Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bedtime Nightmare


                            We've become the 6pm family, and I don't give a f*ck.
 For Tater's whole life, he's been an early riser. I'm an early riser too, but he's been a 5-6 am kid his whole life. More recently it's been a 4:30 a.m. ordeal, and I'm just not emotionally prepared enough for that. His bedtime his whole life up until recently was 7pm. We started our routine at 6:40 p.m. every night. He was always wired for sound. Naps bit the dust at 2 years old, so that wasn't the issue. The baby naps twice a day, but being awake at 4:30 really was taking it's toll. This was so much bigger then a phase. We bought the Ok to Wake clock, and that didn't really help, because he was still waking up, and being over tired. We tried diet changes, and everything else Google instructed us to do.
 Finally in an act of desperation I reached out for the help of my friends. Really I begged the Moms in my virtual village for help.  I cried out to Facebook, and got so much love, and amazing advice. One that really stuck out to me was "Have you tried an earlier bed time?" This honestly made me roll my eyes a little. I thought to myself, "The kids go to bed at 7, that's earlier than anyone else I know. How much earlier can I put them down!" I feared the judgment that was likely to come from friends and family if we couldn't do things passed 6p.m. Anxiety swelled about what others would think of my parenting. Was I being lazy? Did this come across as not wanting to spend time with the boys?
Also why did I care? I was exhausted all the time. The boys were exhausted, and no one was functioning without being exceptionally crabby.
 Squatch and I sat down and had a talk. We were both at our whits end with not getting enough sleep, and with the insane attitude we got from Tater, and the crabby baby we had in Tot. We read a few articles and decided 6 p.m. was our game time. We had dinner per usual and then started the bed time routine at about 5:45 p.m. Our first night the boys laid down without a fight. Tot fell asleep almost instantly, which wasn't happening before. Tater was a little upset, but fell asleep before 6:15p.m. We were in shock. Before it took about 30 minutes of Tot crying, and Tater would get up to "pee" 68 times. There wasn't any of this. It was silent. As we stood in shock, this was it. We found a solution... Maybe.
 The next morning we had a 5 a.m. wake up... That was an extra 30 minutes of sleep. We weren't prepared for that at all. Both boys actually woke up happy. Our day went smoothly. What was this magic? We kept this trial up for the week. Same result every day. That's when we decided this was the magic cure for our family. We are the 6 p.m. bed time people.

              Our routine on a good night looks like this:
 5 p.m.- Dinner
5:30 p.m. bath time for both boys
5:45 p.m. Brush teeth Pajamas, Story
6:00 p.m. lights out 

 We usually let Tater lay down with a book to look at, or if he's had a good day he can have 15-30 minutes of quiet tablet time. They are both asleep by 6:15-6:30 but there is no screaming or fighting. Sure, we give him a little leeway when we have something going on, but I'm not going to compromise the schedule that works for the boys to make other people happy. I get that 6 p.m. is "so early." I've heard it all. I've gotten the stares, the glares, and the rude remarks. Here's the thing, these are my kids. This is our life. No one but my husband or myself wake up with these babies every morning.
  Here's what has truly changed here:
  The boys were over tired at night, which made bed time a dreadful hour. It was like this switch 6:30 pm switch was flipped that turned these kids into complete beasts. No amount of naps changed that. With an earlier bed time we avoid the witching hour completely. There isn't a period of absolute madness, and screaming. The boys both go down so much easier. The power struggle isn't there.
 Our whole routine has shifted as well. There is significantly less screaming, and whining. Now, don't get me wrong here. There is currently a baby screaming at me because I won't let him play with the curtains, but this isn't a fit fueled by sheer exhaustion. After school isn't a disaster. We are listening, learning and loving better.
  I'm no longer staying away until 11pm getting things done. The earlier bed time has allowed for my to do my writing alone, and quietly. I can clean up dinner in peace, and end up in bed before 9. This isn't just a shift in the boys, but in me too. This is the balanced chaos we needed.

 If you're on the bedtime power struggle ship that you AREN'T the captain of, I can't recommend reevaluating your families bed time enough. Don't look at those stupid Pinterest charts about when your kid should be in bed. This is a "roll with the punches" while also going with your gut kind of thing. Like all of parenthood, you just have to wing it. You'll either fall flat on your face, or find something that works.
Here's my crotch spawn, well because they're really cute when they actually are sleeping.

 I am so fucking excited to share this with you all, the mega website themighty.com shared a store that I wrote. I'm honored, humbled, excited, horrified, and feeling ALL the feels. You can read it HERE
 Without your support my career as a writer wouldn't exist. You are all fucking amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my coffee filled heart.

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