The small one has always been a pain in the arse to get down to sleep.
Nap times have never been fun, and bed time for him can vary from a fairly short-lived screamfest to two hours of playing silly buggers on the stairs, jumping into bed and “pretending” to be asleep whenever you enter the room, and then screaming a bit for good measure.
The big one is not like that and never really has been. As a small baby she disliked sleep as much as any newborn. Even at five months I was tearing my hair out, but as an older baby she was alright; cracked self settling, liked her bed, enjoyed a lay in. Dream child you might say through your exceptionally rose-tinted glasses.
However, she is almost four now and is more wily and well practised in the art of the delaying tactic.
The thing is, she needs the sleep. More so, even, than I need the evening to myself. Whilst the small one can go to bed at 8.30 and still be up at 5.30am and somehow drag himself (albeit whining and screaming) through the day, she usually falls asleep way before him and wakes up well after. That’s my girl!
When a good 12 hours has been had, the big one is a polite, pleasant, altogether lovely little girl who just doesn’t listen and takes ages to get her shoes on.
When it’s been nearer 10 hours, or god forbid even less… Well, that’s when she gives three-year-olds their bad name. So I am quite keen to get the bedtime thing cracked, but recently she’s been making it so hard.
We do all that bath/book/bed bollocks; it doesn’t bloody work on my two.
So yea, it goes bath (or at least a wipe over, whatever), story…
And then the games begin.
1) I want another story
This is a simple one, and I am strong, I head it off and hear no more about it. One story and that’s it. Each. Two stories then, but that’s it. Now go for a wee, and – hold on, did you brush your teeth? Yes, you did, right. – into bed for you.
2) I need a poo
I’m not a horrible parent; I would never deny my child their bodily functions. HOWEVER if she’s gone for a poo earlier that afternoon, or she goes to the loo and is still there seven minutes later, I call time on this little ruse. No matter how convincing the straining noise on the toilet, after five minutes it’s shit or get off the pot. Literally.
3) I need a drink
That’s fine. I can deal with this. There it is. What? No you can’t have squash. Now LIE DOWN.
4) I need to ask a question
Why are the dinosaurs all dead? What are our tongues made of?
I need to think of one (there is real desperation exhibited here).
5) Can I sing you a new song I learned at school?
No. Please no. There is a time and place for that and it is at Nanny and Grandad’s whilst they are trying to put you to bed.
6) I’m a little bit scared
Me too. That my life is ebbing away slowly whilst I sit here waiting. And also, you’re not convincing anyone by the way. Stop giggling.
7) I’m hungry
Well you should have eaten your pissing dinner then, shouldn’t you? It was good enough for you yesterday, I’m sorry I can’t always predict your ever-changing tastebuds. If this is even true, because when I just offered you a banana you said you weren’t hungry. I suspect outright lies.
8) I’m not tired
She says, yawning.
Anyway, I thought I’d make the bedtime battle FUN by making it into a game.
Find a friend with a four year old and play against them. Whoever wins… doesn’t really win at all, sorry.