Isaac is a lot like me. He looks like his Daddy (mostly) and he has a lot of characteristics that mirror David’s, too. But he’s like me in a few particular ways. He loves to be around other people. He isn’t necessarily the most outgoing kid, but he doesn’t like to be alone. Me. He has a hard time falling asleep, too. David’s head hits the pillow and he’s out. I, on the other hand, have to get comfortable and think through my day, plan for the future, pray, whatever. It usually takes me a little while to fall asleep. Isaac is similar. He’s always had a hard time with sleep, but since he’s acquired better language skills it’s become clear that a lot of the problem is just shutting down his little brain! Since he was three months old we’ve had a few different bedtime routines. Usually one works for a while and then we need to switch (either because Mommy and Daddy need the change, or because it doesn’t seem to be working for Isaac anymore). A few weeks ago, after David had spend 45 minutes trying to help a squirmy, whiny toddler get to sleep, I looked at him and said “Something’s gotta change!” That night we brainstormed a new bedtime routine and the next night we implemented it. The first night was rough, but after only a couple of nights things got much better and now I don’t hate bedtime anymore! The first week of the new routine David was sick with the flu, so I did almost the whole thing myself and it was wonderful how well it worked. Then, a few nights ago I was gone at bedtime and Isaac went to sleep without me (he was a little emotional about it, but he did it). So, it’s working for us right now. And I’m so proud of Isaac for adjusting to the new routine and doing such a great job going to sleep! This is one of the things I like about him growing up (along with not changing diapers anymore!).
So, here’s the routine:
Time depends on whether Isaac napped or not. If he didn’t nap he should be asleep between 7 and 7:30, if he did nap it’s more like 8.
Usually we set a 15 minute timer after dinner for playtime. When the timer rings Isaac (almost always) gladly helps pick up his toys and heads up for a bath. Daddy is usually in charge of bath time and they have a great time.
After about 30 minutes playing and getting clean it’s time for lotion and jammies.
Mommy comes in then, and Isaac nurses for about 10 minutes (shhh…don’t tell my deep dark secret…my 2.5 year old still nurses!) This really helps calm us down and sets the mood for bedtime and quiet, but since it isn’t the last thing we do the focus isn’t on nursing anymore. (On days he doesn’t nap he might actually nurse to sleep, but not always)
After that Isaac and Mommy (or Daddy) snuggle down in his bed with one or two bedtime stories. He’s loving Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Wild Things Are right now. I am too.
Then it’s time for lights out. Isaac has a little nightlight to give us some ambiance while we snuggle for a few minutes, whispering and getting comfy with all his teddy bears (a recent addition to bedtime). Then I tell him I need to go check on Daddy or put my pjs on and that I’ll be back to check on him.
Five minutes later I do go check. If Isaac is still awake (50% of the time) I’ll snuggle a couple more minutes while Isaac shares all the words he stored up while I was gone and I then go away again. Usually he falls asleep after that. By himself! This is a big deal for our pack-animal son!
It might sound like a lot, but we only have Isaac and it’s completely do-able and works really well for us. The pros for David and me are more time together in the evenings, David being able to help a little more with chores, and that we don’t get so frustrated with Isaac.
So, there you go. It’s working now, and we sure are glad for that!