Now is the time for me to admit to something that I keep as a closely guarded piece of information, mainly for the fact that I know those eye rolls and I DO know of sleepless nights and how hard it can be, but I was blessed with not one but two good sleepers. Both of my girls slept through from 8 weeks old ish (please don’t hate me).
As I begin to write this blog post, I realise how ridiculous it is that I feel I can’t shout it from the roof tops but I guess I can sympathise with parents that have never had good sleepers on some level, because there have been many periods of time when my kids haven’t slept for various reasons and my god it’s tough, so for that to be the norm for you then you are basically a superhero.
Whenever anyone asks that (very darling and welcomed) question… ‘oooooooh do you think you’ll have a third’, my answer always involves the fact I was #blessed with two sleepers and number 3 will most definitely be sent to test me, so for that reason, for now, I’m keeping my legs firmly crossed.
I never thought I would be a ‘routiney’ parent, I would say that I was quite baby led with both of mine and didn’t try to have anything set in stone too much, maybe more so with Isla being number 2 I craved a routine because I had two of them to think about, both with very different needs, but yeah, I never felt like we needed a routine as such… we just sort of found what worked for us and carried on doing that until something changed, so we changed what we were doing, then carried on again… one foot in front of the other and so on. I always just think about it as basically trying our hardest to keep our shit together and get as much sleep as possible.
There are a few things that we have always done of an evening. The girls have a bath most nights, quite frankly, it kills half an hour, they are happy and contained in one place. I think when they were younger it was very much a time for all of us to bond. I love the play that they have always had either alone or together at bath time. And now as they are a bit older, it gives me half an hour to put laundry away or sit on the floor outside the bathroom on my phone (usually the latter). Occasionally I will bath with them too which they always both love and its nice to get that quality time in with them at the end of the day when we can.
They usually are both super hyper when they get out the bath, running around starkers like little crazy streakers that have just been set free. I always try and calm them down at this point because it usually ends up in over tired tears when all the fun has to stop. Isla more so needs that calm and closeness, so I usually sit her on my knee and put some baby oil or lotion on her and sing twinkle ytwinkle little star, she always loves that and I will talk to her about what bedtime story she wants so she knows that’s coming next.
One thing we do struggle with is the actual going to sleep. Both of my girls love a cuddle and kick off something rotten if I move an inch before they are in a deep sleep. To be honest, I don’t do much about this. Some nights I lose my shit and do a lot of shouting and shutting doors, then opening doors and giving more cuddles and feeling like a bit of a monster aaaaannnndd repeat until they fall asleep. But most nights I just give the cuddles. I’m usually pretty down for it after a long day of being non stop… and we tend to do bedtime around the 7pm mark so even on those shit, shouty nights I am usually downstairs alone by 8.30 ish at the latest so I still get a couple of hours to myself. Abs bless her heart, always says to me ‘have you had dinner yet?!’ even when she knows full well I haven’t, to try and suss out if I’m going to sneak off once she’s dropped off!
When it comes to those periods of time when they don’t sleep, usually there is always a reason and if there isn’t a reason, I create one because unfortunately just being a #sleepthief really isn’t acceptable and doesn’t make me feel like the period has an end. If the period has a reason for example, teething, then you just patiently wait for the teething to finish, grin and bare it, do your very best to survive on the minimal sleep but always remember that the period has an end and things should (hopefully) go back to normal and in the meantime there is always Sauvignon Blanc and Dairy Milk.
So that is our bedtime routine in a nutshell. I don’t have it nailed and I’m definitely winging it but I’m pretty sure that we all are.
I am proud to say that this post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby UK but as always all words and opinions are my own.