And I’m loving the new topic index, but in my opinion, there is one serious omission: BEDTIME. I think between 30+ bloggers it’s safe to say that there would be a whole lotta posts dealing with that ever-delightful aspect of parenting. I think in the course of my four-year blogging career, I’ve probably written at least dozen posts of my own on the topic.
Ah, bedtime. That thing you think will get easier at some point — it has to, right? — that just keeps on not getting better.
The challenge du jour (or, du whole freakin’ summer, I should say) is getting Elsa to stay in her room and in her bed and go the f**k to sleep after lights out and goodnight. Usually, within two minutes of my closing the door behind me, she’s out and calling down the stairs, mournfully, “I can’t sleeeeep!! I just can’t DO it, mommy!!”
It’s not that she’s not tired at bedtime — she’s clearly beyond tired, as indicated by the eye rubbing, the punchiness, the whining — or even that she wants to stay up later. “I want to be asleep,” she’ll say, “but it takes too long!”
Or, she wants to sleep but but she’s afraid of the dark / afraid of the shadows / is too hot / too cold / too “itchy” (?) Meanwhile, throughout the whole saying-goodnight process, she’s wiggling and squirming and burrowing her head into her mattress in frustration. Trying to squeeze herself into the gap between her bed and the wall. (And this is all in the dark, post story, mind you.)
So, I’ve been trying to work on ways to help her quiet her body down and relax. “Turn off her switch” as I call it. (“I just can’t turn off my switch, mommy!” she’ll wail.) I show her how to tense/clench everything and then release and exhale. I give her massages. I give her soothing visualizations while I massage her temples (“you’re floating in the ocean..fish are kissing your toes….you’re Elsa, queen of the sea…”) Sometimes, if all else fails, I’ll lie down with her for a couple of minutes.
And, of course, because everything is doubly complicated with twins, this means that I have to rub Clio’s back and/or lie down with her, too. I’ve learned to do this first, because if I do Clio after Elsa, by that time Elsa is writhing and whining again. Then again, she pretty much writhes and whines the whole time I’m ministering to Clio.
This is one of those times I really wish we had separate rooms for the girls.
And, oh yes, we do positive reinforcement stuff (there is a magnet chart for successful bedtimes) and the flip side, consequences (OK, no magnet!) But at this point, I think she could care less about the magnets.
I feel for her, I really do. But I feel for me too. I hate that bedtime is something I dread, instead of a nice, cozy ritual.
Any ideas? Or is this one of these situations where we’re basically just F**ked no matter what?
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