One parent at bedtime, 2 little ones--how is it done? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In about 10 days I'm going to be putting both our ds (almost 3) and dd (8 months) to bed by myself every night. My dh works nights and usually my MIL puts my dd to sleep while I put ds to sleep, but MIL is going to visit family for a few months and I don't know how I will manage! We co-sleep (ds with dh, dd with me). About once a week, I put both dc to sleep myself and it does not go well. Here's what hasn't been working: My ds hates to go to bed, so I ask him if he wants to go watch TV with mommy in mommy's room. The 3 of us go to my bed, and I dim the lights. I attempt to nurse my dd to sleep, while allowing ds to watch TV. After dd goes to sleep, I tell ds it's time to go to sleep, and turn off the TV. Then the fight starts--I want water, I want yogurt, jumping on the bed, etc. I tell him no, time to sleep. The fight wakes up his sister, who then wants to play with her brother. I finally get ds to lay down to go to sleep, he wants me to scratch his back, but my dd won't leave him alone. I end up standing next to the bed, holding dd, rubbing ds' back while dd makes her baby noises. I think this makes my ds feel rejected (because I can't lay down next to him), and it takes hours to get them both to sleep (after dd wakes up, she'll stay up till 1 or 2 in the morning). I get up very early for work, so I really need some new ideas. Any suggestions?
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#2 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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When I gotta put my two girls to sleep alone, I do what you do. But I don't turn off the TV, I just let her watch until she falls asleep. : Or it would be the same as what you say. I also make sure I have a drink for her (she ALWAYS wants a drink right before she falls asleep, I think just to distract herself) etc. Luckily if she's tired enough she'll fall asleep within a half hour or 45 minutes. If it seems like it's going to take longer, once the little one is sleeping I sneak us both out of bed to go out into the living room, where I just try to get her to sleep out there.

I wish I had a better solution, too!
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#3 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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When DH traveled for work and was gone several months, I drove my kids to sleep. Lots of gas $ but I enjoyed the quiet time and it put them to sleep. I just carried them into their beds when we got home. Now with 3, I nurse newborn, DS#2 watches TV with a snack while I put DS#1 to sleep. Then put DD in swing while I put DS#2 to sleep. Then DD and I go to bed. :
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#4 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 08:58 PM
 
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hmm... i put three to bed by myself. i nurse the baby to sleep while i read to the older two and then i have my son turn off the lights. i tuck them in, give kisses, and then lay there quietly pretending to be asleep until they fall asleep. usually i fall asleep too though, even though i don't want to! :

could you skip the tv? i thought that typically wound kids up.

and make sure you don't give into any of his requests. make sure he has had enough to eat and drink before bed and then dont give him water, yogurt, etc., after bedtime. it is probably just a stall tactic, right? i sometimes put them to bed w/ a sippy cup of water in case they get thirsty...

hth.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 10:00 PM
 
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ha see my posts in childhood years...same problem. books on cd have helped. can you sling the baby down first and just sit next to him? what about telling him to sleep in a mattress or sleeping bag next to the bed until he can lay still. there is a rule in our bed- no talking or playing...ie no jumping or screaming in baby's face!

gosh if ds would fall asleep watching tv i'd totally do it. he really needs it dark, quiet, and boring.
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#6 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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When my DH is out of town (which has been quite often since dd2 was born), I put dd2 (6 months) in the living room with a bunch of toys while I nurse dd1 (34mo) to sleep in the bed she shares with DH. She typically doesn't fall asleep until after I've left the room, but she doesn't make a big deal out of it anymore like she knows the rules are different when Daddy is away.

I run back to the living room whenever dd2 starts fussing. I nurse her to sleep, stay up for a little bit, and then put her down when I'm ready for bed and bring dd1 in with us and nurse for a few minutes.

I will say that I did have a few hair-pulling-out nights at first, with babes crying for me while I ran up and down the hall trying to make them both happy. But now it's a lot easier.

Another key thing here is to stick to the routine. We do bath, teeth brushing, stories, and then bed every night, whether or not Daddy is here. That helps a LOT with my high needs dd1.
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#7 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eldadeedlit View Post
hmm... i put three to bed by myself. i nurse the baby to sleep while i read to the older two and then i have my son turn off the lights. i tuck them in, give kisses, and then lay there quietly pretending to be asleep until they fall asleep. usually i fall asleep too though, even though i don't want to! :

could you skip the tv? i thought that typically wound kids up.

and make sure you don't give into any of his requests. make sure he has had enough to eat and drink before bed and then dont give him water, yogurt, etc., after bedtime. it is probably just a stall tactic, right? i sometimes put them to bed w/ a sippy cup of water in case they get thirsty...

hth.
this is us, exactly (except only 2 kids). dh works swing shift often, and neither kid wants him at bedtime even if he is home (although dd2 is papa's girl the rest of the time). feed a snack (yogurt, banana, etc.), pee, read, kisses, sippy cup. we talk a few minutes while i'm nursing dd2, then i say "quiet time," and ignore further converational bait. i'll stroke dd1's head, but no hand holding: she gets hooked and then wakes me at night to hold hands. if dd1 tries getting up, thrashing around or other misbehavior i treat it like misbehavior: consequences. and (this may be controversial here) i also let them know that mama is there to help them get to sleep, not to talk or play, and that i will not stay if they're trying to stay awake, and will leave for a few minutes (put a load of laundry in), then agree to come back if they will be quiet and try to sleep. but most often i just fall asleep with or even before them. and i tire them out at the playground most days after school, and try to time bedtime for that window where they're tired but not winding back up yet.

i also spend evenings at friends' houses, bring pjs and drive them to sleep on the way home a couple times/week when dh's on swing shift (about 1/3 time).

so rereading your post, the fight starts after dd is asleep, because that's when you say "it's bedtime." maybe try to make it officially ds's bedtime before then, so the fight happens on the way to bed (mine melts down at teeth time), then the fight is over before dd is asleep. maybe music or books on tape instead of tv? the tv going off when dd1 is sleepy almost always provokes a meltdown; if we do watch, i make sure teeth are brushed before the end of the video (pause it) so there's incentive for cooperation. and i try to stick to quiet videos, like kipper or the comfy couch, not screaming dizney chase scenes.

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#8 of 13 Old 01-19-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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what i do is dd 4 puts on pj's while ds is on potty EC'ed then one of us picks a book we read the book nurse ds same time 1/2 the time then we say our good nights and then lights off and it is time to sleep she knows that she dont have to sleep just stay in bed would say quietly but she cant stop talking : so i say no talking loudly then i start to get ds 3m ready for bed finish nursing him and then he falls asleep
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#9 of 13 Old 01-20-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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We're pretty much in the same boat as you - 3 yr. old ds and 8 month old dd. Usually what works for us is the following:

-I try not to let my ds fall asleep during the day for a nap.

-I make sure that he gets enough physical exercise during the day, like a hike or dance class or playing outside in the snow.

-We get him to eat dinner relatively early, and then sit him at the table to nibble on something extra while my partner and I and my dd eat. By that time, he's usually exhausted (around 6:30). Then, after dinner, my partner and I get both kids ready for bed.

-After that, I nurse my dd while reading something way over my ds's head. Something that has a rhythm to it, like Milton or T.S. Eliot or something. It usually knocks him out right away, and my dd falls asleep while nursing. If he doesn't want grownup poetry, we read children's poetry and then he nurses after my dd is done and falls asleep.

I think that the rhythm of poetry or lullabies help people's minds to calm down and forget about all the little things that might be bothering them and preventing them from getting rest.
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#10 of 13 Old 01-20-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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establishing a routine is key. i do it with a 3.5 yo and 16 mo half the week since dh works nights, half the week!
we do bath, brush teeth, jammies, ds gets to pick 2 books. i nurse the baby while we read books, the light goes off and it's bedtime. we take care of things like drinks before we get into bed. he tried all those things at first but now that the routine is set, he knows what to expect and seriously have not had any issues for months. i agree with the pp that it's good to make sure the kids get enough physical exercise in thed ay otherwise they still have some energy built up that needs an outlet! one of the big helpers is older son doesn't take naps anymore so he is spent by 8 anyway. and if he does for some reason fall asleep in the day, i don't even fight it, i put baby down and the older one and i watch a movie!
good luck!
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#11 of 13 Old 01-20-2007, 01:55 PM
 
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Ok. When I am off from work and am home with the kids I try to get them to take an early nap. I feed them dinner between 4 and 5PM. Baths after that. I let them play until they cranky.We brush teeth. Then, we watch some sort of movie with the lights very dim. This is our wind down. I will then take DS( 6 months) and put him in his swing in my bedroom and wind him up. I take both daughters and lay in the middle of the bed with one on either side of me (king size bed) and sing the entire family to sleep. It works like a charm. Nobody has ever fallen out the bed. Poor DS has been left in the swing at my bedside because I passed out. But, I usually put him in his crib (at the foot of my bed) after he falls asleep. Good luck!!!!

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#12 of 13 Old 01-21-2007, 01:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dovey View Post
We're pretty much in the same boat as you - 3 yr. old ds and 8 month old dd. Usually what works for us is the following:

-I try not to let my ds fall asleep during the day for a nap.

-I make sure that he gets enough physical exercise during the day, like a hike or dance class or playing outside in the snow.

-We get him to eat dinner relatively early, and then sit him at the table to nibble on something extra while my partner and I and my dd eat. By that time, he's usually exhausted (around 6:30). Then, after dinner, my partner and I get both kids ready for bed.

-After that, I nurse my dd while reading something way over my ds's head. Something that has a rhythm to it, like Milton or T.S. Eliot or something. It usually knocks him out right away, and my dd falls asleep while nursing. If he doesn't want grownup poetry, we read children's poetry and then he nurses after my dd is done and falls asleep.

I think that the rhythm of poetry or lullabies help people's minds to calm down and forget about all the little things that might be bothering them and preventing them from getting rest.
Love this! And it made me giggle too!

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#13 of 13 Old 01-21-2007, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wonderful suggestions--I will let you know what works, but truly, my dd is a bigger challenge to me at bedtime (I know how to get ds to sleep, it's just a struggle), but I don't know how to get her to sleep (nursing doesn't do the trick). Any suggestions for an 8 month old? It's so good to know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. I was feeling like a bad mommy.
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