When one child plays up at bedtime it is, usually, relatively easy to deal with. It is tiring, stressful and frustrating, but once the battle is eventually won you can freely pass out in bed with a bottle of wine and Netflix on your iPad, swearing that you’ll never make more babies. However, when there are two of them, it is a little bit more complicated.
For the most part, Miss Rose and I have bedtime down to a fine art. She knows the signs and responds accordingly. She has a routine which she understands, then when we head upstairs to bed she knows why and is perfectly happy with it. She gets herself into bed, settles down with her warm milk to listen to her bedtime story, then dozes off. As she begins to nod off I stop reading, kiss her cheek, and leave. This can take anywhere from five minutes to twenty, depending on how much story she stays alert for, but it’s pretty much job done.
Of course, there are occasional nights when she plays up. She kicks the wall, she rolls around, she tries to begin inane conversations about how there are flowers on the wall paper. She points at shadows, shouts “NO BED MUMMY” and turns the duvet into a tent. She demands endless soft toy bed companions and then asks for The Boy to come and do her story instead of me. Each of these efforts to distract is ignored or rejected by me, and eventually she gives up and the normality returns.
However, if there is one thing Miss Rose loves more than anything else it is an audience. The Boy’s son Z is a superb audience for a number of reasons.
Z does not like bedtime. A bedtime routine is new to Z. Miss Rose has had this routine ingrained into her for nearly two years but for Z it’s all new and he is distinctly unimpressed. When we announce it is time to go upstairs to brush teeth to them Miss Rose trots off to the stairs calling “paste and teeth, Z!” as she goes. Z objects. Loudly.
After teeth are brushed and we have placed them in bed, Z continues to object. Even more loudly. Miss Rose calls his name, climbs out of bed, kicks the wall, hits the wall, throws soft toys around, pulls the blanket over her head. Z remains unimpressed and continues to wail. Eventually, if she persists for long enough, Z’s determination to be angry begins to break and he starts to giggle in between sobs which, quite frankly, is enough to convince Miss Rose than she is a comedy genius and her efforts heighten. The increased comedy from the girl’s bed makes the boy’s bed quiet. Z watches, chuckles, and has his milk whilst enjoying the show. I battle with Miss Rose, continually lying her back down and telling her no.
Eventually the battle is won and Miss Rose settles down. Quiet from the girl’s bed is, of course, a sign that the boy’s bed must then become LOUD. The Boy then is confronted with his turn to battle with a toddler on the rampage. Screaming and wailing so loud it could be heard three streets over.
When Z is being particularly loud, there is no hope in settling Miss Rose. She behaves beautifully however, occasionally asking why Z is crying, but generally we chat or she listens to her bedtime story. This is, of course, until The Boy manages to cajole Z into settling down and giving in on his eternal battle to not have to go to sleep, despite being exhausted.
Quiet from the other side of the room? Now, obviously, Miss Rose must resume her efforts.
When there is just one, if it plays up you know you get peace once it settles down. When they tag team you, THERE IS NO PEACE. One being quiet means the other must be loud. A seemingly endless turn taking enterprise which, baring in mind how often we are telling them to stop fighting and take turns with things, is actually remarkably impressive.
Did they work this out behind our backs? Does Z’s baby babble actually translate into cunning plans of world dominating supervillain style geniuses? Are we doomed? Are The Boy and I going need a mini fridge full of booze by the bed?
That last one actually doesn’t sound so bad…
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!