I mentioned sleep routines in my last post.

Ingrid has always been a lousy sleeper, and her sleeping habits were almost an obsession for me. (See this post, and this one, and this, this, this, this and finally this one.) It goes a lot better nowadays – she no longer fights sleep, and goes to sleep pretty easily.

But she does not want to do it on her own. She is quite cuddly in general: she likes to cuddle up with me when we read or watch a movie, to hold my hand when she is upset and wants help calming down, and so on. And at night she very much wants to hold her hand on me to go to sleep. (Also some time in the middle of the night she still wanders from her bed and her room over to ours.)

Getting to this point took some effort: when we stopped breastfeeding, I’d lie down next to her. Then I’d sit next to her on the bed, so she could cuddle up next to my legs. Only then could I sit by the side of her bed and let her hold my arm.

This closeness seems important to her. She gets visibly upset as soon as I mention the possibility of changing this routine. I’m sure I could just ignore her wishes and decide to stop, to force her to do it some other way. But if it is that important to her, I don’t see why I should. It’s actually a pretty nice ending for our days: quietly, pleasantly, together.

We have made sure that it doesn’t absolutely have to be this way. Weekend nights are Eric’s, and she manages those just fine. But she clearly views them as second best.

Adrian is a much better sleeper. He goes to sleep in bed every night, with a bit of fussing but usually no screaming. He does need breastfeeding in the evening, though. (And just like Ingrid used to, he gets hungry at night: usually wakes every 3 or 4 hours and eats a proper meal each time, despite eating frequent large meals during the day as well.)

So I’ve ended up putting both kids to bed most nights. This can take over an hour even on a good day, much of which I spend sitting in one dark room or another. Pretty boring. Added to that, Ingrid, being tired, is often less than cooperative during the bedtime routine (brushing teeth, going to the loo, putting lotion on her dry skin, getting into her pyjamas). She whines, complains, wants things done like THIS and not like THAT, etc.

Afterwards I am always drained.

This has been the part of my day that I am least happy with, so as part of my non-New-Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to change it.

The new routine is that I continue putting Adrian to bed (easiest for all involved parties that way) and I will sit with Ingrid while she falls asleep, but Eric takes care of the practical parts of Ingrid’s bedtime routine. This way I still do a fair amount of sitting quietly in a dark room but at least I don’t have to get struggle with Ingrid’s whims, and am in a much better mood afterwards.

And, knowing her, I suspect that she will not come up with so many delays and objections during the pre-bed-routine, because the faster she gets them done, the sooner she gets to hear her bedtime story with me. Whereas when I do the pre-bed-routine, she has every reason to drag her feet: being with me is preferable to being asleep, even when she is making me cross.

Plus, this way Ingrid will start the bedtime routine earlier (since she doesn’t wait until I’m done with Adrian) so she gets more sleep, and I get more free time in the evening.

The results after the first few days are encouraging. We’ll see about the next step once this routine is firmly established.