It got me thinking about our battles with bedtime, and our journey to a consistent and happy bedtime routine.
Right from when Munchkin was born I wanted to have a set bedtime, but for the first few months it wasn't to be. I've written before about what a sensitive and high-needs little person she is. I quickly discovered that while a sense of rhthym was something I strived for on a daily basis, but any actual routine was impossible.
She screamed in the bath, refused any attempts at infant massage. We tried white noise CDs, sleepy essential oils, baby calming homeopathic treatments, but she would have none of it. Sometimes she was so so tired her eyes would look like they were on stalks, and we would have to drive up and down the motorway with our Baby Mozart CD on full bore to get her to sleep - and even that wasn't failsafe. Sometimes we found that bouncing her quite firmly on our laps, facing outwards, while watching television (not very Steiner I know but desperate times) would get her off to sleep - she was so unpredictable.
Until she was turned one, bed time was anywhere from 6.30 till 10.00. Routine was not even in our vocabulary.
We wanted a bed time, but we knew that she wasn't ready for this level of external structure. You try putting a child to bed who is bouncing off the walls, or turning purple with rage at the idea that you might be 'winding down'.
So for us it was baby steps all the way.
Then finally, at around I think 13 months or so, I started taking her to bed each night, shutting the door, and reading stories, singing songs, nursing and cuddling, with the lights dimmed.
There was some resistance to this as she would try to bash the door down and collapse in my arms in tears at this new routine. But her protests were shortlived - she was finally at the age where she was ready for a more rhythmical bedtime.
Now some nights she takes my hand and leads me to her bedroom ... while blowing kisses at her Dad. She knows the drill.
So, our routine is a little different now from the common wisdom around bedtime routine.For us, it worked to give her a bath before dinner, not after as seems to be the common wisdom. Bathtime is just too exciting, too stimulating for our sensitive little girl.
We have a bath around 4.45, and then dinner as a family most nights, at about 5.30. Then by 6.00 dinner is over and she has quiet play with her Dad, sometimes in her bedroom. At 6.30 its time for teeth brushing and bed time stories in bed with mummy, and lots of milkies. By 7.00 she is usually asleep.
So, if any of you are struggling with this whole bedtime routine, believe me, it does get better. I'd love to hear what your bedtime routines are.