So, last night I sat here and wrote a long, painful post, begging you all to help me figure out how to Save Bedtime. (Now that we’re done with the whole Save Ferris campaign, that is.) Because it’s been just awful. I outlined the scenario and what’s got us so stuck around here. I was going to post it tonight.
But then I was on a little internet chat with my good friend Becky (because why would you just yell out your back window to your friend-who-happens-to-be-your-neighbor when you could do something impersonal like iChat?). And I asked Becky (yes, the one with the better fashion sense) if she knew how to keep a 2-year old in his bed at night. Now this might sound normal to you, but that’s only because you don’t know that Becky’s child is still in a crib. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Becky recalls reading somewhere that you should just walk the child back to bed as many times as you have to – without saying a word.
Wait! (Slapping head with open palm.)
You mean, don’t yammer on and on with, “If you get out of bed again, I’m going to have to take Superman to sleep with me, because he really wants to sleep and you’re keeping him awake”? or (my personal favorite) “Please, please, just get back into bed without another freak out,” which last night resulted in him hollering, “FreeCock! What’s FreeCock, Mommy? What does the freecock say?” with his big brother rolling with laughter up above, screeching like a peacock.
So tonight, armed with this new idea, I stayed calm. I breathed. We read the story, we cuddled on the pillows on the floor, I sang the songs they wanted (one was about helicopters and the other about Superman). I stayed the requisite four minutes (Lyle’s time limit of choice). I quietly went to the couch in the playroom outside their door. Every time Lyle left his bed, I silently walked him back. I never said another word to him. When he dropped his toy and needed my help, I silently pointed to it. He got it. I silently gestured towards his bed. He got into it.
Oh, it wasn’t pleasant or easy, don’t get me wrong. He cried and screamed and drove his brother absolutely bananas in the top bunk. But he stopped getting out of bed, and eventually he calmed down and went to sleep.
A longer process than is strictly necessary? Definitely.
But better than last night and the night before that, and the night before that.
Which serves as a great reminder that sometimes you just need a fresh perspective, not necessarily someone who has walked in your exact pair of stinky shoes.