I have a 2 and a half year old and a 5 year old. I try to do dinner at 6-6:30 (often they aren't hungry at that time so get hungry later - do you feed them?). Then, 7-7:30 pm is bathtime. I try to do stories at 8pm, but they are jumping up and down or my 5 year old (the real issue) starts acting wild. I feel her anxiety, her chaos and I don't know how to help her. I think she needs me, my undivided attention but once the lights go off, my 2 and half year old needs me, or so he's made me think. I end up yelling at both. My 5 year old knows the rules, but isn't following them anymore: to stay in bed and be quiet and still so I could get the baby to sleep. And, the 2 and a half year old is taking over an hour to fall asleep... and he's last to sleep, first to rise. They both want me to lie with them and I can't, even though they share a room, it's like they both want me on their bed with them. One night, I tried just looking at my 5 year old while she talked and talked and thought that's what she needs, but I can't make that happen every night - depends on the 2.5 year old's mood or level of sleepiness. I also have tried turning the lights off in my bed with both in there after reading books, but the 2.5 year old insists on going to bed in his own bed. I don't know what to do. I end up yelling and screaming because I'm so exhausted and I'm sure they are scared of nighttime now because I'm feeling so angry every night. Not to mention, they are both waking up like every hour or more from 2am on. I came home today after getting them to school and tried to nap, but couldn't. I don't sleep easily during the day and sometimes have insomnia (like when one kid wakes me up at 2am and then I can't fall back asleep until 4am). I don't know what's wrong with my own brain and behavior so how can I help my kids sleep when I can't even help myself sleep?
By the way, I also have made up a "special bed" as Dr. Sears suggests on his website, but that doesn't prevent my 5 year old from waking me. And, my 2.5 year old, I'm not even thinking something like that would work with him yet.
If anyone can help me, I will sooo appreciate your time. I have wanted to get and give support here for years, but I can never seem to get on the computer because of sleep deprivation.... 5 years now. My oldest has been the most challenging child I have ever known or heard of, in many ways.... but also I know she's had lots of traumas too so I certainly don't blame her (well, except at bedtime? Ugh!) I just feel so horrible a mother!