Our two little Associates share a room, and have for about 6 months now, since the little one, Associate A was 15 months old. His almost 3 year old big brother had super-cool bunk beds and it started with him napping on the bottom bunk and eventually moved in full time. This was all against my better judgement, of course, but they loved sharing a room and I figured “Why not? Child-led parenting is a thing, right?”
Associate A did surprisingly well staying in bed for the first few months, or if he did get out would walk to our room and gently knock on our bedroom door. We took the bunk beds apart to two twins after he demonstrated he had mastered the ladder up. By then Associate A was 18 months old and had already demonstrated his propensity for nighttime adventures. Associate P had never once even remotely considered looking over the edge of the upper bunk railings. He is a good rule abiding first born. A, on the other hand, laughs in the face of danger and would have jumped over the railings faster than I could dial 9-1-1.
So now they have twin beds next to each other, and they go to sleep and wake up at the same times. Sounds awesome and super easy, right? WRONG.
The quality of my day, workplace productivity and enjoyment is completely dependent on their sleep patterns lining up so I can have two happy well rested boys at the same time. Something wakes them up too early, and Associate A will be exhausted by 11am… but if he naps then, Associate P isn’t ready. P will start to behave like an exhausted psychopath just about the time Associate A is waking up, and I’m no psychologist, but I do know that psychopaths refuse to nap if they think their younger sibling is going to get 1:1 time with mommy. The day then becomes a slow roll to hell, and by the time the CEO gets home from work I’m usually hiding in the kitchen and throwing snacks at the savages to keep them at bay in the playroom.
The alternative is they wake at a respectable hour, we have fun morning adventure – maybe a park or the zoo – we come home and eat lunch in the 12 o’clock hour and everyone lays down for a nap together in the 1 o’clock hour – me on the ground between their two beds. It is a win win, as I get a 20-30 minute nap and an hour or so to myself before they wake up. Then we play outside the whole afternoon, and when the CEO comes home we greet him with smiles and a nutritious, home cooked meal on the table.
Bedtime is usually pretty easy, and hands down my favorite part of the day. But unfortunately, Associate A is teething (2 year molars… shoot me now!) and in a very needy phase lately. He has become accustomed to mommy laying on the ground between their beds at nap time and so now, at bedtime, insists on the same practice. He will point to the ground “You stay right there.”
For a while I have indulged this sweet little gesture, and even enjoyed falling asleep for a little evening siesta between my two boys. They usually ask me to hold their hands, so I’ll lay there on my back, with arms stretched out reaching up to their beds. Not at all comfortable, but it is sweet. So I’ll cherish those little moments and listen as their quiet breathing turns to adorable baby snores.
But not tonight. Tonight we took the boys out to eat, and my stomach is fully rejecting the butter-soaked meal. I’m miserable and just want to put them to bed and poop in peace. I had tried while they were in the tub, but the P was all “ahh mommy I have to poop” so I had to get up, get him out and let him do his business, and by the time he was done my opportunity had passed. They are ready to get out and the next twenty minutes is a blur of toothpaste, wrestling them into PJ’s and wild giggles as mommy keeps farting and stinking up the room.
Stories, prayers, hugs and kisses – ok now climb into bed, everybody got your 15 lovies, toys, books and special blankets? Great!!! Good night.
Of course you know there is no way Associate A is going to stay in bed and fall asleep unless I am on the ground next to him… which right now is the very last thing I want to do. So I’m going to be tough today and say “NO! You must stay in bed. Mommy is not in the mood tonight. Go to sleep!” After another 20 minutes of tears and little feet pitter patting out of the room, I give in and go in to lay down.
At which point a very amused, and still a bit giggly Associate P tells me, “Mommy its your fault A won’t stay in bed. Your farts are too stinky. They made the whole room smell and he just wants to get out.”
I can hear the CEO laughing from the other room…. and when they are finally asleep and I come out he tells me this is one of the best days of his life and he wants to remember this forever. Well here you go sir – may it live on the interwebs forever.
Associate P was right – the bedtime battle was my fault, but I hold firm it is not because of my stinky farts. It is rather because I have indulged my kids in a routine (staying in the room while they fall asleep) that is unsustainable.
Eventually I will have to be strong enough to withstand the tears, stay firm and stay out. But for tonight, it was just easier to sit in the dutch oven of my own creation. ugh.