Tonight I write as I sit at the top of the stairs.
Why is that?
Well, we have a runner.
A runner who climbs as well. A runner who is swift and silent, cunning and bold.
And she's only two and a half.
Miss Claire has decided, since the week before Christmas, that her crib is only good for practicing mountain climbing. In she goes at bedtime, and out she comes as soon as she thinks you're gone.
So we've had to take up the old bedtime post, something we haven't had to pull out since Thane was this age and causing a bedtime riot of his own. Unfortunately with Thane however, we didn't stumble across the post until he was well aware that it was much more fun out of bed than in. So it was a long battle, sometimes one I feel we're still fighting. We pulled the lucky card with Seth. He just liked to sleep. He did climb out of his crib as well, but then thought his big boy bed was equally as awesome as his crib.
'Sitting quietly outside their door, and just putting them back in their bed when you hear them get out' is what we fondly refer to as the post. Quite simple, but sometimes timestaking. In our experience though, worth it in the long run. I know that sounds normal, but it's different than vegging in the living room and waiting until you hear they've made their way downstairs and are playing with their kitchen, or realize they've been playing in their room for an hour when you thought they were asleep. We've done that a lot. Putting them back to bed as soon as their feet hit the floor has made all the difference for us. Seems to cement the idea that it's bedtime. Or maybe they just get bored and fall asleep. Whatever parenting article I read this from in the first place recommended sitting in their room. Which helps if you don't want to feel like the jailor outside their cell, but we just had to refrain from making eye contact with the toddler who thinks it's hilarious that you're sitting silently in their room in the dark. It is weird indeed. And plus in their room you can't read or blog while you wait it out.
Our success with Claire's bedtime also depends on how much she napped that day. We soon realized after the crib-break that she wasn't that tired at bedtime, and to keep her in bed in the evening the afternoon nap might have to go. But she's sooo tired by four o'clock, silly tired. Touching, pulling apart everything, crying when you say she can't walk around with a full pickle jar, actually running in circles tired.
Do you have set in stone routines at bedtime? I actually try not to. I don't want to have the seven step detailed instructions for a babysitter, I don't want to encourage that anything is permanent, and sometimes, okay often, with this many people you just can't ensure there won't be something come up that gets in the way (say a mommy busy with a not-sleeping but tired and fussy Max, and a Daddy attempting to do the three in one bedtime tuck-ins). We stick to teeth brushing, a book, a kiss and goodnight. That obviously is an ideal that may never be realized at our house (I have to Peeeee! I told you to pee before you went upstairs! I didn't have to pee THEN!), but the goal none-the-less.
Max is another story entirely. He is his own bedtime boss. More on that tomorrow perhaps?