Time for Bed

fussy Z edit

“When I think of the bedtime routine with my kids, it’s like this royal coronation jubilee centennial of rinsing, and plaque, and dental appliances, and the stuffed animals semi-circle of emotional support.”
-Jerry Seinfeld

The bedtime routine is not for pansies. You never really know how it’s going to go down.

In my house, we have several, very specific steps to get the toddler to sleep.

It starts out with time warnings.

“Z, ten minutes until bedtime.”

“Okay, five more minutes.”

Then we brush teeth. This is assuming, of course, she hasn’t broken down into a pile of screams on the floor (yet).

Back when we first started using a tooth brush, she wasn’t having it. So I thought I would try something. She would brush her teeth, while I brushed mine. Then she would brush my teeth. And lastly, I would brush hers.

There are a few things going on here. One, she’s copying me and learning how to brush her teeth. Two, she gets to feel like she has a bit of control while she’s brushing mine, (if you do this, be on your guard, toddlers tend to brush straight in your mouth-to your throat. At least the first few times.) Third, I get to brush her teeth and actually get them clean.

This part of the routine lasted a few months but has since transitioned into just her teeth getting brushed. I will always insist on being the one to put the toothpaste on, if it was up to her, she would eat that nasty stuff for an after dinner snack.

Next we get her sippy cup ready for bed, (I know!! I need to get rid of this step! Get off of me about it!) Then, and this is very important, I need to carry her downstairs to her room.

I put her night time diaper on. She turns her music on-God forbid that I do it. No biggie, if I forget and accidentally turn it on, she has a hissy fit, turns it off then turns it back on.

The drawn out process of choosing three books begins. Never mind the fact that she wants the same three books for weeks at a time. Kids at this time of day are master stallers.

Once the books are chosen, it’s time to shove daddy to the floor so she can climb onto his back by way of his calves, then count to ten and leap into bed. Daddy is not allowed to count, only mama. We count to ten, then she says, “NO! I want to count to nine!” Fine, count to nine, then she jumps.

Read the books in bed with the little lady. When we get to the third one, the questions start. Who’s that? What are they doing? Why? Whatever it takes to make that final book last.

“My bedtime story when I was a kid – darkness.”-Jerry Seinfeld

Good night hugs and kisses and a promise to return after I “clean the kitchen,” I leave the little lovely to fall asleep.

Luckily for now, the boy goes to sleep pretty easily. How old are they when they really start to fine-tune their manipulation skills? He’ll be there in no time I’m sure.

tired R edit

On a good day, the whole ordeal takes about 25 minutes. Not tonight though. Tonight we had two screamers. Which means no storytime, which, of course, means more screaming.

How does the dreaded much anticipated bedtime routine go down in your house?

18 thoughts on “Time for Bed

  1. Theresa (Capri + 3) says:

    I love your funny stories and can relate to the ups and downs of bedtime. Now, have four just turned 4 years-old children. I have been singing the same song every night which I think now has a sleep-inducing effect (because that’s the only time I sing it). I also use incentives for staying in bed, such as getting to do a favorite activity in the morning. Otherwise, it can quickly turn into a ‘wild’ preschool party!

    • mamabyfire says:

      Thank you! That’s right! Four that are 4-at bedtime? I love that your song puts them to sleep. So awesome! Haha! I’ve tried the next day incentives, but always too late, when she’s into full on tantrum mode. Perhaps I should try sooner. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Naomi says:

    We give her the allergy medicines about 20 minutes before bedtime or when she starts looking really sleepy on her own. When the time comes, we say it’s time to brush her teeth. Sometimes, she tired enough to come along quietly or excited enough about toothpaste, etc. Other times, she’s tired and cranky and whines. She brushes her teeth, I check the ones that she sometimes misses, she washes the toothpaste off her face, out of her mouth, and does alcohol-free mouthwash. We race upstairs for lotion, pick out a book, read it in bed. She gets a big hug and kiss, makes sure she’s the one who grabs her dragon (who eats nightmares), I escape with “I love you” and make sure her white noise maker is on. I sit in the hallway with the door cracked for five minutes to make sure she’s quiet (and so she thinks I’m sitting with her the whole time she’s trying to get to sleep).

  3. Katie says:

    oh I can’t even talk about bedtime or ill get anxiety…I feel like the only parent who has failed miserably at getting my children to sleep through the night…let alone their own bed

    • mamabyfire says:

      You’re not the only parent, i promise!! We have our goods night and bad. It can be so frustrating! I just keep telling myself that one day I’ll have to wake them up for school because they’ll want to sleep in.

  4. Christine says:

    Uhg…we are just trying to start a new routine. Basically I am kicking her out of my bed because I am tired of her falling asleep with me and then me having to move her into her own bed. It sucks. There isn’t a better word to describe it.

  5. Jennifer Corter says:

    Bedtime at our house tends to be one of two things. If my little guy is tired, we’ll read him a story, he won’t fuss and he’ll go right out. Or other times, he’ll want to do EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING HE CAN THINK OF right before bed.

  6. Natasha says:

    Ah, bedtime. Somehow it is all ways magically way later than it should be when we finally close their door, even if we start early! Glad I’m not alone. 😉

  7. Amanda Evans says:

    Haha I very much relate to this, and love the quotes you’ve sprinkled in. It has been amazing to see how little ones naturally learn this art of persuasion/procrastination. Usually if my toddler takes a bath fairly easy, then he’ll drag his feet on the books and bed part. Other times it seems when getting to bath time is torture, once we’re there its smooth sailing. Sometimes I’m guilty of wanting to prolong our times together too though 🙂 Thanks for the great post!

    • mamabyfire says:

      Thank you!! They’re so young when they learn it too! My daughter is usually all or nothing. She either fights until the end, or she’s really sweet. Thanks for stopping by!!

  8. melissajane01 says:

    You’re too funny! Oh yes, my kids are master procrastinators. They always act like they are starving right before bed. I have learned that oatmeal after dinner helps them go to bed more quickly.

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