Since this blog has of late become a chronicle of Ben’s sleep woes, I thought I’d jot a brief note about tonight’s bedtime.
Today was a touch day all around. we were all cranky and a little off. Also, Saturday night is always our most stressful night because it’s bath night. That just adds a whole nother layer to our bedtime routine. Especially with the need to brush and braid the girls’ hair after baths. And also Ben hates baths right now.
So during nap time we got the toddler bed out of the shed. We hadn’t been talking it up much with Ben because we weren’t sure how he’d take it. But we did prep Bella so she wouldn’t talk so much about it being her bed. We told her it needed to be Ben’s new bed. Then after Ben woke up from his nap we took down the crib and put up the toddler bed in it’s place. At first he was a bit distressed to see his old bed go and this new thing in its place. Then when it was in place he climbed up on it. Hard to resist new furniture.
And then Bella performed a heroic act of generosity. She offered Ben a present of her truck blanket, which has been one of her three must-have blankets since she moved into the toddler bed. Id commented recently about how she and Sophie each have several blankets and quilts but Ben doesn’t have any and how I’d always thought the truck blanket would go to Ben but how obviously that wouldn’t happen because she was attached to it. And then I forgot about the conversation and made a note to try to find a nice quilt or blankie that could be Ben’s own. (I started a baby quilt for him when I was pregnant with him and it’s still in pieces.) But Bella has of late been committing many acts of profound generosity. Inspired by a book Grandma B sent her she has spontaneously made little sacrifices, done good deeds just to make someone else happy. It has warmed my heart to see it. There is a little bit of looking to see if we’re watching and hoping for praise; but I think she is also doing these acts for the sake of the one they benefit as well.
Sophie and Bella then proceeded to shower Ben with all sorts of blankets and toys and books, to each of which he sweetly said, “No, thank you.” But the gift of the truck blanket obviously meant a lot to him as well.I think he did understand its significance.
So at bedtime we had one stroke of luck which was that Anthony went to sleep and was tucked into bed before we said our prayers. One advantage of a bedtime delayed by baths I suppose. That freed me up to brush the girls’ hair and then to devote a lot of attention to Ben. Sophie fell asleep during her story, which was another stroke of luck. So when it came time to tuck them in it was just Ben and Bella. Ben was nodding over his books but Bella startled him awake again. (I mentally cursed but managed to not berate my bumbling five year-old.) After her stories were done I sent Bella off to bed under protest and had Dom tuck her in and then carry sleeping Sophie to her bed and then turn out their bedroom light. Normally Sophie would insist on me tucking her in.
So with three of our usual conflict points gone and having been able to spend some cuddle time with just me and Ben it was much smoother. Even so he fussed about the light being off and refused to get into his bed. I sat down next to his bed and calmly told him that I was going to sing Bella her songs and then I’d cuddle him. As I began to sing he began to cry and I stopped and calmly told him that I knew he was upset and didn’t want me to sing. This is the part of the evening where you just start to cry and tell me ‘no’ an I don’t know what to do and you cry and we’re all unhappy. And that’s ok. I’m going to sing Bella’s song and you can fuss and then we can cuddle. He cried through the first song and then quieted during the second.
I was searching for his blankies during both songs and finally realized they weren’t in the room. So we went to look for them and found them in my room. Blankies in hand, when we got back to his bedroom he crawled into his bed with a satisfied and only mildly cranky little grunt. He grunted a few more times as he buried his face in the pillow. And then I tucked the truck blanket over him. I whispered to him a bit about how much his sister loved him to give him such a present. How much I love him and daddy and Jesus and everyone. Lots of listing of people.
Then I talked over the day with him, reminding him of all the highlights and reminding him of looking at the stars last night and of Auntie Tree cuddling him and talking over his fussing. I looked forward to tomorrow and going to Mass and eating pancakes and talked about how nice it would be to see Jesus and how much Daddy loves him to make pancakes.
Then I blessed him and finally hearing my phone beeping told him I needed to go stop it and go to bed myself. I asked if he wanted me to leave the door open and he grunted. So I left quietly with one final blessing and closed the door behind me.
So far so good he’s still asleep. May God grant us all a peaceful night.