A few months ago I wrote this post highlighting the challenges in surviving the evening hours with two two and under on my own. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had way fewer evenings where this is necessary. The late fall and winter months mean work is less busy and there is less going on in the evenings for Evan, which means there are two to tackle bedtime more often. This makes mama happen.
Over the last three weeks, however, Evan’s been doing some work at our church which means he has been spoken for most evenings. So, once again, I’ve had to find my groove at doing the whole bedtime thing solo. What I’ve learned over the past few weeks is that now, surviving bedtime with the two of them? Piece of cake. Surviving mealtime, on the other hand? That’ll take me down. That’s a different story, though. My purpose in this post is to give an update on the whole bedtime thing now that I’ve got a few more months under my belt.
There are a few key reasons why bedtime seems to be much smoother.
First, bathtime. Gwen can now sit up and move around easily in the tub. I am not afraid of her sister crushing her or smothering her. This means dual bath time is possible and way less stressful than it used to be. Secondly, Gwen no longer freaks out the second she gets lifted out of the tub, expecting a boob to be in her mouth within a matter of milliseconds. This means that I can take the girls straight from dinner to the tub. Or, at least put them in the tub earlier in the evening as opposed to just before bed, even if not right after dinner. I bath them together, get Gwen out and PJed first, while E continues to play and cleans up the bath toys and then get her out and PJed.
Second, their bedtimes have adjusted. At the time that I wrote that previous post, both girls were going to bed between 7:30-7:45 which made it tricky to accomplish bedtime routines for both. Now, Gwen is in bed, asleep by 6:45-7 and Eva still goes to bed by 7:30-7:45. When I wrote the first post about the bedtime stuff, I was hesitant about having Gwen’s bedtime be earlier than Eva’s since I cherished that one on one cuddle time with her. I do miss that. I miss being able to nurse her and sit in the nursery holding her, sometimes for as long as an hour, before laying her down. But the good thing is that she usually makes her way into my bed in the wee hours of the morning anyway, so we still get that cuddle time. She also wakes up earlier than Eva most mornings, so we get some nice one on one before the Big Sissy is awake.
And lastly, Gwen no longer takes forever to go to sleep. She nurses for 3-4 minutes, and if she’s not already asleep when she’s done, as soon as I lay her down with her pacifier, she’s down for the count. There are very few nights (KNOCK ON WOOD AS HARD AS I CAN) that she puts up a fight to go to sleep. If she doesn’t immediately go to sleep, it usually doesn’t take a lot of effort, other than slipping the paci back into her mouth, or laying her back down if she’s standing up.
So, now, it usually goes like this. I can get both of the girls bathed and PJed by 6:30-6:45 and if it’s not bath night, it’s even smoother. Although bath night is a welcome distraction to kill some time between supper and bed. Often, Gwen has a bath every night and if Eva wants to join her she can but she doesn’t always. After PJs are done, we play for a while longer until Gwen starts to fuss. Then, if Eva is engrossed in something I just leave her be. If she needs a distraction, I’ll throw a bowl of crackers at her and turn on a show. Either way, it’s not a huge deal since Gwen nurses so quickly anyway. I’ve had nights where Eva just doesn’t seem to want to be distracted while I’m putting Gwen to bed and she has stood in the nursery beside us. So far, though, that hasn’t bothered Gwen and she still goes to sleep.
Then, when that’s done, I still have a good 30-40 minutes until Eva goes to bed. Depending on the night, she and I might have a shower (sometimes this is my best option for actually getting a shower myself), or I will clean up from dinner while she plays if I haven’t had a chance to. She may have a snack and watch a show or else we’ll do potty, pull up, teeth brushing and snuggle in her bed for a books and songs for a longer time before bed.
The spacing in the bedtimes has made it oh so much easier. So much. Eliminating my need to basically toss one kid into their bed and run to the next makes the evening quieter, more peaceful and less “I wanna pull all my hair out and then drown myself in chocolate”. Although, if I’m being totally honest, I do often feel that way anyway.
This new set up, with the earlier bedtime for the babe, makes the whole “bedtime” thing take much longer but also makes it a far less chaotic time. For now, when it’s dark and cold and icky and we wouldn’t be outside anyway, it works well. When summer comes and evenings are spent outside, we’ll see how it goes, as I’m sure Eva won’t be as interested in coming inside when Sissy has to go to bed. For now, though … you’ll be hearing no complaints from me.