that never seemed to work either as toddlers are notorious for changing their minds at the drop of a dime. So then we also tried to putting all of her animals in bed with her, so she couldn’t possibly have the want for another one. But sure enough, that didn’t change the game, it just narrowed the field, because then she started yelling for us because now she could not find the animal she wanted amongst all of the OTHER animals, so we had to come in her room, dig through the covers and other animals to find it.
So now we have imposed a 3 animal in bed limit, and she knows we mean business…at least until negotiation phase.
This is the phase where we begin to combine bartering animals with negotiating the terms of her bedtime. It started simple.
“ You can read 3 books and 1 song OR 3 song and 1 book”
Then it got a little more complicated
“You can either read 1 book, eat 1 tootsie roll, wear your light up shoes tomorrow, sleep with Steve the monkey and you sing the alphabet to me OR you can jump 5 more times off of the fireplace, sing 3 songs, sleep with Minnie and tickle your own feet before bed.”
Now she has figured out how to manipulate the whole darn thing.
“Do you want finish this episode of Dora or read 2 books and then we close our eyes”
She chooses to finish the episode of Dora. But as the closing sequence of “We did it, we did it” comes on (which is 30 seconds before credits roll) she realizes she made the wrong choice. She grabs the remote and starts clicking.
“No, no, no I don’t want to watch Dora. I want to read 2 books.”
WTF. Thank God this is just a phase.
hugs and kisses
So the bedtime sequences can range from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending on how many kisses and hugs she needs… and I have YET to say “no” to those. Not sure how I can, as even though she’s using me solely to lengthen her night, they are the best hugs and kisses in the world.
But I can’t complain, as that too, will end someday. It’s just phase.