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Question of the Week - Good Night, Sleep Tight

I've got so many things I want to post about, so many thoughts and moments I want to get down. However, the time I have for writing them has diminished. I really want to sit down after the kids go to bed and write up my posts and poems that are swimming around in my brain, unfortunately, by the time I get both kids to sleep, I'm exhausted and can't even put two words together.

As I mentioned recently in comments on an Ask Moxie post, I've been working with the Pumpkin to help her learn how to go to sleep by herself. I've taken over this responsibility from Londo, who had been putting her to bed, because I have this going-to-sleep training plan, which requires consistency in it being me and how she responds to me at bedtime. It was going really well, and I planned to write a post about the method I had used to get her to go to sleep all by herself! Then we went on vacation. When we got back, I was back at square one with her. URG!!!

So we are struggling, as seemingly always, with bedtimes in our house. I'm making progress with the Pumpkin, but she takes time for every transition. And although I'm no longer pumping milk for the Pookie, I am still nursing him at nights (and in mornings), so Londo can't just take him for the whole evening. On most nights, I end up putting both kids to bed.

And the Question of the Week is:

How does/do your kid/s go to bed at night?

Right now, I'm sitting on the floor next to the Pumpkin's bed maybe rubbing her back for "just one minute, and that's all" or with my hand not moving on her back. Once I can get her to lie still, that is. Getting her to lie still? That requires a LOT of talking, insisting, counting to three and finally me holding her still (because if she can't hold herself still, I will do it so she can learn how--and so she doesn't keep flinging her less-coordinated-due-to-tiredness body into the wall or off of the bed with accompanying crashes and crying).

For the Pookie, he sometimes falls asleep nursing. But most of the time, he doesn't fall asleep nursing and I put him in his crib awake, where he screams for the first minute, then fusses/cries for a few more minutes as he is lying down, and then passes out cold, usually for the whole night (meaning until after 4, and usually between 5:30 and 6:30)! When he doesn't fall asleep nursing and I try to rock him or walk with him, he just gets more and more awake. If I'm with the Pumpkin too long and the Pookie is exhausted, Londo will put him to bed with a bottle or rocking, but he also puts the Pookie in the crib awake at times. It's amazing to have a tension releaser (a kid who releases tension by crying for a few minutes in order to fall asleep) in the house.

How about your house? Are your kids going to sleep by themselves or do they still need help? Do you and your partner (if you have one) share the bedtime responsibilities? Are you in a regression or are things status quo? Let's all compare without judgement the many ways our children go to sleep!


Burgh Baby said…
Alexis goes upstairs by herself to brush her teeth and put on pajamas, then we meet in her room for story time. She gets two books and then it's lights out, so she gets tucked in and whoever put her to bed walks out (husband and I take turns). It's all so perfect and lovely. You know, except for the fact that she doesn't stay in her bed. Ever.

Becoming Mommy said…
Hubby and I split the bedtime duties.

Sasha has a routine.
Bath, toothbrushing, jammies (by me)
Story and prayer in bed (by either)
final trip to the potty (with Daddy, and they play a quick cellphone game together while he potties).
He then hops back in bed for kisses and hugs and gets a fresh icewater for the night.

We are in a bit of a regression...sort of. He's been getting up with hunger pains and needs to eat. He has a box of cheese crackers for that.
Melba said…
Rosie, 3 year old: Go potty, put on jammies and pull-up, brush teeth, wash face, story in bed, drink of water, lights out, lie down and talk about her day, rub her back 5 times, hug and a kiss, say "love you", "sleep tight", and "see you in the morning" in that exact order, close door.

Annie, 5 months old: change diaper, put on jammies, put on sleep sack, turn off light, feed her a bottle, burp, cuddle a bit while pacing her room, put down in crib (still awake about half the time) on her right side with right thumb in mouth, rub her back for a few minutes, leave room and close door. About half the time she's put down awake, return to room 5 minutes later to re-settle her (pick up for a few seconds, rub back, "shhhh, it's sleeping time"), lay her back down, rub her back for a few minutes, leave. Repeat as necessary.

The routine is really important for both my kids - deviate just a little bit and it's hard to get them to go to sleep. Especially Rosie. If I try to do something in the wrong order she always notices and insists we do it the right way!
Anonymous said…
Hmmm.... I haven't figured out an online nickname for my little one yet. So, "she" usually needs nursing down. Or with Pa, she needs a bottle. And the time is whenever, but now that I'm done with work I'm going to work on an earlier bed time. :)
Jac said…
I do bedtime in our house, unless I can't because I'm working late, in which case DH manages fine (and usually, better than me).

Bath, brush teeth, jammies, two stories in the rocking chair. Then we both climbin in his bed, we sing a few songs, I lay there for a while (usually 5 - 15 minutes) to try to get him to settle down. Once that happens, I get up, give him a couple of "quiet books" (our useless attempt to get him to stay in bed) and leave. DH goes up, gives him a last sip of water, a final tuck-in, and a firm warning to stay in bed.

3 or 4 more trips to the bedroom to remind him to get into bed... and he's usually asleep by 8.
paola said…
Well, let me just start by saying (repeating) Zoe is in the 3.5 regression at the moment and she has never been more difficult to get to sleep. She shares a room with her brother (5.5), who actully wants to sleep at the end of the day, but Zoe's antics just make it impossible. Anyway, after the usual bedtime routine of pjs, stories, water etc, I have resorted to the following: if people stay in bed, the door stays open. If people get out of bed, or I hear too much talking, door is shut till the talking stops. The door is ocassionally locked too (like for a minute to get the message across when Zoe constantly gets out of bed), but that is a last resort. There are also calls to be tucked in, and to tell me just 'one more thing', which is always the same thing btw ( Mummy, toady can we go to the pool?). And she will have ONLY me. Usually all of this goes on for half an hour or so ( tonight longer; we're in for a bad night, me thinks) Naps are the same btw, but I have been 1) putting Zoe to bed a lot later, 2) lying on Noah's bed until she falls to sleep and 3), reducing her nap to an hour.

Oh and in case you thought it was all over after 3/4 of an hour, forget it, cos the little devil wakes up at least 3 times throughtout the night so that I can have the pleasure of tucking her back in again.
Cloud said…
As you know, Petunia (8.5 months) is in a regression and I haven't got a clue how to get her to sleep in a stress-free manner. It used to be: stories, nurse, lights out and noise machine on. Into the crib, sometimes asleep, sometimes awake.

Pumpkin (3 years) has the following routine: snack (fruit and cheese, maybe a cookie), bath, stories (about 4), and then lights out sometime between 8:30 and 9. I lay with her for four songs on her sleep CD, then get up, turn it off and her noise machine on, and then usually tell her "the zebra story" (a story I made up for her a long time ago). Sometimes she tries to get me to tell the story twice. Sometimes she succeeds. It seems to be really important to her that I leave her room and go next door to the office and "type" (her words) rather than going out and doing anything useful. So this is my new blog time. I *think* that she needs to know that I am really close and very interuptable.

Sometimes, she calls for me to come back in. I always do, or, if she's called several times already, Hubby does.

Good luck getting your Pumpkin to fall asleep on her own!
Katie said…
I usually do bedtime, because J doesn't really approve of the method (I'm anti-CIO, he's pro-). He does it at least one night a week tho - knitting night!

We snuggle to sleep. Sometime after dinner, we get L dressed for bed, often with a bath, but not always. Within half an hour or so I declare it's time for bed, usually announcing it will be after I pee and get my own jammies on. This gives L, always resistant, a chance to transition to the idea (I'll also have been saying bedtime in X minutes, but that goes in one ear and out the other). In an ideal world, Daddy gets a hug and a kiss, but she knows what that means and often refuses it. Anyway, she and I go into her room, Daddy lets the curtain down and turns down the lights, and we start some quiet activities preparing for sleep. Lately I'll read a book or two with L on my lap; we often still nurse (although that may be ending soon), and then I lay her in bed. I usually try to give her a chance to settle down by herself, because she has been known to do that, but I generally end up holding her down with an arm across her waist; if she's really squirrely, I use a knee, too, for a bit. Then I wait until she's asleep enough to move - I wait until I want to try to move, then I recite "The Jabberwocky" to myself (don't laugh! the timing works) to give her a chance to get that much more deeply asleep, get up and leave. She's in bed til morning. Sometimes it takes 10 or 15 minutes; sometimes it takes over an hour. Those nights, Daddy tags in. On really bad nights I'll tag back in again!

We'd really like her to be able to get herself to sleep better, especially with the new one on the way, but what is, is.
Anonymous said…
we had a confluence of events hit about 3 months ago... getting over a flu and time changing and temperature changes and random not-sleeping-wells and with all that i said "screw it" and moved them out of cribs too, figuring i might as well be in for a pound. They were around 3.5 (more like 3.75, ha) then.. and that was hard.. one wouldnt go to sleep, one got up (screaming and tossing) all night. We tried the regular stuff (tightening discipline, more light, more white noise, cooler temps) without much success. After a month i started progress charts for them. First they each got a prize (toy) after 7 stickers (awarded for going to sleep on their own and not bugging me for small stuff til the sun is up).. that took about 2 weeks, haha. Then it was 14 stickers, now they're up to 21. I think they'll do it in under 25 days, too.. now i guess when they think about bugging me as part of the bedtime ritual, or waking up the house if their blanket falls or whatever, they go "o.. i really wanna get x though" and deal with small stuff themselves (if there was ever a real need for us, like falling out of bed or pain etc, of course the sticker is still in play that night). meanwhile, they're getting used to their new beds, etc.
Anonymous said…
oh, and i didnt even answer the question, ha. We watch one show (usually Caillou), brush teeth, hug, kiss, bed. baths and stories are random through-the-day events here : )
Charisse said…
well let's see:

dessert & TV show/extra reading/game
potty & bath
teeth brushing, jammies, etc.
books (1/2 her to us, 1/2 us to her)
lights out
cuddle for a few minutes in the bed
(possibly answer a million questions because there is no point in trying to get her to sleep without doing it)

if she's OK with me leaving her to go either to her door or outside it, she gets a pretty gel pen in the morning. if she needs cuddling to sleep, no worries but no "bravery prize"

she's 6. one day I'm sure she'll just go in there and read until I tell her the light has to go off but I'm OK with where things are for now - it's predictable, sitters can do it, etc.
mom2boy said…
Tate, three in three months, The general path is bath, jammies, brush teeth, get in bed, read stories til dark or I can't take it anymore, lights out with semi-quiet time until he yawns and rolls over and falls asleep. There are variations depending on his willingness to cooperate at various stages. Last night we didn't get into bed until almost nine due to lots of screaming about teeth brushing and didn't get to sleep until almost 10 but tonight he was in bed at 8:15 with no complaints and asleep by 8:55. I'm sure I need to do better with keeping on a time schedule for things.
Susan said…
Son is 2.5. We do stories with Mom or Dad (rotating schedule) at 6:30, bath & teeth & toilet, pajamas, songs on the rocking chair and then into bed at 7:30. Depending on what phase of life he's in he'll chatter away or "read" or play with some toy for 15 minutes or as much as an hour. We sleep-trained him when he was a wee babe so that's when he learned to fall asleep on his own. Since then he always has though, as I said, sometimes it takes him quite a long time to unwind and actually fall asleep. But he is content and does not call out for us unless he needs to use the toilet. Now if we could just get him to sleep past 5:30AM during the summer . . .
sheSaidC2 said…
I have been meaning to respond since this was first posted... but something about having a baby got in the way :)

Matthew is like Pumpkin and has a VERY hard time falling asleep. Our routine in theory is like this.
Brush teeth, Pj's on (with daddy), Books (mostly with daddy but lately he has requested skipping it, so I have read one book to him in bed because I think it is important), cuddle time with momma, then sleep. Cuddle time with momma is in bed, under the covers, I start by telling him about our day, how good it was, how much I enjoyed what we did ect. With all the drama of a new baby and knowing how much him and I fight I figure going to bed thinking about the good stuff (sometimes we talk about what went wrong also) is a good thing. Then I do a guided meditation/relaxation thing.

I have a hard time falling asleep. I always have. He has a hard time getting himself physically relaxed so I thought I would give it a go. I start with his feet.
"relax your toes, relax your feet, relax your heels, relax your ankles. Now your whole foot is Tired, and Heavy, and Sleepy" We go through the whole body. I try and make my voice really boring and slow and tired. Most nights it helps.

Then we nurse and I read with a booklight (to keep myself from going insane) until he falls asleep (or I can't take it at which point I tell him to just roll over and sleep... )

And when all else fails Marc takes him for a drive. We put together a poster with pictures of all of the steps so when he tries to argue we just refer to the poster.

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