If you have children, you probably had to implement a bedtime ritual at one point or another. Some people are lucky and their children go to bed easy as pie, say good night and sleep, other people are us. For nearly a year now we didn’t have so many problems with the twins and their going to bed. Sure, there were days when they just didn’t want to and stayed awake until 11pm or there were days when they went to bed early as 6pm but were awake again at 10 pm and wouldn’t be put back to bed until 1am. But these were days, sometimes two or three, but then it was over again.
For nearly two weeks now however, our rhythm went completely bust. For some reason or another, the boys just don’t want to sleep in the evening. They’re tired, oh yes, they are, it’s not that we try to put them down when they are still completely energetic and fit. They rub their eyes, they pull their ears, they yawn and blink and snuggle – but as soon as we try to put them to bed: party time. And wailing. And crying. At the moment we’re occupied with bringing them to bed for at least two hours. And it’s not that they sleep through the night, mind you. They still wake up three to six times per night, each one of them, and at one point we take them to bed with us – just because it is easier and we’re all sleeping again sooner than when we take them back to their bed.
It’s exhausting. Mostly because they are really stressful during the day already. I probably could cope better if they were their normal chipper selves but at the moment we barely have an hour a day for ourselves. Nothing we do really satisfies them for a longer period of time. They want to be taken up but on our arms is no good. Being put back down however is also no good. Playing, yeah, okay, for five minutes. Mummy or Daddy is moving – NO GOOD! They constantly demand our attention which is something we really don’t know of them. Normally, they can play with each other for hours, running around, laughing and yes, sometimes whining and crying, but never for long. These days, it feels like they’re mostly whining and crying.
A few days ago I went on a desperate shopping spree, buying three CDs and three books with good night songs and stories for little children and we’re really, really trying to establish a bedtime rhythm in the hope that at one point they can go to sleep on their own in their beds instead on our arms after fighting against themselves for hours. This is what we’re trying to do:
First, wash and brush their teeth, then put on jammies. Their room is already darkened with only two night lamps switched on, and calm, wordless music is playing. Together, we’re putting the toys away and then read a book, snuggling. Then we put out one lamp and put them to bed, say good night and leave the room.
So much for the theory. At the moment it doesn’t matter how very tired they were before we started the ritual or even while we’re at it, as soon as we snuggle down, they’re crawling and running around. Being put to bed is okay for approximately ten seconds but as soon as we leave the room, it’s back to crying. Staying with them while they are in their beds however does also not help, so at one point or another, we have to take them back out, calm then, then put them back in etc. etc.
The biggest problem is that Leander and I have no time whatsoever for ourselves anymore. It’s taking its toll on both of us. It’s a damn luck that we’re both home but we are both reaching our limit. The one thing that’s keeping us up and about without fighting and crying it the knowledge that it’s only a phase. It is going to get better again, we just need to find our way though it. Nonetheless: if you have some tipps, please go ahead and tell me!
You know what? It’s a these times where you realize just how much you love those two little monsters. They annoy the heck out of you, they’re exhausting beyond limits and sometimes you just want to yell at them. But then they smile and cuddle or you just look at them and you heart flows over with love and awe and admiration.