Or at least the delusional Mr. Banks’ song:
“It’s 6:03, and the heirs to my dominion are scrubbed and tubbed, and adequately fed. And so I’ll pat them on the head, and send them off to bed. Ah, lordly is the life I lead!”
Oh wait- that’s not how my evenings go at all. Do anyone’s?
Actually I’m well aware that some households’ evenings might. But since we practice Attachment Parenting, there is no such thing as just “putting the kids to bed”- in the very early years anyway.
This is on my mind because of a conversation I had with a friend who has an 11 month old and is in the throes of the “what was I thinking, maybe I should have done things differently but now it’s too late, why can’t I just put my child in bed and hire a sitter to come and hang out while my husband and I go to dinner, I can’t buy a crib now that my baby is 11 months old” self talk.
In our experience these sleepless nights and other temporary issues have paid off with our four year old. By 6:30PM he is in bed asleep and usually sleeps a solid, uninterrupted 12 hours.
My 15 month old is not there yet. This child does everything he can to stay awake at all hours of the day and night. I know had I implemented a cry-it-out, self soothing, or sleep association routine he would have no choice but to nap at naptime, and sleep when I put him in his (non-existent) crib.
His tenacity and love for experiencing everything life has to offer keeps him clinging to the day like no child I have seen. If he gets the slightest whiff that we might want him to sleep, he’ll search for the nearest toothpicks to prop his eyelids open. (Not really, but if he knew he had that option I bet he would try.)
I could attempt reverse psychology Mary Poppins’ lullaby style, however he would take it literally and be thrilled.
“Stay awake, don’t rest your head
Don’t lie down upon your bed
While the moon drifts in the skies
Stay awake, don’t close your eyes
Though the world is fast asleep
Though your pillow’s soft and deep
You’re not sleepy as you seem
Stay awake, don’t nod and dream
Stay awake, don’t nod and dream”
Thankfully once he’s asleep he sleeps soundly all night. At that point though, he’s worn me out entirely.
But even though I might complain about being tired, or rattle off that I have not had a full night’s sleep in 4 years, one month and 8 days, I wouldn’t change one thing about our nighttime parenting. Especially now that my 4 year old has no baby left in him and I can look back and see how fast that period of his life came and went.
I believe it is worth it. The time flies by. That baby turns into a 4 year old overnight, and for some reason, that night feels like one you slept through because it was over so fast.
SO, if you’re in the middle of sleepless nights and long days because of your co-sleeping, possibly-still-night-nursing baby or toddler, take heart.
It won’t be like this for long.
Or in the words of my favorite chimney sweep “childhood slips like sand through a sieve… And all too soon they’ve up and grown, and then they’ve flown… And it’s too late for you to give – just that spoonful of sugar to ‘elp the medicine go down.”