Tonight I sang the Captain Hook song for Sawyer at bedtime. Oh, you don’t know it? That’s because I made it up. And last night it was the theme song from Stop That Ball.
Sawyer, age two and a half, has become a master of stalling at bedtime. I used to just read 1-2 books, hug, sing a song, pat his back, and leave him in the crib while still awake (done and done). Those days are over in favor of a string of fresh diversionary tactics and my nimble escapes. Together we have woven a ridiculous and ever-longer nighttime routine.
Attempted stall: Sawyer jumps up for a hug after I lay him down and pat his back with singing.
My counter-move: Uh oh, now I hug first and turn any additional hug requests into a hand squeeze.
Attempted stall: He stands back up to push me out the door, a maneuver borrowed from our daycare goodbye ritual.
My counter-move: I allow pushes from a laying-down position through the crib bars (sometimes through the side AND the overhead/top bars too).
Attempted stall: Rather than requesting a lullaby in my extensive repertoire, he asks for an invented song related to the book we just finished or something else on his mind like ninjas or noodles.
My counter-move: Yes, I wing it. I compose new songs nearly every night. Need help doing this? Pick a tune you already know and go for it. Repeating words is fine.
Attempted stall: One more song pleeeeeeeease.
My counter-move: Sure, I’ll sing it as I walk out. Bye, now.
While I strive to keep our bedtime ritual predictable and ever-calming, I stifle a laugh each night as he tries something new and I create a new block. As of right now, we read 1-2 books, sing a made-up song, hug, sing another made-up song, kiss through bars, squeeze hands, he pushes me through the bars, and I sing another song as I walk out the door with a big grin on my face. He’s exhausting but so funny!
I think these amendments are just for me. If you babysit, you can do your own thing. I promise. What’s going on at your house?
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