I got to thinking about how much I love hearing about how other people do things, especially when they are parents. When I meet a new friend who happens to be a Mom or a Dad I always want to pick their brain- what's bedtime like in your house? What's dinnertime like? How old are your kids? What do they like to eat? Do you get time to yourself? Questions, questions. And then I thought that maybe some of you are the same way...which led me to want to share all of these things with you, piece by piece. I also like the idea of having all of this documented- I feel like one day when I'm old and gray I'll get a kick out of knowing what life was like, down to the minute, way back when. And maybe someone out there is a curious person like me too.
It's sometimes weird to share good things in parenting- occasionally I feel like if something is going really well, like Henry having a 5-day streak with no potty accidents- it might sound braggy if shared. And I hate that! I want to share good things, but sometimes the big world wide web has me second guessing that. Can you relate? But like anything, parenting has good days and bad days, hard things and easy things.
Bedtime for us right now, at 2 years and 11 months, and 8 weeks old, is very scheduled. Of course we try to be flexible whenever possible but it works best when we do it the way we do it every night, night after night. On the evenings we're out and about, or a weekend night, we definitely push it, but falling asleep that night and going through the next day are so much better when we adhere to our routines the night before. So here's how it goes:
Hank gets home from work around 5:15pm and at that point I usually hand over Charlie, who most likely woke up from his afternoon nap around 4pm. Hank will play with both kiddos while I make dinner, and around 5:45pm we will give Charlie a bath while dinner is finishing up. Hank usually handles most of the bathtime duties but depending on what Henry is into or how dinner is going I'll help out too. More often than not the whole family will end up in our bathroom hanging out while C is getting his bath, Henry almost always finding his way into our closet to "look for treasure" and me sitting on the bathroom counter.
After bath time Hank will hand Charlie to me, and I'll get him in his pajamas, put his Snuza on, and zip him into his wearable blanket. I'll then get cozy in our bed with him, Boppy around my waist, water on the nightstand. Hank and Henry will come over and say goodnight, and then Hank will turn on the monitor and the noise machine and then those two will go eat dinner and read, play, whatever- total Daddy and Henry time.
I spend about 15 minutes or so nursing Charlie and he will always fall asleep within that 15 minute time frame. I'll then burp him and put him in his little co-sleeper, sit there for a minute to be sure he's down, then quietly get up and leave the room (we have a baby monitor in there). This is all by 6:15pm. He's SUCH a funny baby, and will start to get really fussy if he's not in bedtime mode once 6pm rolls around. He really loves his sleep, and wants to sleep, and I've found that if we try to put him down even a little earlier (even if he's fussy) he will have a hard time going down and staying asleep. 6pm is our magic time, but if we have to push it later he's okay too. Luckily Charlie is a good sleeper, so after I put him down he will stay asleep for quite some time. Lately it's been getting later and later. First he'd wake up at 9:30pm, then 12:30, and now he's been sleeping until about 3:30am and sometimes 4. My big problem is actually going to bed early myself to take advantage of that big chunk of sleep (as I type this it's approaching 9:30pm already). But that's Charlie's bedtime routine.
After we finish up all of our bathroom stuff it's reading time. Hank, Henry and I will all pile into his bed and read 4-5 books together before our "Mommy-Daddy-Henry-time" (as he calls it), which is really just a big snuggle session. He started to really ask for "snugs" every night once Charlie was born and it's so adorable to me that I can tell he really treasures this time just the three of us. So we cuddle up and talk about our day, say "I love you" a million times, then Hank and I will get up and leave (probably after about 10 minutes), turn on his sound machine and monitor, and close his door and put up the baby gate on the outside. We never stay in there while he falls asleep and never have, because I wanted him to be able to do it on his own. 9 out of 10 times bedtime is smooth sailing but every once and awhile Henry will call for us to come back in for more "Mommy-Daddy-Henry-time" or and this is where we have to get firm. It's funny though, because he still asks to get out of his bed (let's hope this lasts for a long while), so we've never had an issue with that- it's mainly just him calling for us because he wants to hang out more, needs water when he doesn't, etc. A few months back he went through a phase where he was freaked out by shadows on the wall but that passed, thankfully. He sleeps the whole night through and wakes up around 6:30am, sometimes 7 if we're lucky, but sleeps hard and rarely wakes up in the night. Our next challenge though will be losing the diapers during nighttime sleeping, so if you have any tips, let me know!
So that's how we do bedtime. Both boys are good sleepers and besides luck, I really attribute that to following a schedule from day one with Henry. Charlie is down at 6pm and Henry at 7. It was all trial and error with Henry (as it is with most first children when you have NO idea what you're doing), but once we figured out the magic time for him it was so much easier.
Does our bedtime routine look similar to yours? Is there anything special you do? Any routines you'd like to share? You know me and my questions...so do tell!
And p.s., I'm planning on continuing this little series to talk in detail about different parts of our day, so if you have something you're curious about, let me know in the comments!