Forget everything I ever said about loving bedtime.
The whole soft music playing and going from room to room to have meaningful conversations on the ends of my children's beds? Yah. NOT happening right now.
My sweet eight-year-old has had anxiety flare-ups for the last few months that make putting just this one child to bed an absolute terror. As in, drive all the way up into the mountain pass until 11pm hoping to return home with a normal boy again. But he is working on it. We are working on it. And I think there's been lots of progress.
That's one child.
A few months ago Lyla started climbing out of her crib so we decided it was time for a big girl bed. It was also time for her to switch rooms with her older sister, Sophia. After sharing a room with Halle for a couple years, Sophia had been asking, begging, bargaining even, for her own room. She loves Halle, but not all the Polly Pockets and My Little Ponies constantly scattered all over the floor. And her tween pride sulked when her friends looked around at the Hello Kitty poster and Fancy Nancy decorations on her walls.
So Lyla took Sophia's place, bunking up with her next oldest sibling, Halle. Perfect. Two little girls close in age, neither of whom could possibly get enough pink. Both excellent mess-makers. And surely it couldn't be that bad to get them both to sleep at night.
Clearly I did not remember well enough having gone through this torture with my older children. But trust me- it all came flooding back that first night of Halle and Lyla sleeping in the same room.
"Mom! She's in my bed again!"
"Mom! She just tore all the pages out of a library book!" (Fantastic. MORE library fines to pay.)
"Ouch! Mom! She just bit me! OUCH! MOM!!!"
So I did what any sane mother would do. I knew I would regret it later, but with Tyjah needing extra attention, and Wes working several late nights a week, I didn't have much choice.
"Scootch over," I said, I'm going to lie down between you two until you fall asleep."
Oh, yah. Halle sleeping on the top bunk on her own? That lasted all of about 5 minutes.
"But Mom, it's SCARY up here. I want to sleep in my old bed with Lyla."
And so for the last two months I have sandwiched myself between these two little girls on their double bed, enduring eye-poking, rib-jabs, and incessant whining for more water, more food, another story, back rubs and, of course, the same ploy we all used as kids- "but I HAVE to go to the bathroom and I CAN'T hold it!" All while silently- sometimes audibly- praying for sleep to overcome these two little angels.
I'm not done. It gets better.
Halle has always had difficulty with separation anxiety. And by laying down beside the girls- innocently trying to keep the peace, mind you- all I did was exacerbate the whole separation anxiety thing. Now she is SURE she cannot fall asleep without me. And heaven forbid she wake up in the middle of the night to find Mom GONE! ALL THE WAY DOWN THE HALL!
So after spending hours, HOURS putting children to bed at night, I am woken up several times through the night as each of three children crawl into our bed.
I try to take the time to return them to their beds, but sometimes I am so dead tired I don't fully wake up until I am completely folded into a 3 foot square corner of my KING-SIZED bed. Blearily I count the bodies STRETCHED OUT, laying criss-crossed over each other and wonder two things-
1. Why? Why are they not encroaching on my husband's space??? He seems to be sleeping peacefully- fully stretched out on his side of the bed.
2. Is it worth the effort to remove them all to their beds again or should I just go enjoy the few remaining hours of darkness ALONE on the couch. Lately, having the couch all to myself has won out more times than I care to admit.
So if you have noticed my slurred speech, frumpy hairstyle, or even if by chance I have bitten your head off recently, please just smile and gently remind me, "...this too shall pass."
I just hope and pray it's sometime before school starts again!