This time of day has been the worst part of my day for a long time.
Once T was born…
…and L climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night successfully busting his lip at 18 months…
…and we put him into a Toddler bed.
We probably should have gone with a crib tent at the time, but I was afraid that he would halfway figure out how to get out and strangle himself on the way. You know, mom-paranoia? I need to think of a non-hyphenated version of that. Momanoia maybe? eh…
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth has been my baby sleep bible. The book suggests clear and concise “bedtime rules” once children are put into toddler beds that they can get out of. They have morphed over the last two years to be as follows:
1. Stay laying down in your bed.
2. Be very quiet.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Go to sleep.
Bedtime rules have NOT allowed me to leave the room before both boys are asleep. Neither has the “Jack-in-the-Box” method where you put your kiddo back in bed time after time without emotion involved. No talking, just pick them up and put them back in. They have just moved on to staying in their beds while jumping or playing with the curtain or pushing their beds away from the wall or any other number of nap time diversionary tactics.
So now I have resolved myself to sitting in the doorway while reading a book and letting my presence be the reason they finally go to sleep. I thought about L (3 1/2) dropping his nap, but he’s just not ready. If he’s not asleep by 2, I’ll usually let him out of his room to play quietly or lay with me, but it’s always a big mistake. Unfortunately, whenever this happens he becomes a crazed monster around 4 o’clock and then promptly falls asleep on the drive to pick up Daddy. Which in turn makes bedtime even more difficult.
My recently developed prayer rule has me praying my midday prayers after they fall asleep at nap time. After a few particularly difficult days I had an epiphany as I said the Orthodox prayer of parents for their children. Part of the prayer asks that they be drawn nearer to God, doing His will in all things.
Not my will. His. God’s will.
Now I’m not saying that children shouldn’t listen to their parents, but because this has been such a struggle for so long it became clear to me that God is working through my children in order to save me. In other words, my children are my path to salvation. Not because they are perfect, but because we cannot raise children in the path of His truth without His help.