I've got to rethink our bedtime routine-
I have two boys, ages 5 and 2 1/2. 4 nights a week my husband is at work so I do the bedtime routine by myself. We've always had a very consistent routine of: dinner between 5:30 and 6:00, bath at 6:30, in pajamas and teeth brushing at 7:00. If all that goes smoothly we have plenty of time for each of them to hear a story, then after lights are out I lay down with them to sing a couple of songs before they go to sleep, which is usually around 8:00. Most nights this all goes pretty well, as long as they are both fairly cooperative.
Here's the problem. My 5 yr old DAWDLES. I've tried different approaches to dealing with it; for instance, ignoring it completely and leaving him to do things in his own time (which can lead to him taking FOREVER to get dressed, brush his teeth, etc.), gently prodding him along, using a kitchen timer, being playful and having "contests" to see how fast he can get dressed, and then the worst option, losing it and yelling at him. Tonight my 2 1/2 yr old was quite cooperative about getting in his pj's and brushing his teeth (which is not always the case!); when I came back to their bedroom my 5 yr old was still laying on his bed completely naked and just hanging out. For some reason this really triggers something in me, and I just have no patience for it! I did the gentle prodding to get him to put his bottoms and top on; I think I finally had to help him get his top on and he was acting all limp like a rag doll and saying how tired he was. Then I had to go get some water for ds2 in the kitchen and when I came back, ds1 was lying on his bed again, with his head hanging down toward the floor. When I told him it was time to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth, he claimed that he couldn't get off his bed and could I please pick him up? At this point I'm ready to snap and I began to yell, telling him that for a 5 year old kid to say that he can't get himself up off of a toddler bed (yes, he's still using one; we're getting bunk beds in a month or so) is RIDICULOUS, and I demanded that he get himself up off the bed right away or there wouldn't be time for his story. He then finally gets up and limply slumps to the bathroom and I'm practically having to hold him up while he goes to brush his teeth. The worst part is, I know deep down that the kid probably was really tired, but I have these expectations of him that are possibly unrealistic. I just get so sick of having to tell him many times to get dressed, brush his teeth, when he's old enough and capable of doing these things quickly.
So as I'm typing this I realize that I'm being completely unrealistic and harsh and I feel just terrible. I did have him sit on my lap after all of this was done and let him know that I always love him, even if his actions have made me angry. Then as we read stories and I tucked them in, I feel wracked with guilt for having ended the day this way. I normally can control my temper better than this, but inevitably there are nights like this one where I'm out of patience and my nerves are frayed by bedtime.
If anyone out there has any suggestions for how to avoid this ugly scenario, I'd love to hear them!