making bedtime easier . . .
So, we had a great routine going, pretty much flawless. But after some vacationing and a longer separation from dad, my 2.5 year-old is throwing a curveball at bedtime - refusing to get in bed most of the time, kicking the covers off and then asking me to put them on (then kicking them off again and again), saying "I want . . . " and trailing off so that I am standing there endlessly listening for the rest of the sentence, interrupting our bedtime song to say he wants water, but it is right next to his head. It doesn't work anymore to say "you can lie down all by yourself or I can put you down and pull the covers up for you." It's just not working! I have tried a bit to tell him that his dad is here to stay and I am not going to leave (he was worried about that, too), but I don't know how to address those underlying fears, especially when he is really focused on kicking the sheets, jumping off of things (then bumping his head), etc.
I think it might help to take a step back and give him more decision-making power in the bedtime routine, but I still want him to get enough sleep. Sometimes, if I don't push my bedtime agenda, he asks to go to sleep. Would you leave it up to your toddler to tell you when to put him to sleep? Or are there other ways to give some power over? I was thinking of making a poster of the bedtime routine, with choices at some of the steps for him. I don't know.
Does anyone have any ideas for me? I feel like the way we are doing it now is not working and he's feeling my irritation, rather than getting his needs met.