Thursday, July 10, 2014

How bout we trade, and you all do the dishes, and I'll go to bed early?

Recently the bambino has been extremely reluctant to go to sleep at his designated bedtime, so my wife hit upon the idea of putting him in his crib a little later, which would hopefully align better with his circadian rhythms and also make allowance for the fact that the sun is still pretty darn high in the sky at the official bino-nighty-night hour. OK, that may seem like a bit of an obvious approach, so really what I mean is that my wife's approach was innovative because rather than pushing all the kids' bedtimes farther and farther back, she envisioned giving the little guy and little girl earlier baths to buy some time for the bino, then letting the big kids play while baby brother got ready for bed, then by the time the bino was down for the night and we turned our attention back to the other two, they'd be most of the way ready for bed anyway and everything would end up at the same end point (or reasonably close enough).

(One of the slight hitches in this plan revolves around the fact that the bino and the little girl still share a bedroom. In an ideal world, the bino gets ready for bed and goes to sleep shortly after hitting the crib mattress, and then the little girl gets ready for bed next, and by the time she's ready to go to sleep we can slip her into the darkened bedroom without waking up her little brother. By pushing his bedtime back but leaving hers at the same time, the likelihood is that he'll still be awake when she's going down, so we really have no choice but to let her lie down and fall asleep in our bed in the master, and then carry her to her own bed, asleep, later in the night. But so it goes.)

We tried the new plan on an evening when my wife was home, and it basically worked. So I tried it again last night, while my wife was at work, and the results were less encouraging. The number of parents turned out to be a hugely differentiating factor. With my wife nearby, I could give the bigger kids baths and she could distract the bino, but with her out of the house, the bino just ... wanted to be where I was. Some highlights included:

- Bino, fully dressed, trying to climb in the tub with his brother
- Bino whapping his sister on the head while she was in the tub

- Bino somehow grabbing a large full cup from the tub and dumping the water all over the bathroom floor
- Bino unspooling the roll of toilet paper (full disclosure: he does this all the time, no matter how many responsible adults are in the house)

And then eventually I got the bigger kids in pajamas and started getting the bino ready for bed, and I made it through his bath and through pj's and through stories and all the way to giving him a bottle of milk before the little girl started screaming bloody murder. So I had to tell the bino I would be right back while I went and checked to see how much blood had been spilt, which of course turned out to be none, it was just a disagreement about what kind of game she and her big brother were playing together. I asked them to keep it down so I could put their brother to sleep, but by the time I got back to the bino he was all freaked out that I had abruptly left and it took an excessive amount of time and effort to get him even slightly calmed down, and the transition to the crib did not go smoothly.

Still and all, by the time my wife got home, the baby was asleep (by a matter of mere minutes, after having screamed and fussed for a quarter of an hour), and the little girl was lying down peaceably in our bed, and the little guy was climbing into his own bed. Getting there was arduous, but that descriptor seems to apply to more and more situations these days, espcially involving anything along the lines of making the kids do what we want them to do as opposed to letting them follow their own wild rumpus impulses (rumpulses?) Tonight I will try again and see if I can apply any lessons learned to the proceedings. You best believe I will be keeping the rinsing cup on the highest soap-ledge in the shower.

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