Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bedtime Routine

Back at the beginning of September, Caedmon finally figured out how to climb out of his crib, and how to turn the light on in his room.  We tried very hard for several nights to get him to stay in bed on his own, but we eventually gave up.  Ever since, every night, our routine has been like this:

  • Give him a bath and brush his teeth.
  • Read three stories together.
  • Give him half an hour to play quietly in his room.
  • Tuck him in, pray together, and turn off the light.
  • Wait outside the room (at most 30 seconds) before he's up and turning on the light or opening the door.
  • Remove the lightbulb, and lock his door.
  • Wait for the screaming to die down.

For the last week or so, we've been talking about trying something different – partly because we're tired of the fight, but also because we don't like having to resort to a physical restraint, like a lock.  We'd rather that he be able to control himself, well, by himself.

So this afternoon, we explained to Caedmon that we'd be doing something different tonight.  We had four new bedtime rules: (1) Stay in bed; (2) close your eyes; (3) stay quiet; (4) put your head on your pillow.  We gave him hand motions for each of the rules, and rehearsed them with him repeatedly throughout the afternoon and evening.  We also explained that if he got up out of bed, we would immediately put him back to bed, without looking at him, and without saying anything.

So Galena drew the short straw tonight.  Everything went well, up to the point where she turned off the light, left the room and closed the door. 

At about the half hour mark, I came up to see how things were going.  She was standing outside the door with her teeth clenched.  In-between missions, she said, “Thirty-three.”  The door opened again, she disappeared inside, then re-emerged.  “Thirty-four.” The door opened again, and she disappeared once more. “Thirty-five,” she said when she came out.

I came back about half an hour later.  She was still standing outside the door, teeth still clenched, but she had removed her sweater and her arms were bare.  “One hundred thirty.”  “One hundred thirty-one.”  “One hundred thirty-two.”

Somewhere around 150, I could hear Caedmon's giggles switch to crying.

I popped my head into the hallway a bit later.  “One hundred sixty-two,” she said, but there was triumph in her eyes.  From within his room, I could hear Caedmon screaming, “No, Mom! No! Go away! Daddy! Daaaaddy!"  The door opened again, and in she went.

Caedmon is now asleep.  Galena had to put him back in bed 169 times before he finally stayed.

It's my night tomorrow.  Pray for me.

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