When Evan graduated out of the crib, he made it abundantly clear that without a cage to contain him, he was not going to remain still long enough to fall asleep. Every night since then, someone gets in the teeny bed with Evan and snuggles up next to him until Evan is asleep. Usually, the bedtime assistant has to say “Shhh” a few times. Sometimes, the bedtime assistant has to ask Evan to quit kicking the wall. Occasionally, the bedtime assistant has to drape an arm over Evan as if they are a bed harness. More often than not, the assistant just remains completely still and silent while hoping that Evan falls asleep before the assistant nods off. If the assistant falls asleep before Evan, game over. Evan wins.
Yes, I know that Evan should have learned to stay in bed and fall asleep on his own by now. Honestly, it is just not a battle worth fighting. As long as Evan falls asleep by 8 pm, life is good. Usually, the bedtime assistant job alternates between Sarah and Noah. They are able to get Evan to sleep in about ten minutes and rarely have a problem. When they aren’t home, Doug and I take turns. Doug usually nods off and sleeps for an hour. When it’s my turn, I alternate between my mind racing with all the things I should be doing and accidentally falling asleep.
Last night, I was Evan’s bedtime assistant simply because everyone else was out of the house. Well, not everyone. Amy was at home. Before I tucked Evan in bed, I told Amy her choices were cleaning her room and reading in bed. Once I was nestled beside Evan, I had to remain completely still and quiet. Noise and movement just charge Evan’s batteries and it takes him even longer to relax and sleep. Listening to the rhythm of Evan’s breathing, I knew that he was faking sleep and plotting his escape. I didn’t dare move. Then, I heard it. The sound of Amy singing songs that only she knows, crept under the door and I tried to ignore it. Then, the songs got louder and sillier. Evan started humming his own little happy song. I tried telepathically asking Amy to sing quietly, but of course, that didn’t work. Evan’s feet started tapping. I made a long, slow “shhhh” that sounded like a leaky beach ball compared to Amy’s singing. Slooooowly, Evan’s body relaxed, his breathing slowed and he fell deep asleep.
I tip-toed out of the room and stomped in Amy’s room. Before I could even get my hand on my hips in the lecture pose, Amy looked up from her toys and smiled at me. My heart melted into a pile of useless goo and I smiled back. Happy songs > Sleep
One thought on “bedtime routines”
Emily still has trouble going to sleep without someone in the room, and she’s 9. Aspie 9, but 9 nonetheless.
I sometimes rub her feet before sleep…slow, gentle massage of her arm or leg…
But most of the time Emily wins. 😉