Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm not above bribery.

Happy Monday, friends. This past weekend I embarked on something I had been dreading: streamlining my 6-year-old's bedtime. It had gotten beyond absurd. I think I've talked about it before. First, there's getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, using the bathroom, etc. Easy enough. No problems there. Then we're in bed, where two books are read, either by me, or by Ava. That all just depends on how tired she is. Since I think that bedtime has gotten a little too late, I've been trying to cut down to one book. Plus, now that she's six, the books tend to be longer.

Post books, there is a family hug, then a lullaby (the same one we've been singing since she was itty bitty), then multiple hugs and kisses. After that, she likes to read books on her own in bed. I get that. I like to read in bed, too. Besides, I'm not one to discourage a love of literacy.

The problem is that Ava likes to read her books until about 9:30pm. And during that time, she tends to get up a couple of times, then "requires" that someone (me) walks her back to her bed. And finally, once she's ready to go to sleep, someone (again, me - her preference at night) "needs" to take her books out of her bed, cover her up just right, place blankets on the correct side of her, and then give one more hug and kiss. After that, there is much talk of being scared. Then we leave the lights all on and she falls asleep.

I told you it was absurd.

So, on Friday, I decided it was time for that insanity to be put to rest. (Pun intended. Sorry.). Morgan was out of town, and honestly, it's easier for me to deal with a meltdown when I'm all alone and don't have another adult to commiserate/feel guilty with. The new bedtime routine stops after we read books, say prayers, etc. If she wants to read on her own, that's fine, but no one is coming to remove her books or tuck her in again or give the 103rd "last" hug/kiss.

As you can imagine, there was LOTS of pushback. Lots. After about 45 minutes of crying, screaming, and generally melting down, she was asleep. Ahhh. Saturday night was pretty much a repeat of the same. Davis even had an opinion about the situation. When Ava's protests got too loud, Davis, who was securely in his crib, yelled, "Be quiet!!"

The weekend was hard, but I just knew it had to be taken care of.

Yesterday, Ava and I were at the mall for a little girl time. She came across an Angry Birds stuffed animal that she wanted. This one, to be exact:

She was really pushing hard for it, but I wasn't about to buy that stupid thing for no reason. I know good and well that it would take only a few days for the poor red bird to be relegated to some distant corner of her room, never to be played with again. 

But. I am not above a little bribery. No, not at all, my friends. I made a little deal with her that if she gets through this week without fighting me on bedtime, the bird will be hers. One week. Long enough to get in the habit of an easier bedtime. Short enough to keep the reward in sight. 

I'll let you know how it goes. I think it was easier to hear her cry it out when she was a baby and couldn't talk. I resolve to stay strong. And when this is taken care of, I'll work on getting rid of Davis' pacifier habit. Now that's one I'm really dreading.


  1. I know what you mean. We're earlier. Light's out at 8:30 p.m., but he always has a "cover me up call" after that. He's usually asleep by 9 pm. I wish it were earlier.

    That was funny about Davis.

  2. Oh girl. You know I'm in the same boat you are. And it's definitely harder letting them cry it out at 6 vs. 6 months. If I had only known then what I know now. And I'm 100% behind bribery to get them to go to sleep on their own in their own room in a timely fashion! In fact, we give James 1 ticket for every night he falls asleep on his own AND 1 ticket for sleeping through the night without calling for someone. Whatever works. :-)