‘I think’ I may have mentioned that some things have been difficult as of late. One of these things has been the changed routine to baby girl’s bedtime.
You see, before we moved, I would go into her room with her… we’d do a little sing-song of the ABC displayed on her drawers, followed by her turning off the light and subsequently finding me in the dark… then I would stand by her cot and gently prod her to come over… when she did I would pick her up, put her in the cot, and then wait another few minutes while she got the last shred of energy she had out by jumping about the cot like a maniac… and then she would request some water, so I would bring some to her…
And then, she would lie down, I would kiss her forehead, whisper I love you, and creep out of the room while she fell asleep on her own.
Any non-parents wanna become parents after that description?!
Wait, it gets better…
After moving, things have clearly changed. Not only are we in a new house, but she is in a new room, downstairs, while we are upstairs. And also, I decided to start afresh and plonk her straight in a proper bed and out of her cot.
When I tried to leave her room in this house, she would simply follow me out. Well, she could. So why not? It’s a game of course, bedtime that is, and staying up and aggravating your parents is the most natural thing for a toddler to do…
So I had to change things up. Introduce a wind-down routine. We read books. At the moment, our nightly quota is 5 books. Here’s how it goes:
We read 5 books… then I tell her I’m getting her a sip of water… I get the water, while she looks around disinterested, pretending to read, staring at her Dora bedsheets… when I leave the room, she suddenly comes charging after me, now wanting the water… I go back in her room, giving her water… she reacts very slowly, as if she has just had 10 litres of water… she eventually has water after I threaten her with something, like no more babycinos/no more beach/flies will come into her room if she doesn’t behave… one of these tactics works and after her water she lies in bed… I then turn off the light and sit at the edge of her bed until she falls asleep, and I only can guess at this by the sound of her breathing… and then I proceed to creep out of the room as stealthily as I can, Tom Cruise Mission-Impossible style, my heart racing intensely and breathing a sigh of relief when I am out.
Don’t ask me what happens if she wakes up while I’m creeping out. It’s happened twice, and it’s so frustrating.
You know, the above would actually be funny if it weren’t happening to me.
The huge difference between the two, other than the obvious varying routines from old house to new, is the fact that in old house, I could leave her to fall asleep on her own since she was in a cot and couldn’t get out… in the new house, if I leave her to fall asleep on her own, she follows me because she can… so to counteract I sit there until she is asleep.
I lose about 30 plus minutes sometimes waiting for her to fall asleep, and then subsequently acting like Tom Cruise on my exit out. That’s 30 plus minutes of writing time, catching-up-on-anything time, me time, lost. It’s not like I’m spending those 30 plus minutes doing something special, or bonding with her. I’m just hunched over, getting cramps in my legs and thinking there is no way I can keep this up when I am eventually pregnant again.
But, lately we’ve been doing something different that makes it all the more bearable.
The last couple of nights I’ve climbed into bed with her to read, instead of sitting on her toybox beside her bed. And tonight, she moved over to make some room, and patted the spot next to her as if to say “here Mum.”
It didn’t change anything about the routine itself, it still played itself out like every other night… but somehow, lying next to her and pointing to animals and letters and colours in her books, was made that much more special by our heads being so close by.
You know non-parents, you should have kids… moments like that are what we live for, and they’re the sweetest gifts there are to receive.