The words of my son, Asher, almost every day that we lay him down for his 1 nap. “Oh, yes there is a nap buddy” is my usual reply. We read books, sing a lullaby or two and snuggle before we say our good nights and love you’s. He normally goes down for his nap easily and wakes 2 hours later full of boy energy once he gets fully acclimated to the daylight. Then 7pm rolls around and getting ready for bed is a whole other chore. I hate it. Hate is a very strong word and I use it rarely. But, I truly, with all my heart, hate most of bedtime. Reading involves one or both of the kids jumping off the walls, which causes Dave or myself to stop reading the book. Yelling, crying, screaming ensues until there is the inevitable “I’m listening” or “Ok, we’ll listen”. Other times, the book just gets put away and then there is more crying, yelling, etc. I refuse to give in once the book is put away. They have to learn somehow to just sit and listen to the book, right? A part of me says that they are kids, 2 1/2 and 6. I can’t expect them to sit for a long book. Madelyn, yes. But Asher? Probably not every time and for only short books. Lullaby’s and cuddling are also insane. Asher is usually hopping from bed to bed, crawling on the floor, doing somersaults, or anything else besides cuddling. But yet, he’s crying when no one cuddles with him.
Keep in mind that due to our small house, the kids share a bedroom. Not ideal for a 6 and 2 1/2 year old. But it’s our only option for right now until we sell the house. After the books have been read and a lullaby or 2 has been sung, the lights are out and each child gets to snuggle with mom and dad for a few minutes. As we walk out of their bedroom door, gloom sets in. Madelyn will try and go to sleep since she’s in school all day and by this time of night, she is cranky and wiped out. Asher, on the other hand, is ready for a party. He usually will fall asleep by 9:30pm, if we’re lucky. We holler for him to go to sleep. We threaten and then take away beloved stuffed animals and blankets. We take away TV, kindles, and toys for tomorrow. We cuddle some more. We talk sweetly to him. We move Madelyn into our room so that she can sleep because Asher rummages through toys and jumps on her bed or throws his PJs at her. By this point, Madelyn is usually crying for Asher to be quiet and to go to sleep because she is tired. We are at a loss. We don’t want him to stay up until 10pm with us because this is our only time together or Dave’s only time of peace if I am working. What are we doing wrong? How do so many other parents get their kids to bed so easily?
After reaching a breaking point the other night, I texted my friend, Sara, who has a son 1 month younger than Asher. Nelson hardly naps anymore, but he has quiet time. Oh no. No more naps????? I don’t know if I can do this. Would he stay in his room for quiet time? He can’t read yet! What would he do? But, what other options did I have? I hate screaming at the kids every. single. night. I hate being the screaming mom who then can’t even enjoy time with her husband because I am so wound up and then feeling guilty about yelling. I was at my wits end. I didn’t think it would come to this at a mere 2 years at 10 months. Madelyn napped until she was 3 1/2 years old. I wasn’t ready for an un-napped Asher. But, I had to try this. After all, I tried everything else.
Yesterday, was our first day doing the no nap thing. Dave put him upstairs for alone time along with Dave’s tablet to play games on. He lasted for 40-45 min, but Dave had to go up there every once in a while to help him with a game. Not ideal for alone time, but he was asleep by 8pm. We only had to go up there 1 time to remind them both that it was time for bed. Not great, but about a million times than the day before. Today, I put him upstairs with Madelyn’s kindle, which has Kindle Freetime on it, so there’s no fear of him buying games, movies, etc. He’s been in alone time for over an hour and half and I’ve gone upstairs 3 times to help him figure out a game that he started to play or a to find a “kissmas” show. But, he’s quiet and he is telling me “go, momma” when I am still sitting next to his toddler bed. I’ll take it.
I have to go into work tonight, so Dave will be putting them to bed alone. I hope it goes even better than last night. But, if it doesn’t and it’s not any worse, it’s totally fine with me! Anything is better than what we were going through at bedtime. The less stress, the better. Also, he doesn’t seem to be any better or worse in the evening hours. He’s the same Asher, for now at least.