Plus it makes them good sleepers. That was a KEY issue at our house. We might have become parents but sleep was the one commodity we were determined to hang on to... as best we could.
So we stuck to the suggested methods and have very good sleepers, in their own beds, and at an early age. The only problem is, we have drilled their routine into them so well, Finn and Eli are.... er..., let's just say less than flexible. It's all well and good when we are able to plan around their routine, but if something unexpected or special happens it can be a major pain in the butt.
When they were babies I was devout about the "5 B's" - bath, books, boobie/bottle, binky, bed. Now it's as follows:
- Eat dinner around 5:30. Play until 6:30 or 7:00.
- Bath, done exactly the same way every night: Eli gets undressed, puts his clothes in the hamper and gets in the tub. We yell at Finn to GET-IN-HERE-RIGHT-NOW-THIS-IS-THE-4TH-TIME-WE'VE-ASKED-YOU. He gets undressed, puts his clothes in the hamper and gets in the tub.
- After the scrub down, Eli gets out, is wrapped in a towel and asks to be 'rocked like a baby'. We rock him while singing Wagon Wheel by OCMS and tickling him.
- Teeth are brushed, the whole thing is repeated for Finn, and both boys watch cartoons on our bed for 10 minutes before getting tucked in.
- It's is 8:00 PM, and Caleb and I have the rest of the night to unwind and have grown up time. Which we utilize by going to bed at 9:00 most nights. (Oh, the excitement!)
Same way... every night. There's even a Tucking In routine that if we don't follow exactly Finn goes to pieces.
So that's great, right?
Most of the time.
Except for when it's Christmas and there's a million shindigs we need to attend and they're all on one day and there's no time for the daily nap. We either miss the shindig or have a horrible time because the boys are Pure Evil due to the missed nap.
Or when my good friend Amy calls and says she scored free tickets to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and would Finn and I like to double date with her and Kieran? And the show starts at 8:00 PM. If we go Finn will be all sleepy and unable to focus on following directions like "Don't run into the road" or "Stop climbing over your seat into the lap of that guy that looks like Grandaddy but really isn't." So we pass on the tickets.
Or when cousin Anna is in a pageant and Eli and I are supposed to go, but it started at 4:30 and now it's 4:00 and Eli is still asleep and if I wake him up and rush to get there everyone in that room will be sorry and I will be that Poor Woman Who Can't Control Her Kid. So we miss the pageant.
I'm hoping this is just the price all parents pay for having kids, that we can't do it all, and need to be selective about the things we decide to participate in, especially when they are 4 and 2. But that's hard to explain to family & friends when our presence is required. Sometimes it sounds like we're trying to get out of something or snub them. Actually, we're just trying to get by.
If we have done this to you, our sincere apologies. If we haven't, just give us time - I'm sure we'll snub you soon enough.