Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Bedtime Dance

I just had to sit down and document the craziness that is bedtime while I'm on solo parenting duty. I do countless rounds of getting these little kiddos to sleep throughout the week, but bedtimes seem to be especially challenging. I think it's because Aden is tired and fussier than usual during the hours of 6:00pm - 8:00pm, and Tory is anything but those things. She seems to get one last burst of energy, and pulls out all the stops to delay her eminent bedtime. I'm sure this is nothing different than what's happening in a lot of homes with small children, but as I was in the midst of my little bedtime dance with these two, I realized how ridiculous it all is.

Here's how it usually goes down:

Around 6:00pm, Aden wakes up from his early evening power snooze and tends to be fussier than normal. He wants to be held which is super inconvenient for doing things like shoving food in my face or tidying up the house one last time. I shout out a few empty threats to Tory about finishing her dinner before bedtime. It never fails, she'll be famished and ready to eat at the very mention of settling down for the night.

On nights I'm doing the bedtime routine on my own, I try to start Tory into pajamas, brushing teeth and books earlier than normal because everything seems to take longer. That, and I'm exhausted by this point in the day. The sooner to bed, the sooner this Mama can finally collapse into bed myself.

It never fails, around 7:00pm as Tory's crawling into bed waiting for three books to be read to her, Aden has a crying fit. None of his usual favorites will suffice -- not the swing, his pacifier or the bouncy seat -- he must be held by me. I'll wear him in the Baby Bjorn while reading to Tory with my free hands. She starts to fuss because she wants me to sit down beside her, and I explain for the hundredth time that I can't because I'm bouncing Aden.

After three books, it's lights out. I stand next to Tory's bed and rub her belly in a clockwise motion with my right hand while still holding Aden in the Baby Bjorn on my chest. He requires his own series of bouncing, patting and shushing. It's like chewing gum, reading a book and walking at the same time. My extremities are doing different things and I have a hard time keeping it all in motion.

Finally Aden conks out in the Bjorn (thank goodness), so I've only got Tory to get to sleep. She asks for a drink (which I hand her) and a snack (which I deny her... should have eaten more food at dinnertime, kid). She says it's "too dark in my eyes" and stalls by making shadow puppets on the wall. Finally, I feel her little arms and legs twitch which is my sign she's fallen asleep. I exit her room with Aden still strapped in the Baby Bjorn and finish up chores around the house while he's still sleeping.

Around 8:00pm, Aden stirs in the baby carrier. I dress him in his Sleep Sack and nurse him once more before laying him down to sleep in his crib. Luckily, he's sleepy enough by this point that putting him down is easy.

When I was pregnant with Aden, I always wondered how I'd manage bedtime with two kids. I guess the answer is, I do what's necessary to get the job done ... even if it takes as many arms as an octopus to do it.


Naturally, I saw this clip posted on Facebook this morning and just had to laugh. Jerry Seinfeild talking about bedtime with his own kids. Too funny!


  1. It gets better pretty quick! It helps me to give them a bath at the same time and for me it helps to put Ethan down first. It's still challenging alone but better now than before. Tonight I had a high school girl come babysit Anna while I just had Ethan and it was a nice break and well worth the $. She's coming twice next week. Hang in there!

  2. Ah yes, the bedtime routine. That is always the hardest part of the day for me when the babies are still newborns. I remember feeling especially conflicted when A was born b/c I didn't want L to feel shortchanged. Eventually my babies end up going to sleep earlier (6:30 pm) than the "big kids" (7 pm) so it's easier to focus on them during their bedtime routine. But I remember feeling like an octopus too ;) It will get easier though, I promise!

  3. This is exactly how I envision life with two - many frantic hands doing different things to appease both kiddos. God forbid you actually want time to eat yourself. I barely get that with one!

  4. That was always one of the biggest challenges in the early days when A. was out of town. I remember one time there was a scheduled power outage from 6-10 pm and I didn't have my white noise (don't take my white noise from me!) and had to do things by flash light. It worked out just fine, of course, but OMG. It doesn't SEEM like it should be that hard and yet it is.

    Like the other moms said - it gets way easier with time. (Though I'm still pretty zapped by the end of the day.)

  5. Ha! Your post made me feel less alone. I still feel like I don't have it down yet either. I try to read to both of them at the same time, but of course Reese can't/won't sit still and Lauren wants LONG books. Reese power nurses for like an hour before bed so putting her to bed first is out - or I am helpless for an hour. I love laying and snuggling with Lauren but it just doesn't happen every night.

    I too am waiting for it to get easier - and quicker. It takes us a good hour to do books, bath, and fall asleep. (And Lauren is always SO HUNGRY! at bedtime too!)