Home » NOT CHILD’S PLAY: Screwing With A Toddler’s Routine

NOT CHILD’S PLAY: Screwing With A Toddler’s Routine

So you know I’m FREAKING OUT about giving birth to this second kid.

It’s not the actual – ohmahgawdI’mgivingbirth! part that’s freaking me out. . .Although I do find that process rather barbaric and not at all the beautiful miracle people gush about. . .

It’s the TODDLER.

See, the Toddler and I have a dirty little secret:  He’ll only go to sleep willingly for ME.

That’s right.  Nap time, bedtime, dead tired wailing for his crib, he’ll ONLY go to sleep without a freak out if I do his pre-sleep routine and put him in his crib.

This has been going on for probably over a year now.  And it really hasn’t mattered because I’m ALWAYS around to put him to sleep.

But all that is going to change when I have to head to the hospital to evict his baby brother. . .

I unilaterally decided several months ago, the poor sucker charged with putting Mac to bed in my absence would be his FATHER.  It made the most sense since I was holding several grudges against Chris at the time.  And well, his Father would be around every night leading up to my little hospital visit to practice.

Except, I didn’t feel like practicing.

Because I KNEW the practice was going to be harder on ME than anyone else.  I knew we’d have nights of failed attempts where I’d be stuck fixing the situation and being exhausted and pregnant didn’t afford me much motivation to start switching up the perfectly good routine of a change-adverse two-year-old.

I’m nothing if not excellent at avoiding difficult situations. . .mature adult that I am.

But then something else happened:  Mac started “reading.”

He has about ten books he likes me to read over and over and over mygawddotheysuck over and over.  And he’s managed to memorize EVERY book, VERBATIM.  And he started to recite them to ME before bedtime. . .

And it’s the cutest BLEEPING thing I have possibly EVER seen!

But because I send his Father physically away from us at every nap and bedtime, his Father wasn’t able to witness this display of adorableness.

And I started to feel really, really guilty about that.

But I was still torn.

Because Mac doesn’t see his Father as much as he sees me, the man’s mere presence is enough to turn bedtime into a total nightmare.  I have no idea why, but Chris’ presence gets the kid all ramped up.  Which of course, is how we got ourselves into this little situation in the first place.  I’d send Chris off at bedtime to walk the dog and get himself ready for bed while I prepared Mac and then once Chris was in bed, I’d put Mac in his room.

Necessity and guilt were conspiring against me.  I HAD TO CHANGE UP OUR ROUTINE, as difficult as it was going to be on me.

I had mapped out a transition plan of sorts months earlier. . .

I envisioned all of us heading towards the bedrooms and Mac could play for a bit in what will be his “new” bedroom eventually.  We could all brush our teeth together.  We could all sit together quietly and read.  I’d put Mac in his crib for a while and once that was all going smoothly, we’d have Chris try putting Mac in the crib.


The goal. . .

The goal. . .

So simple in theory.

Friday evening Mac seemed plenty tired.  And I guess I was feeling all kinds of daring, so I decided to pull the trigger.  It was time to launch Operation Completely Screw With the Kid’s Perfectly Good Bedtime Routine.

We headed upstairs plenty early so Mac had lots of time to romp around in the “new” bedroom.  And romp he did.  Earlier that day, we had gone to the store and picked out three brand new books especially for DADDY to read to him.  Daddy read the books.  But things were just generally out of control.  Mac was running wild repeatedly flushing the toilet, slamming doors, jumping on the beds. . .

The Reality. . .

The Reality. . .


I attempted to get Mac settled and in his crib and failed miserably.

In an effort to just get us all some damned sleep already, I drug the duvet and some pillows into his bedroom and slept there on the floor with him.

And I got busted TWICE attempting to sneak out of the room.  I have no idea how I managed to avoid peeing my pants.

Saturday, we had a full day of fun stuff and again that evening, commenced with our new pre-bedtime routine. . .And again, I found myself literally crawling out of Mac’s room on all fours at 3AM.  This time not so much for sneaking purposes but because I couldn’t physically stand given the pain in my lower back.

By Sunday afternoon, I was nearly delirious with back pain and sleep deprivation and had decided screwing with bedtime was a very very bad idea and I was somewhat concerned that we were encouraging a pattern of “Mac throws a fit in his crib and Mommy will sleep with him” which is something we’ve hereto avoided and I certainly didn’t want to start now. . .

But after another full day and evening of fun stuff, Chris looked at me with puppy eyes as he asked if we were going to try the new routine again.

Ugh.  Guilt.  

One more time I agreed.  

If it didn’t work, I needed to go back to the old routine for at least a night to test whether he’d sleep alone or whether he was manipulating me into sleeping in his room with him regardless of the routine.

This time, I let Mac “read” to us for a very long time.  I didn’t even attempt to make him go to bed until 10:15.

The protest was still mighty. . .But it lasted barely a minute.

In fact, he was quiet so suddenly and so completely, I wondered if he was actually ok in his crib?

I hesitantly laid down on our bed.  After about 15 minutes of uninterrupted silence, I actually attempted to get comfortable.

By gawed, I think it worked!

I allowed myself a smug smile before drifting off to sleep.  I am a parenting MASTERMIND!

A mastermind who is already worrying about tonight’s bedtime at 6:30AM. . .because SCREWING WITH A TODDLER IS NOT CHILD’S PLAY.  








2 Responses to “NOT CHILD’S PLAY: Screwing With A Toddler’s Routine”

  1. Dani Ryan says:

    Oh man, I really feel for you. You already know I went to hell and back with sleep in the first year. At one point i was spending 10+ hours a day trying to get my daughter to sleep. It was NOT healthy for any of us! We are well past all of that yet, at 2.5-years-old, no one but me has EVER put her to bed. I never wanted to try and have my husband put her to bed because I knew it would screw up naps, which were my lifeline for so many months. But now that naps are a thing of the past, maybe we SHOULD try? Nah…. I don’t have time for that. HA!!!!

    My only advice to you is to decide on a new routine and be consistent with it. Mac will eventually get used to something new. It will just take time. And remember that they don’t go to college with these sleep issues (one hopes, anyway), so it’s temporary.

    Good luck!
    Dani Ryan recently posted…15 reasons to celebrate the end of summerMy Profile

    • admin says:

      I know it does take time and he’ll be fine. Although, I do feel bad that he gets so upset just because we are screwing with the routine. The past few nights have been better. He’ll pitch a fit but at least he settles pretty quickly.

      Meanwhile, he’s taken to calling the “new” bedroom “Daddy Crib.” This cracks me up. And in news of related problems, he wants to spend ALL his time in there. Yesterday, he refused to LEAVE THE HOUSE all morning and just wanted to play in Daddy Crib.

      I’m glad he likes it and hopefully he feels the same way when he’s forced to share the space with an annoying little brother. Ha!