Before I was a mom, I had such great visions of bedtime. I would give my child a bath every night. Then I would read a story or two, we would always have a favorite one that we read over and over. After story time, we would snuggle together and say our bedtime prayers. Then my wonderful child would cuddle in his or her blanket with a favorite stuffed animal and go to sleep. I would watch my beautiful child sleep peacefully until morning.
Then I had Delainey. Bath time doesn't happen every night, some nights it is a struggle to get her in the tub, but some how we manage every other night (or so). We do read a story almost every night, no real favorites, which in reality is a good thing. With my luck, she would pick something awful to be her favorite. Bed time prayers are usually peaceful, but not always. Then comes the sleeping part......two hours after everything else.
The first seven months of Delainey's life, we co-slept. When she went to bed, I went to bed. I didn't watch much tv during that time, or read books, or anything. I was a human teddy bear. I loved it and was sad when she decided to sleep alone. The next year or so was great. Delainey would go right to sleep when she was in her crib. Then we moved her to her own room and a toddler bed, and the struggle to sleep started.
There were nights that the child would not go to sleep until well after 10--her bedtime was 7. We removed all of her toys from the room. She had a night light and white noise. It was a struggle. I ended up in tears many nights and Jim would take over. He ended up frustrated as well. Jim's job meant that he stayed with his parents at least 2 nights a week. It was miserable for all of us. We cut down naps at daycare, thinking that she just wasn't tired. Instead she slept in the car ride to and from daycare (45 minutes each way).
We moved closer to work and daycare, no more long car rides morning and night, still took shorter naps at daycare. It didn't help. Jim was home more in the evening, so it was a shared burden. They developed a game called "Pirate Daddy". Delainey would get excited during the game, but would go to sleep. Life got better at bedtime, for a year.
We moved again, this time with Jim's parents while waiting to see where Jim's job would take our family. Bedtime was still okay, not perfect, but better. Jim had to move in January to our new town. Bedtime is once again, my most hated time of day. Bedtime is still 7, most nights she isn't sleeping until well after 8. I know that 8 isn't late, but she has to be up and ready to go by 6:15 so that I can get to work on time. She "reads" at naptime. She has dark circles under her eyes from lack of sleep. Jim isn't here to play "Pirate Daddy" (and it isn't the same over the phone or with "Pirate Mommy", we have tried).
She plays, I yell. I yell, she cries. She cries, I feel guilt. She sleeps, I cry. I cry and pray. I miss the vision of bedtime I once had. We both miss "Pirate Daddy".
Here's to living under the same roof and a happier bedtime soon!