Two little boys, snuggled either side of me on the lounge.
Two stories — Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank Engine tonight.
Time to brush their teeth. ‘I do it myself, mama,’ declares my 2-year-old. Mr Independent.
Into bed. I climb onto the top bunk, and both boys pile on top of me. Prayer time: ‘What are you thankful for today?’
‘Pop and Granny and playing and Thomas.’
Goodnight kisses and cuddles that turn a bit silly. Ending in a great big ‘Lion kiss’, i.e. a big lick on my cheek.
‘Goodnight, boys, I love you.’
The Long Goodnight
Sinking into the lounge, glass of wine in hand. Just about to let out a sigh to symbolise the end of a busy day when…
‘Mummy, cuddle me.’
‘Go to sleep, sweetheart.’ I call back, sweetly.
‘Cuddle me!’ More urgent.
‘Go to sleep.’ A little less sweetly.
Eventually, I relent and give him a cuddle.
Return to said position on the couch…
‘Mama, drink of water, please.’
The parenting manuals are so conflicting on the prickly bedtime issue. Control crying vs. co-sleeping vs. cuddling them to sleep.
What to do? What to do?
In Steve Biddulph’s book Raising Boys, he explains that boys are more prone to separation anxiety than girls and struggle more with understanding that mama loves them and is coming back. Thus, the genuine, gut-wrenching cries both my boys have subjected me to at bedtime.
But we’re working through it. 3-½-year-old Tyson will now very happily put himself to bed. 2-year-old Jack is still a work in progress, and the source of much bedtime angst for everyone.
My advice, through my own trial and error, is to choose the method that ‘sits right’ with you and commit to it. If it’s control crying, be consistent. We tried it with Tyson, and I hated it. I cried more than he did, and I think it did more harm than good for both of us.
And rocking him to sleep would sometimes be a two-hour process. He eventually ‘got it’ all by himself.
I would love to lie in bed and cuddle them both to sleep every night. In fact, there’s nothing I would like more. But, those couple of precious hours between their bedtime and ours are where we finally get to debrief the day and enjoy the serenity. It’s important.
This season is so ‘all consuming’, but so quickly over. Take heart; you won’t be rocking your child to sleep when they’re 21. This, too, shall pass.
Originally published at Mum Daily. Photo by Gabriel Tovar on Unsplash.