Ben slept through the night again last night. But he refused to go down for a nap today. I was falling asleep while reading to him but he was bright eyed and not nodding at all. So I gave up and let him go out to play. Then at around five he got very cranky and fell asleep on the living room floor.
I woke him up after about half an hour and changed his dirty diaper. Oh he was mad and ranted and raved for almost an hour until Dom came home.
But… We had a much, much easier bedtime tonight. I’m glad in the end I woke him up because it was pay the piper this evening or pay at bedtime and it was worth it to have a smooth transition this evening.
I think we’re all starting to realize that compromises are going to have to be made to incorporate Ben into the bedtime routine. The girls are starting to be willing to give, though we still have a ways to go.
I’m also realizing that Ben really needs to talk with me about the events of the day, to process them before he goes to sleep. He becomes a major chatterbox at bedtime and can’t sleep for all the talking. Today, for example, we left the playground early because he kept getting bark in his sandal and wanted to change shoes. (It was kind of funny. I suggested out loud that he perhaps should have worn sneakers instead of sandals to a playground with bark mulch and suddenly he wanted nothing but to leave.) I sort of hoped he’d forget about wanting to go back and he did for a while but at bedtime it came up again how disappointed he was that we didn’t go back to the playground. He tried so hard to talk with me about it; but I only understood about half of what he was trying to say. He is desperate to learn a vocabulary to express his turbulent emotions. But I think that’s only a small pat of it. I think he’s also just going to be a person who needs to talk things over with someone.
I’m finding ways to turn some control over to him so that the bedtime transitions are easier. Tonight he turned off the light by himself. Hitherto the light being out has been a major point of conflict. He made it into a game and had the ball he was playing with turn off the light and so I made it into a game and thanked the ball and then suggested the ball get into bed and snuggle with the pillow and blankets. Ben pretended to give the ball milk and I sang the lullaby to the ball. Ben allowed one of the three usual songs and then balked and wanted to talk some more so I broke the deadlock by leaving to get a blanket he’d forgotten and I took a long time coming back to let him settle. Then we said goodnight to everything in the room (as in Goodnight Moon) and I ended up giving him a dolly and tucking the dolly into his bed with the blanket and he let the dolly snuggle with the ball. Then I left to use the bathroom and never went back in.
Bella and Sophie are learning how to fall asleep in the midst of Ben’s chatter—tonight Sophie was asleep before the lights went out and Bella was asleep before I went to get the blankies. And he’s learning that he can control the give and take a bit till we find a place that is comfortable for everyone. I know the negotiations will take a while and I’m sure we’ll have some setbacks; but tonight I can see how this might work itself out in the long run.