It was five after nine when I left the kids' room tonight. Their bedtime is seven thirty. Eight o'clock is more realistic, if we're being honest. But maybe not that realistic given past several nights.
I don't really know quite what to say. Bedtime has definitely become my least favourite time of the day, which is sad, because anymore it's the main time that I have to spend "quality time" with the kids. Instead of enjoy baths and stories, I spend those many of those moments dreading (I know that's a strong word, but anxiously anticipating doesn't quite cut it) lights out.
Sometime in the past week or two Sprout figured out how to escape her crib. In a sleep sack. First we lost the sleep sack, a few days later we lost the side of the crib. Unlike her brother, who was a dream when it came to bedtime and would lie in his toddler bed and wait to fall asleep and then call out to ask us if we could come get him out when he woke up, Sprout is awful. She nurses demanding to switch sides ever other minute until I can't bear the thought of any more on and off and tell her no more. Then she jumps in the bed. She climbs down and runs over to the door, or the bookshelf, or toys, or her brother. She goads him into laughing. Basically she does everything but lie down in the bed. The only thing that has worked has been physically holding her in a tight hug while she screams and cries and eventually drops off enough to lie her down. But I can't leave then. As soon as I move more than an inch away from her she wakes up and calls out "Mama!" In fact, her favourite sleeping position once she is in that early stage of slumber is hugging my head. After an hour or more of trying to get her to this point, you can imagine how carefully I try to escape her headlock.
And of course The Bean has now made it his mission to get her/keep her going. He has started saying he has to go to the washroom every thirty seconds. (Sprout freaks out whenever he leaves the room.) When he is in bed he kicks his legs, throws toys around until we take them away, talks "to himself", etc. Most nights I threaten him (this week with taking away Trick-or-Treating) until he quiets down. On good nights, offering a reward for being quiet, like rocking him in the rocking chair after his sister falls asleep, works. I can't remember the last time he had a good night.
Bedtime has become a complete nightmare. I wish I could think of another way to do things, but I just can't. Every night I hope it will get better. Every night it seems to get worse.
Tonight I am listening to Ani DiFranco's new album Allergic to Water. I am taking time to write a blog post rather than preparing tomorrow's lessons (which I really should be doing). I need a break. Anyone want to come over and babysit for an evening?