The Bedtime Battle

For the last few weeks, bedtime has been a complete and total disaster.

While K didn’t start sleeping through the night until about 15 months or so, she has been remarkably good at going to bed on her own since about 7 or 8 months. We have the same bedtime routine (stories, singing, prayers, and bed), and she usually snuggles up with her buddies, then falls asleep on her own within about 15 minutes. It’s a wonderful trait, and I didn’t realize how much I relied on my ‘me’ time after 7:30pm until this phase hit. The sleep monster phase.

On Sundays, I have K to myself while J works. One Sunday night, as we were winding down our evening, I asked K which pyjamas she wanted to wear. And instead of choosing some, and lying down for me to put them on her, she started screaming. “No Mama, I don’t WANT that jammas.” The fighting, flailing and general tantrum-ing didn’t stop until I relented, and decided it was warm enough in her room to go to bed in just a diaper. So we chose a few books to read, and I went to sit down in the rocking chair. “No Mama, MY chair! I sit there!” The screaming began again, and once again, I gave in and let her sit down in the rocking chair. We read three books, said our prayers, and I lifted her into her crib.

Her little legs clamped around my waist, and she started wailing. “No Mama, I don’t WANT bed. Not bed!” I had to peel her off of me, lay her down in her crib with her buddies, and rub her back until she calmed down. I sang another few songs, and left, hoping that this was a one-off and she would fall asleep soon.

Over an hour and a half later, she was still chatting in her crib. She demanded a banana, more songs, another book, all of her buddies (she’d thrown them on the floor), and a new diaper. I’d given in to all of the above (especially after she removed her diaper), and she still wouldn’t fall asleep. Finally, I lay down beside her on the floor and held her hand until, magically, she drifted off to sleep.

I texted J at work to rant about the awful bedtime we’d had, never thinking it would be more than just a one-off.

That was three weeks ago.

IMG_6144J, lying beside her crib, trying to get her to sleep.

IMG_5966One of a thousand bedtime stories (she’s ditched the Zippy now)

IMG_6154Sorting her bedtime snack, tucking them in; another stall tactic

Since then, we’ve been dealing with similar iterations of the same thing. Demands for snacks, diaper changes, more water, more books, fewer books, and many, many more songs. We gave in at first, attributing some of it to the springtime cold we had all caught. Then we started getting stricter, capping the books at 4 and the songs at 9 (three renditions each of Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells and Jesus Loves Me, her nightly requests). We’ve tried moving bedtime later, and then earlier, both to no avail.

As I sit here writing, she has been in her crib, talking to herself, for over an hour. She’s not upset (though getting her pyjamas on was a nightmare), but she just won’t fall asleep. She woke up from nap at a reasonable hour, had plenty of time outside and activity to tire her out. She hasn’t had any sugar close to bedtime. And yet, she still won’t sleep.

I’m at a bit of a loss at this point in time. With a baby on the way, I’m a little terrified about what this prolonged bedtime might do to me. On the other hand, I know that this is just a phase, and that eventually it will pass.

What has your experience been like? Please don’t tell me its time to drop a nap (she’s 22 months…I can’t handle that!). Any tips for this weary mama?

One thought on “The Bedtime Battle

  1. No advice, but sending you lots of patience and chocolate. Maybe telling her an hour before bed that she has X amount of time to finish what she wants to do for the day so that she doesn’t feel like her play time is being cut short?

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