Bedtime Battles

In my head I know how bedtimes should go; sleepy cuddles with warm milk, lullabies and stories, kisses and tucking them into their soft comfy beds. HOWEVER, putting my pair to bed is akin to capturing and tucking in, a pair of overtired, mini tornadoes intent on resisting their bedtime for all they are worth. 

Bedtime, I should also specify, is not one particular time but encompasses a significant proportion of the evening; a bed-period-of-time, if you will. When they finally do drift off to sleep, it's not because I've successfully eased them towards the land of nod, it's because their little bodies have surrendered for the night from the sheer effort of resisting it. Come the next night and they are up for the fight again. 

I've spoken before about how my little boy is the master of prolonging bedtimes and now his little brother is in on the act too, I can hand on heart say I've had easier 13-hour shifts at work. 

A typical bedtime routine in our house
The usual routine starts with me telling them 564 times to get ready because their bedtime is approaching. On the 565th time I threaten them with the removal of all sugary snacks for the foreseeable future. They then weigh this threat up in their heads to see whether carrying on with their shenanigans will bring them more joy than the occasional chocolate biscuits they will manage to consume over the course of the week. They usually decide in favour of shenanigans. 

Once a suitable threat has been issued and they are upstairs, next comes the changing into the bed clothes segment of the evening. I'm too tired from tonight's bedtime to walk you through the process of this but just trust me when I say I want to punch myself in the face by the end of it. 

Then they come downstairs for a glass of milk which they then either have a sip of and then leave, or spill on the carpet.

Next up, it's a further 565 requests for them to return upstairs to clean their teeth. This should be a relatively stress-free process but they both just suck the toothbrush to enjoy all the minty flavour and then flick spit water at me before shrieking with the hilarity of it all (it wasn't funny the first time). Despite begging them to do some sort of upward downward, side to side brushing motion, the littlest one clamps his jaw shut with a strength I did not know he was capable of. 

Next up, it's story time. This used to be 4 stories but this week it's down to one because they both keep spinning round in circles and no one knows what book I have just read.

Now it's time for the tucking in part. You'd be forgiven for believing that the end of the bedtime process is in sight. The toddler will NOT be tucked in and stands at his bedroom gate (yes, there is a safety stair-gate on his room) protesting. The older one then requests a series of enjoyable bedtime related activities which currently is this; a kiss, a cuddle, a tuck in and a 'yes/no' game (the one where we ask him questions and he's not allowed to answer yes or no). If this sounds like a lot, I'd like to introduce you to his previous routine and I promise you I'm not exaggerating. He would request; a kiss, a cuddle, a nose honk, ear wiggles, ear pulls, a tickle, a raspberry on his tummy, for us to pretend to pull him out the bed via his legs, to scoop him up and drop him on the bed, to fold him up like a parcel in the duvet, to open it and be surprised by the contents and finally, to then tuck him in. DON'T ASK. He then repeated this process with the other parent. It got a bit ridiculous and so we had to scale it right back to a four step process.

So we're finally out of their rooms. Free to enjoy our evenings. Only we're not. Next up come bedtime bowel movements, begs from the little one to sleep in his room, water to be fetched and drank, wees to be had, more hilarity to be attempted, more threats to be issued, bad dreams to be comforted from (I'm onto them on this one since they've not been bloody asleep yet), songs to be sung to each other through the bedroom wall, explanations to be given about what they can smell cooking, it goes on. And on. 

When they do finally fall asleep from the sheer exhaustion of it all, I creep back into their rooms and stare at them and sniff their hair like a weirdo because they are so peaceful and cute. I wonder how I ever got so lucky and I even miss them a little bit (not enough to give them later bedtimes or anything). And I know that one day they will be older and the craziness of bedtimes will be a thing of the past and I will long for the hustle and bustle and demands for cuddles, tickles and stories that they don't really listen to, and the fact that those days are no longer here will break my heart a little bit. So for now, as exhausting and as frustrating as it can be, long may their bedtime shenanigans continue.



  1. We've definitely got into bedtime battle territory! It started off with getting the bath running at 5.15, and then finally ended two hours later. We're trying a new approach now, with a later bath and only a tiny gap between bath and bed. It's certainly much better for my sanity! #itsok

  2. Gosh it sounds like you go through a lot when it comes to bedtime #itsok