Day 7/7 / the sleep dance

April 26, 2016
Today started out so nicely . . .
Really peaceful & productive morning – beginning with barre3
. . . and actually, it wasn’t a bad day overall.  BUT it ended terribly.  Seeking practical advice.  Here’s our normal nighttime routine:
6:45p – warm milks for both kids (they eat dinner early — like at 5 — so this way no one is hungry before bed)
7p – prep for bedtime, both kids (teeth, pajamas, etc)
7:10p – read books with both kids in Cameron’s room.  Sometimes Annabel will stay in her own room, but usually she really wants to be included.  However, this is understood to be his book time, and he sits on my lap for the duration.
7:30p – put C to bed.  (Sing with him, turn on his sound machine/ melody, place in crib).  Usually this goes well.  Smoothly, even!  Sometimes it might be a little later (7:45, 7:50, at the latest close to 8), but on work nights usually it’s 7:30p.
7:35p – read to Annabel in her room.  
7:55p – let her watch a short video on the phone
8:00p – A to bed (and I will humor her by sleeping on her floor “for a little bit”, which is less than 5 minutes because she falls asleep almost instantaneously
It’s a nicely choreographed little dance.  When it works.  But today I suspect that C napped too late, and he was 100% Not. Having. It. when I put him to bed at 7:30p.  (45 minute protest with me intermittently going in to tell him “it’s bedtime, Cameron, I love you, but we have to go night-night now.”  
So here’s the thing:  I think that actually, A probably needs to go to bed before C, on a physiologic level.  He still naps 2-3 hours.  He is only 2 years (and 2 months), so this is appropriate.  A hasn’t napped since she turned 3, but I know she is usually really tired at the end of the day because a) cranky and b) if we drive anywhere after 5 pm she will 100% fall asleep, even if it’s only a 10 minute trip.
How, though, can I orchestrate this when I am alone?  I know that A craves her alone time with me, and I cannot imagine her taking the news lightly that C is going to bed after her.  
Perhaps the answer is just . . . no marathon naps for C!  But that does have a downside too (dysphoric nap interruption syndrome – I don’t know if that’s a real thing, but it should be).  
Ps: tomorrow –> no more call!  Hooray!
Pps: Silicon Valley is back on!


  • Reply xykademiqz March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Could A conceivably get up for the day later than C? (Usually it’s the issue of who’s louder.)

  • Reply Meaghan March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    My oldest regularly goes to bed before her little brother. 1. She needs way more sleep than him and 2. Her school starts at 7:30 and she has to get up early. I can let him play in his room while I read her a story, but he used to just sit and listen, but it was very much "her time." At 7 and 5, she might protest him staying up later, but more bc she thinks they should go to bed at the same time. It’s not an older stays up later thing for us yet.

  • Reply Katherine March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Long-time reader, but first-time commenter. Our kids are similar spacing, but older (3 and 5). We put them in pjs, brush, and floss together. During this time, we let them watch videos on the iPad. Then they each get one book (they choose long books, so 2 books is 15 minutes+ reading, read at the same time in older chil’s room). Then we tuck the older child in, then take younger child and tuck her in. Then like clockwork, our older son calls for us to massage him, and hug him and count to him. (He has some difficulty falling asleep…). It is routine enough that my husband and I alternate nights. Could something like that work?

  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    The amount of time a takes to fall asleep blew me away! Dylan’s bedtime is an hour long process by herself with all of the procrastination. It’s probably because she naps during the day. She starts a new no more nap school in the fall so I’m inclined to let her keep this schedule for now. But man, five minutes! Amazing!

  • Reply leebecknell March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t have any ideas but I’m dreading the day when my A stops napping. I love his naps because I still take one!

  • Reply Linda March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Bedtime takes forever at our house. My kids are 3 and 5 and the 3 year old still takes a 1 – 2 hour nap at daycare. My daughter gave up naps before she turned 3, however, she is still a night owl. The challenge with needing to do anything with my daughter (5) before my son (3) is that my son will not leave me alone. It doesn’t matter what I say he can do….videos, play, books, etc. he will come and want my attention or will comment how he doesn’t like the stories I read to my daughter. I don’t have an answer, just wanted to share that we struggle too. My daughter is happy to have stories and then get hugs and kisses and will stay in her room if she is not ready to sleep. She knows she can play in her bed or read stories until she is ready to go to sleep. My 3 year old is just hard right now. For the past 10 days its been 10:00PM by the time he is finally asleep in his bed. It’s awful!!!! Looking forward to the days his naps end so he will go to be earlier. 10PM bed time leaves no time for my husband and I to hang out together alone.

  • Reply beth March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Giving advice about routines is so hard because I feel like every time something is suggested tons of people have to chime in with a long list of reasons why that would never work for their family. The reasons are probably true. Translating routines from family to family is hard since each family has its own unique set of needs, wants and personalities.

    My kids are 2 years apart and we did go through a time when the oldest was read his books first and his door was closed before I went and did the same thing for the youngest. Currently, they listen to books together and the youngest gets cuddled/tucked in/door closed first and the oldest gets the same thing after. (Each child gets about 10 minutes of cuddles/talking about their day before I leave and the door is closed).

    When my kids fuss (or, let’s be serious, have a giant meltdown) about one of my decisions I generally tell them "I am the Mommy and I decide." I know they might not be happy about my decision but I want them to realize it’s my decision to make. Not theirs. But that is just me and my family. I think often different strategies are needed for different families.

    Good luck!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      I do think sometimes I need to be more of the Decider Mommy. Actually, I did discuss with with Annabel (that she is too old to need someone on her floor every night, and that we would be in charge on deciding whether it was a special night when she got someone to stay in her room) and it worked shockingly well. (For now, anyway!).

  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I haven’t read other comments so sorry if this is a repeat, but around that age, we switched to doing bedtime together for both boys. L was old enough to at least listen/look at stories, we would sit on the floor near B’s bed and they would climb all over me while I read books and then I put each in their bed/crib, went over and sang each their own song, hugs/kisses etc… After a few days of "bothering each other", they figured it out and went to bed. This worked beautifully for us until very recently when shenanigans have re-started.
    Bedtime right now is terrible. L still naps and can’t fall asleep (on no-nap days, like weekends, he’s out in 1 minute) and B is so keyed up that he can’t sleep until after 9 (and I want to go to bed or at least start winding down) around then!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Ugh, I’m sorry that bedtime is bad now! I know that if Annabel falls asleep for 10 minutes we are HOSED for the night!

      I probably do need to integrate more of the bedtime but A really feels like she is entitled to her time – of course it’s US that taught her that 🙂

  • Reply jenn March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I read your post and then read this one:… Could you explain to A that you are going to start taking turns with who goes to bed first? I’m not a mother myself so I have no idea what would work!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      ooh, interesting concept! She does get the concept of sharing, so maybe the ‘taking turns’ would resonate. I like it!

  • Reply Laura Vanderkam March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    I have done a lot of bedtimes myself over the years. When I had 4, 2, and infant, the only way to keep the 2-year-old from wandering all over the house and out of my hair while I put the baby to bed was to have him watch TV. Yes, I was literally using the TV as a babysitter. He was about 2y2m at the time, so while I know that you want to limit screen time, if might be worth trying for C — give him a video for 20 minutes while you get A her solo time. Especially if it is something she thinks is a "baby show" she may not mind.

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:11 pm

      Oh, I don’t really mind the screen time, but I do notice that the kids tend to misbehave the worse after TV. So I am wary of using TV so close to bedtime lest it provoke more antics from C. But maybe it’s worth a shot.

      Unfortunately Annabel still considers any TV to be amazing (even Mickey’s clubhouse which is definitely babyish for her by this point) so I also feel that might spark rebellion. Maybe a train or car themed show would work though 🙂

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