Ideas for making bedtime routine more pleasant? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 08-26-2004, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everybody,

I have a 4 1/2 yo, an 18 mo, and am five months pregnant. I also co sleep with dh (well sometimes, depends on which bed we've rolled onto, lol) and our 2 other babies (cats). Dh has been working at night lately, which leaves it up to me to get the 2 little guys to bed at night. It is freakin' impossible. I swear, if it goes like this for one more night I'm gonna blow a gasket or something.

Here is our routine:
eat dinner
take a bath
read stories

at this time, its about 8:00, at which time the kids commence going completely insane. Torturing the cats, torturing each other, running around (ok, the four year old doesn't).

I finally lose it and tell the four year old to get in bed and not move. I try to nurse the baby down. He climbs all over me, switches sides back and forth, says silly things that make his brother laugh. I finally get him to calm down and nurse, he has to switch sides again, which takes brother's side of me away, brother get's feeling's hurt and runs into other room crying...I chase after brother. Baby runs off and commences torturing cat...Get older brother into bed, baby running around naked like a mad man. Have to rub brother's feet...must get children to bed...must have sleep...By the time they usually fall asleep (out of sheer exhaustion, not by any of my doing, mind you) its 10:30 or 11:00. Which would be fine,but we have to get up at 6 in the morning to drive into town, so ds can be at preschool by 8:00. We all need sleep...I need sleep. Desperately!!!!

Help. How am I going to add a baby to this madness?

It's usually fine in the evening's when dh is home. We separate them and then put them in our bed, and all is well and peaceful. But he's going to be working nights for awhile. I can't put them in their own room, either. They aren't ready for it emotionally, and I'm waiting for their cues.
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#2 of 3 Old 08-26-2004, 02:24 PM
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I can relate. I have a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and an 8 month old and we all (including dh and the 3 cats) sleep together in our huge bed made of two mattresses on the floor. Bedtime is not easy, even though dh helps get them all cleaned up and ready (I do the actual putting to sleep part). I don't have a magic solution for you, but I will share with you that bedtime became easier for us when we eliminated the bath. First of all, it just prolonged the whole thing. Second, the bath seems to rile them up. I know, or at least I always thought, that bath is supposed to be relaxing but when my kids get in the tub it's playtime. Or they're relaxed in the tub but go nuts as soon as they get out. I do not know why. Now I bathe them at any other time that fits into the day.

The only thing I have found that gets all my kids quiet at the same time is to turn off the lights, latch the baby on, and tell my older two (who are snuggling on each side of me) that when they're quiet I'll tell them a story. Not read a book, but make up a story. I make them the main characters (once there was a little boy named G and a little girl named C who had a baby sister named O...) and try to keep the theme the same. So far the most relaxing story is the one about the Sleep Fairy who helps the kids go to sleep after a busy day (this seems to work because the fairy sprinkles sleep dust on each body part so that it relaxes-it's like a guided progressive relaxation). They like funny stories, but it gets them going too much.

Once the story is over, they want to cuddle and the oldest wants to chat about her day. I tell them that I will cuddle with them both when the baby is asleep (but in reality I'm already cuddling with whoever is on the side the baby isn't and then we'll all rearrange ourselves so that I'm in between the older two).

Someday this will probably stop working and I'll have to find something else, but for now we're starting the bedtime routine at 7:45 or so and I'm downstairs with dh relaxing by 9:00 (often earlier, it depends on how long it takes the baby to go to sleep and how long after that it takes the others to settle down-I don't stay with them until they're asleep, just until they're good and relaxed). Good luck! You'll figure something out.
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#3 of 3 Old 08-26-2004, 02:40 PM
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only 1 kiddo here.
we read stories in bed. gotta get to work.sorry so short.

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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