As I look at the clock, the seconds clicking by faster than I can get my nerves together. There is one thing I am starting to dread on a daily basis: bedtime with my almost 3 year old son.
Don’t get me wrong, it starts out great. We have great moments reading books and creating memories before bedtime. He loves to read Just a Snowy Day and countless Thomas the Train books, which I am beginning to believe he knows by heart! We talk about what we did today and what we have to look forward to tomorrow.
I see him start to relax and become sleepy, we exchange kisses and the minute I give him that last good night and turn off the light. The light turning off is like the green light for the nighttime George to come out. He is loaded with obnoxious energy, questions, and everything having to do with everything, except going to sleep.
We take stake outside his room, actually in our room, lights dim, and sooner then I can read the first sentence of a book, his little head peaks around the corner, “What are you doing Mommy?” “It’s bed time George”, I reply. Taking my instructions from an episode of Super Nanny. First reply with, “time to go to bed”, and the next encounter, “bed time” and every encounter after that, no comment, no eye contact, just put the child back in his bed.
But what if that doesn’t work, what if the time between encounters occurs faster than you can get back to your “post”? What if this game of cat and mouse continues for an hour and a half?
Is he not ready for his “big boy bed”?
I think he comes to think of it as a game, and even though the interactions are not what I would consider “engaging”, maybe that is exactly what he is looking for. Maybe the expressions on my face, that I try to hide are enough entertainment for him.
After all, I feel my vein pop out of my head and my sweat glands go into overproduction as I force a calm and collected, grown-up, in control reaction, as I gently and kindly put him back to bed.
I swear I see him snicker.
So what do I do?
Be calm but firm.
Check. Regarding the situation I think we have done a very good job at calm and firm. My husband is the king of calm and firm. The house could be on fire and George could be wanting to play his last round of Thomas the Train and he would accomplish calm and firm, while I frantically call 9-1-1, shot out the of the house, forgetting everyone including the cat, faster than he can actually tell me it’s not a fire (long story).
Don’t Let him dawdle?
Check. We are great at that 90% of the time, bed time is bed time, no exceptions (well, except that 10%. Is that what is putting us under?)
Create a bedtime routine?
Check. Bath, short Tv show, books, and then quiet, the same predictable routine every night.
Some suggest put up a safety gate.
Check. He climbed over it, countless times and then dropped to the floor hitting his head. End of the security gate.
What if your child is relentless and your bedtime routine has become his new form of entertainment?
My parents came and babysat a couple months a go and they must have the “grandparents” touch because not only did my son tell him he was tired and it was time to go to bed, we went to bed in his big boy bed and asleep in t-minus 5 minutes. Too bad they live too far away to put him to bed every night.
No really. Like I said before, I’m not past bribing.
So, dear Super Nanny or any parent who has successful put their child to bed, if you are listening, or reading, give me some tips or at least post some on your Super Nanny website.
Oprah had a show today on making lists to help your wishes in love come true, but what about with your wishes with children. I guess it can’t hurt to try.
Here goes it:
I have a great son and I only wish for one thing, a simpler bedtime (notice I didn’t say stress free, I am very realistic). But I hope the times in between the getting out of bed attempts, get longer and eventually, go away and he falls asleep, or at least stay in his bed.
I also hope if my face gives it away, meaning I’m firm but not calm. I wish for calmness (another simple wish, well, another wish).
Otherwise, I wish at bedtime, until things get easier to channel my inner Super Nanny, lovable and firm, calm and understanding, she doesn’t take crap from anyone, especially not even those under 4 feet tall.
And Jo Frost a.k.a Super Nanny, if you are ever in the area, feel free to stop by, inspect my bedtime routine and give me some pointers (I know I may be wishing on the stars with that one, but no harm in a wish).
I know I sound completely desperate, but bedtime desperation has no limits.