55 hours 21 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s about how long I have figured my life has been wasted in the Battle of Bedtime, a sport that is gaining popularity in our house. My son, Biz e-Baby2, is going for the MVP award or something on the opposing team, because that kid has been relentless. He’s running fake plays and screens all over the place. Just when I think I have his number, he goes long for the Hail Mary and schools me.
I’m a sore loser. Therefore, losing is not an option anymore.
For the last three to four weeks, I have spent approximately 2 hours putting my son to bed five days a week. Fortunately, my husband is home to help the other two days or else I’d have thrown in the towel by now. The process starts roughly around 8:00 p.m. and ends around 10:00 p.m.
Why did this start all of the sudden, you ask? It all seems to have been triggered when we switched him from his crib to a toddler bed. He was beginning to scale the bars of his crib to escape. Sometimes, he would just get stuck straddling the frame and couldn’t manage to get his other leg over. Those times, he cried out for help. However, a couple of times he was mildly successful in getting out of the bed, but actually fell out on the floor. Generally, the landing wasn’t pleasant. My husband and I decided as a matter of safety, we had to get him lower to the floor. Hence, the crib was converted into a toddler bed. He was 20 months old.
Surprisingly, he did well the first week. I assume he didn’t know he could get out and didn’t test the boundaries. Of course, things changed at some point and here I am now writing about it. My silence has finally been broken. But the secret life, dread and pain I have felt every time I see the big hand inching closer to the stroke of bedtime can no longer be kept a secret. I need group support.
To fight back, I did what any good team player would do – I studied up on my opponent, and I watched film. I knew my son had some necessities that had to be in place before the battle ensued. Otherwise, he’d use them as an excuse for getting up. Here’s the list:
Cup of milk
Cup of water
Preparedness only got me so far though. No amount of defensive blocks could spare me from his breaking through the line and getting out of bed.
First, he would come out of his room and come downstairs. That was the first week.
The second week, my husband and I stationed ourselves at the top of the stairs. He still came out.
The third week, I watched my Supernanny films. What was it we were doing wrong? We were engaging him. The rule is you CANNOT talk. No matter what he said we implemented Jo Frost’s strict policy.
- The first time the child leaves their room, lead them to bed saying, “Honey, go back to bed.”
- The second time the child leaves their room, lead them back to bed saying, “Go back to bed.” Firm this time.
- The third time or more you say nothing. Lead them back in silence.
As the saying goes, silence is golden.
Now don’t get me wrong. He still gets out of bed. But he is more quickly defeated because of the silent treatment. He eventually loses hope that getting out of bed will elicit any response or action and goes to sleep. It just now takes 20 times instead of 48.
Today, for example, it was down to an hour-ish. It won’t be long now if my defense holds.
That is considered a “W” in my book. Oh crap, he JUST WOKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!