Bedtime is the one thing I am very particular about in this house. I am determined that we have a consistent bedtime and routine. I also want all my children to have the same storytime, snuggles, and tucking in. Making sure 4 kids 6 and under get read to, snuggled and are asleep before 9 pm is a challenge though. Putting so much time into bedtime isn't much for 1 or 2 kids. A 30 minute reading, snuggle, tuck in routine times 4 is a lot though. It's especially a lot if none of them are sleepy enough to be put to bed at 7 pm. That means you have to overlap the kids.
Putting them to bed, on a typical night, is a tag team event. I start with J4, hubby starts with S6. Whoever is done first, or closest to done at 8 pm goes to get B11 into bed. Next in line for bed is A2. I get baby L, usually last or while I do A2. Putting them to bed without your "partner" is a bit more work. You never know what kind of things you will end up with. I can't be in 2 places at once so people just have to be patient.
I never know what to expect until I start. A group of obviously tired kids may all just lay there wide awake. This particular trip, on day 1 I started with S6 because she was ready to read. After reading though she had too much to say. Then baby L decided to crawl all over the bed fussing. At 8 pm I had to leave her to get B11 in bed. I take baby L downstairs to play while I do B11 and hopefully S6. Baby L screams the whole time I do B11 so I have to go get her instead of doing S6. I grabbed J4 to get him in bed so I didn't have to go back down for him. He will usually climb in bed and lay there himself for a while. This particular night he wanted nothing to do with that and screamed about it. Baby L's fussing was just getting worse though so I had to make him wait while I got her to sleep. He was not happy about that but he finally quieted down enough for her to fall asleep so I moved onto getting him to bed. By the time I went back to S6 she was already asleep. That's OK though, because, with hubby out of town she'll be climbing in my bed at 2 am. Now it is 9 pm before I am finally getting A2, luckily she's ready to go right to sleep.
After the first night you'd think I'd be afraid of bedtime. Certainly I can't be looking forward to it. I am TIRED at the end of the day and go to bed between 9 and 10 so I am always ready for bedtime. Kids
and unpredictable, the next night they could be ready for round 2 or be the complete opposite. Day 2 was certainly interesting. Baby L was again cranky so this time I started with her. J4 was tired too though so climbed in bed with us. 15 minutes later they are both sound asleep. I get B11 in bed real quick then move on to S6. A2 wants mommy though. I pick up A2 and take her with me. To my surprise A2 falls asleep too. It's 8:15pm and I am done.
The next morning, to my surprise, not only did A2 sleep all night in the other bedroom but so did S6.
Of course the 3rd night I forget the unpredictability rule. I try to do a repeat of day 2. Baby L, who was very cranky at 6:30 pm, now wants nothing to do with bedtime. It's not as bad as day 1 though. J4 at least falls asleep while I'm trying to get her to bed. Baby L at least cooperates by playing nicely with E14 while I get S6 in bed. A2 again falls asleep with S6 too.
I am also ecstatic that soccer is over. E14's soccer practices were from 7-8:30pm. It's awful hard to put kids to bed at 8 pm when you have to leave to pick another up at 8 pm. The kids with 8 pm bedtimes were not even getting home until 9 pm. Most nights baby L and A2 were falling asleep in the car. Some nights they stayed asleep when you moved them. Some nights they woke up renenergized from their cat nap.
So yes, I am just happy soccer is over. And yes, I do always have to look at the bright side. I wouldn't give up my snuggle time for anything.