Stall

It’s gotten out of hand. And it’s time for me to be a mean mommy (again).

Bedtime around Casa di RPM has usually been a well-organized affair. We have our routine, and we follow it, and it has been good. It has worked.

In the last month or so, it has ceased to work. I’m not sure why, and I’m not really 100% sure what to do.

For the longest time, the girls have gone to bed with books. They like to flip through them after “lights out” (which isn’t really lights out because they use a night light). Lately, they go to bed with 10 books each. And read them to each other.

They have requested that in addition to their night light, another light be left on for them. I have indulged them, but I think that ends tonight.

They used to go to bed with one or two favorite stuffed animals. But lately they have made a point of piling up ALL of their stuffed animals in the bed, usually after I have left the room. (We “store” the stuffed animals in their room, in a bassinet from my husband’s side of the family. He used to actually sleep in it when he was a newborn — my SIL, too.) I hear them scurrying around, getting animals, and then they play with them.

I come upstairs to find Kate neatly lining up her animals along the foot of her bed.

“They are sleepy, mama,” she says, gesturing to her animals, most of whom are lying on their backs. “I not sleepy.”

Or Flora will be buried under a layer of stuffed animals, snoring away despite the fuzz from the horse’s tail that keeps going up her nose.

They come downstairs after I have put them in bed. They ask for drinks or something to eat or one more hug and kiss; they tell me they are scared; they have to go pee; Kate, often, has waited until 9:30 p.m. to poop in her diaper.

It’s driving me bonkers. Not only that, but my children are not getting enough sleep. They don’t conk out until 10 p.m. on some nights, and Dan and I struggle to get them to wake up the next day.

I am going to (try to) lay down the law tonight.

I’ll start by insisting the light go off. (They can turn the light on, which is part of the problem. I don’t want to unplug it because — trust me — Flora will take it upon herself to plug it back in.)

I’ll tell them if they leave the room for any reason (the exception will be to go pee, although I’m not telling them that — they’ll be in the bathroom all night), the gate goes up. At Flora’s request, we have been leaving the gate off the door.

If they come downstairs once, they are going to lose their show before bedtime (the next day).
If they come downstairs again, they are going to lose TV and the night-time treat.
Then the lullaby, then the book, and if it continues, they are going to be going to bed immediately after dinner and bath time.

I need that hour or two after they go to bed: to do dishes, fold laundry, pack lunches, check e-mail, read. Whatever. That is my time. And they are messing with it.

Do your kids get out of bed? What do you do about it? If you have other suggestions for me, I’m open!

12 thoughts on “Stall

  1. Last night, I was asleep before my daughter. She had animals to sing to, shoes to try on, coughs to stifle with seven glasses of water, etc., same as your girls. And she was up before me. Arrgh. You must let me know how this goes. I am going to steal what works!

    • Round one has not even gone well. The light is on.

      However, I did not sing a lullaby since Kate turned the light on when I specifically told her not to.

      Her reply? “I don’t want no lullaby.”

      Failure is in the wind.

  2. For what it’s worth, I think it’s a good plan. Even the best kids will push the boundaries, and continue to push if left unchecked, until there are no more boundaries.

    Good luck with facing The Wrath tonight.

      • Try to remain firm and consistent. They have to realize that you’re not fooling around and you’re not going to change your mind.

        If you go back on what you said the consequences would be, they’ll know that you can always be talked out of punishing them, thus turning into more and more fights.

        Stick to your guns!

  3. I find that the routine works great, until it doesn’t, and we have a rough couple of weeks while we figure out and settle into a new routine.

    My kids will not get out of bed (even when I wish they would) without a parent present. Ever. This means I hear Oliver shouting, at 5 am, “It’s wake up time. Let’s begin!” until I get out of bed.

    I think your plan is sound. Boundaries are good. Clear expectations are good.

    • I am hoping that as the weather gets better, and we get more outdoor time, they will be more tired at bedtime. Worked last year!

      You should point out to Oliver, as per one of your recent posts, that one of the reasons you’re so tired is because of the little shouting routine he puts you through. 😉

      I am seriously looking into a clock for my girls’ room so on the weekends they don’t leave their room until 8 a.m. I think that’s perfectly reasonable.

      Here’s hoping.

  4. @Stacia: Gah!

    @bluzdude: I am the picture of consistency and follow-through with my kids. It’s painful sometimes — for me, too. But otherwise, yeah, they don’t learn their decisions have consequenses.

    I had to go up once last night to settle them down. When I told Flora I could hear them downstairs, she said, “Is the floor on the ceiling?” (i.e. why can you hear us running around if you’re downstairs?) “Yes,” I told her. “Cool!” she said. And Kate came downstairs once, around 9:30, because she was “firsty”. I gave her a little water, tucked her back in, turned out the light, and sang her a short lullaby. Flora was already asleep.

    It didn’t go too badly. Tonight will be a real test, because it’s Lost night.

  5. oh kids make bedtime so fun. Last night, Dan went upstairs to check on her (after 30 minutes of quiet and then some footsteps coming from her room?) She was wearing her cowboy hat in her bed, had a pair of sandals from her closet, and had somehow retrieved a yellow peep Easter basket from one of her high shelves in the closet.

    I DON’T EVEN KNOW.

    • That sounds like “quiet time” at my house. When I get them after their hour of rest time (for me), their room looks like it’s been leveled.

      I’ve started trying to contain the explosion of books and stuffed animals at bedtime. The girls have been pretty reasonable about it. The extra light is a huge issue, though.

      We are making progress though. Fingers crossed!

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