Thursday nights Daddio goes rock climbing. This means that I do bedtime routine solo. Bedtime routine is probably our most challenging time of the day. As I'm sure with most kids, when mine hit the tired wall, there is no returning to Happyland...and getting them into bed cannot happen fast enough. Fortunately for me (not), my kids hit the wall at the same time every night. So having a strategy lined up is always the key...and my strategy is the television! I am not happy about this...but it works.
If I've got my organizational game on, then our evening routine begins with both girls getting a bath. Some nights, though, only one of them gets clean and then some nights, when we hit the wall early, they both go to bed with dirty ears. Once bathed and jammied, it's time to calm things down.
I am all about taking the lights, noise and activity down a notch to ease the sleeping process. This is actually quite key for Cheekers. She is so social and so active that if she is aware something fun is going on, she wants to stay awake. So in order to get her the peaceful environment she needs, I have to redirect Sydney; and Syd's redirection is Sponge Bob Square Pants. On our good nights, I'm able to plop Syd down on our bed for 25 minutes of Sponge Bob entertainment. This quirky yellow creature gives me 25 minutes of uninterrupted time to quietly bottle my slow sucking baby to sleep, rock her to relaxation, guide her to her crib, lie her gently down, rub her back, walk backwards out of the room, shut the door and know she's out for the count. That's how it works on "good nights".
Other nights though... might look like this...
6:50 p.m. dinner is over. Cheekers is covered in dried squash. Syd has ketchup under her nails and on her chin.
6:55 p.m. head upstairs for fake baths and jammies...because we're already behind schedule. Hand Syd a wet wipe, tell her to wipe clean. Put Natty on the changing table for her wet wipe session. Do 15 rounds of wrestling Natty back to her back as all she wants to do now is flip over...give up on the wet wipes and settle for a clean diaper.
7:02 p.m. decide it's time for a break with Baby Wiggle pants, sit her down on the floor with some stuffed animals and go get Syd's jammies on. Strip Syd's clothes and tell her to go potty. Put on Syd's jammies - well first catch her to put on her jammies. The later it gets, the more rambuncious the crowd! Finish jammies, tighten my ponytail, tell Syd to put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket and head back to Cheekers for her jammies.
7:08 p.m. find Natty wedged under her dresser, chewing on the rug...pull her out, hand her the nail clippers to occupy her while I get her onsie on. Sing the ABC's to keep her extra content on her back so she won't flip over (again). Watch Sydney out of the corner of my eye hiding Natalie's music CD.
7:12 p.m. jammies on both - check. We're twelve minutes late for Sponge Bob - double drats! Grab Natty and escort Syd to our bedroom, help her up on the bed. Turn on Bob.
7:13 p.m. I have twelve minutes to get baby asleep...quietly. Go into the bathroom, warm the bottle, walk Cheekers to her room, turn on the rain sound machine, draw the blinds closed, grab a binkie, sit down in the rocker to give her bottle.
7:17 p.m. about two ounces of the six ounces gone, hum lullabies to keep the atmosphere relaxed and distract from Sydney's occasional laughs from the other room. Eight minutes until Bob is over.
7:21 p.m. about four ounces gone. Come on Natty, suck it up girlie...time is a ticking... Her eyes are getting heavy now.
7:23 p.m. five ounces gone....almost asleep, totally relaxed.
7:24 p.m. five and one half ounces gone....soooo, sooo relaxed.
7:25 p.m. five and three quarters gone...crashed out.
And just like clockwork...
7:25 p.m and ten seconds - thump, pitter, patter, pitter, patter, pitter, patter feet sounds come across the hardwood floors. "Mommy, mommy, Sponge Bob is over now. Mommy, he's OVERRRRR!!!!!"
7:25 p.m. and 30 seconds - Cheekers eyes wide open, bottle gone, relaxation lost. Both girls looking at me essentially saying, "now what, Mommy?"
7:26 p.m. I let out a deep sigh and think to myself, hmmm, maybe the girls can put me to bed tonight?!