Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Bedtime Wars

When we first put William to sleep in his big boy bed, I was pleasantly surprised. He went to sleep just as easily as in the crib, and in the morning he was much happier because he could get out of bed by himself (no need to scream for Mommy). This is easy, thought I, I'm the greatest Mommy ever.

One day William had a fever and, according to my theory, this is when things started to go wrong. I lay with him all day and, by the time he was better, he had gotten used to the good life.

So our bedtime routine is thus:

Bath (usually)
I lie with him until he falls asleep

For a while I was the only one who had problems with this. I would read him ten books before he even agreed to lie down. I lay with him until I thought he was completely dead asleep (or I really had to pee) then slink out from under his near comatose little body. Somehow, he would still wake up and scream and scream. I would then declare it Daddy's turn. My husband went in and came out 5 minutes later: "He's asleep."

Adam's theory (said with pouty face) is that William only wants to hang out with me, so that makes it harder for me to leave his room. My theory is that I'm more of a push-over, so William knows he can get what he wants from me. This makes it especially hard at nap time, when Adam isn't around to tag team.

To correct my pushover reputation, I have since limited his books at night to three. I let him pick each one out and I'll tell him "This is the first story, story number one" then "this is the second story, story number two," then "this is the third story, number three, the last story." Who knows if this is understandable to a child who calls every number (and some letters) "two, two, two." At least it makes me feel like I have some measure of control. Unfortunately, I still have to lie with him until he's dead asleep to have any success.

The obvious answer to this problem (at least for me) is to have Adam put William to bed every night.  He'll likely have to take over anyway when the new baby arrives.  Unfortunately Adam has started to have problems too, particularly when I am on my computer, and I can be seen from the hallway outside William's room.  But eventually, one of us gets our son to sleep.

When we're lucky, he sleeps until morning.

On every other night, he wakes up at midnight, one, or two am, wanting nothing except a parent to sleep with.  He just saunters into our bedroom, always to my side of the bed, and demands to be picked up and cuddled immediately. We try to get him to go to sleep, each of us taking turns lying with him and fighting to stay awake longer than he does so we have a chance of making it back to our nice comfy grown-up bed.  Of course, being exhausted, we're more likely to give in to William's demands.  Last night, my husband slept from one am until seven am in William's car bed.

As I write this, Adam is putting William to bed.  Though I love my son dearly, I hope I won't see him again for at least ten hours.

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