Updated: Oct 5, 2020
But why kid?!?! But why?!?!
That statement right there, it's something I say to myself some nights while trying to get Charlie to bed. He's almost 3 and I swear on my life bedtime is the funnest, but most frustrating period of our day. Looking back to when Charlie was first born and he refused to sleep unless he was in my arms, I should have realized my wild child would be giving me bedtime struggles well into his toddler years.
When Charlie was first born we had to use the bouncy ball, the rocking method, the driving method, the fall asleep on the boob method, the fall asleep with him method, the co-sleeping method and every other freakin' method you could think of for Charlie to fall asleep.
I would have to climb into his crib and hold him until he fell asleep and then do some crazy ninja moves to climb out of the crib without the mattress moving and more importantly without air moving around me, God forbid I moved air, because once aired move, Charlie would wake up. I wish we had a camera in his room recording those nights because watching me climb out of the crib would have made for some ridiculously hilarious videos. I tried everything back then, you name it, his dad and I tried it.
We tried the cry out method... look I'm not a judgmental person and maybe the cry out method worked for you but this sweet child of mine, he knew the game, he knew damn well what we were doing. We once let him cry for half an hour (yes we checked up on him), by the end of it, I was even hysterically crying and he still wouldn't fall asleep. I'll tell you though, as soon as I picked up the little monster and put him in my arms, he was out like a light. I think we tried the cry out method for a week before I decided I just couldn't put my 6 month old through it, and call me weak and a sucker, but I couldn't do it to myself either. All the trainers said it would get easier and that he would cry less, but he didn't and the situation never got easier, not for us anyway.
The swaddle method, well that worked intermittently. Some days we thought we had finally mastered the bedtime/naptime routine, only for it to fail on us a few days later. Eventually we couldn't even swaddle him anymore so that method was also a FAIL.
The soother method...WHAT IN THE HELL IS THE SOOTHER METHOD?!?! 'Cause this kid hated every soother, sucker, pacifier, chupete, ciucciotto, so that was another FAIL.
The only thing that ever worked successfully for Charlie was co sleeping and the falling asleep on the boob. In the beginning I loved it, 'cause I'm a sucker for snuggles and so I was totally gobbling up all those extra moments, Charlie's smell and his little hands caressing me was my all time favourite thing. But then, yes there's a but, a big BUT, he turned 1 and the boob thing started to become draining for me because I had sh!t to do and also because he would lockjaw himself onto my boob and prying his mouth off my boobie was it's own olympic sport.
Getting him off the boob for bedtime was a serious struggle for me, his crying, his hitting, him loosing his shit, me crying, me begging, me giving in. The cycle was vicious and it lasted for almost 6 months until one day I just had enough. We both cried for a week straight but we got through it and the boob to fall asleep became a thing only for nap time and only occasionally.
Charlie just turned 3 on May 1st and I can proudly say we have a routine down, and God forbid we don't follow the routine, all hell breaks loose. He's not on the boob for bedtime anymore (THANK YOU JESUS my nip's couldn't take it anymore). However, our bedtime routine goes a bit like this.
We have dinner, play with cars and toys and have a bubble bath, every night, I'll blowdry his locks and I'll brush his teeth. He has to pick his own pj's and his own socks (he's mr. independent in that department). He gets to pick 2 books and we sit on the rocking chair and read them. Then he closes the door to his room, except lately he wants it half open, he turns off his night light (sometimes that turns into a game..for him..) and we play Charlie/Mama, our version of Marco Polo, so he can find me in the dark sitting on the rocking chair. It's really smooth sailing until....
Charlie: "Mama, I want yogurt"
Me: "Charlie you had yogurt before bedtime"
Charlie: "Mama, I want milk"
Me: "But we already brushed your teeth"
Charlie: "Mama, I need water"
Me: "Charlie you had lots of water before bath"
Charlie: "But I'm thirsty"
Me: "Charlie it's bedtime"
Charlie: *cough* *cough* "something is stuck in my throat, I need water"
Me: "Here's some water"
Charlie: "Thank you mama, now we say goodnight to everybody."
Me: "Goodnight Willow, goodnight Yaya, goodnight Tata, goodnight Uncle Tio, goodnight Meow, goodnight Dad, goodnight Ethan, goodnight......."
...and the names go on for like 10 minutes until he falls asleep. The list includes everyone at daycare, everyone on our street, our entire family, his dad's entire family and all the animals he loves. Once he's out or semi out, I place him in his bed and if I'm lucky he goes right to bed..that's if I'm lucky...
Just know the bedtime struggle is real, in our house anyway. You aren't alone and honestly as much as it drives me nuts when I know I have laundry to fold, dishes to wash, a dog to take out, work to do etc etc etc, I wouldn't trade those cuddles or those moments with my little guy for anything. Watching him grow up is bitter sweet and I'll indulge in those cuddles until he doesn't let me anymore.