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the happy hour

When Z and I remember the antics of Bedtimes Past (featuring one Matei who did not begin sleeping on his own in his own bed until the age of 4) we look at each other in the disbelieving way of two people who have come through a wartime and shake our heads as we reminsce over anecdotes.

"Do you remember when it would take Matei an hour to fall asleep on a good night and one of us would always have to keep him company?"
"Do you remember how he would get up every 1.5-2 hours and then demand we keep him company again?"
"Do you remember how it took us three days to watch a single movie what with his bedtime and the interruptions?"

Crazy times.

Nowadays life is pretty good, almost easy in fact. I've decided that although there is much to enjoy about the pure animalistic appeal of babies (hazy memories of little bodies that hunt you like heat-seeking missiles; that cling like adorable monkeys) I am much fonder of the walking, talking set. Helena has so far been a spectacularly compliant two-year old, and the nearly five-year old Matei (the fool! mwahahahaha!) has abandoned what was surely his best negotiating strategy (screaming hysterically) in favour of reason and negotiation.

Nowadays I kiss them both good night, and then exit the room at 9pm. What they do between that time and when they fall asleep is up to them (usually I hear laughter and chatter, and then Helena calling out 'Matei? Matei? Maaaaaaateeeeei' while he conks out). He still gets up most nights for a cuddle, but then silently goes back to his bed on his own when prodded to do so despite ingenious cuddle-lengthening tactics ("Mummy, I've realised that I've just beed cuddling with daddy so I think I should snuggle with you too just to show you how much I love you.")

Leaving two awake children in one room is a predictable recipe for mayhem - last night I had to confiscate their shared joy, the toy microwave after I could hear it pinging at 10pm and each morning the place looks like they invited the Rolling Stones for a party- but I am prepared to ignore much in favour of children whose slide into sleep does not require hands-on invigilating. My girl thinks duvets are instruments of repression and my boy has a charming tendency to pile about 20 books on his bed and sleep contorted around them, half of his body hanging in the air - but overall I have evenings again. Evenings which I can theoretically devote to charming leisure pursuits, and not just to conking out while watching Fringe as I have been doing.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
spoofed
Sep. 24th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
I have been trying to achieve this bedtime routine too! So far, failure. Either they descend into violence, or Aleks falls asleep and Josef invents a list of 'things-to-be-scared-of' and repeatedly gets up/ shrieks hysterically until he is exhausted enough to sleep. But it sounds worth pursuing, reading your account...
rainsinger
Sep. 24th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
Bedtime routine is the best thing ever, although looking back I'm not sure how we achieved it other than by exerting a sort of loving "we do not negotiate with terrorists, here are your reasonable limits, stay in bed and I'll be there in 5 minutes to kiss you" sort of thing.

What does Josef respond to?

While we were working things out with Matei we had a couple of compromises - we said our bed was off limits because mummy and daddy need to rest, so he could come for a cuddle and then either leave to go to his own bed or sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor of our room if he was utterly terrified.
spoofed
Sep. 25th, 2012 11:19 am (UTC)
Josef has the sole aim of one of us (preferably me, though Ojo will do if I am not around) lying in bed with him until he falls asleep.
Having said that, last night he went to sleep pretty well. I took him and Ally up at 8pm, read five stories, turned the lights off and put their lava lamp on, sang two songs before Ally conked out, sat on Joey's bed and agreed I'd stay for five minutes and then would leave him to fall asleep... and he managed it. I think he really really wants more 1:1 time with a parent than he gets. I wish we had 3 bedrooms tbh!
Both of them are still welcome in our bed if they wake up in the night scared/ cold/ whatever- that's not a problem, Joey rarely does wake once he's actually asleep and if Ally does, he just snuggles into our bed and goes straight back to sleep. It's the 'falling asleep in your own bed without me being there' bit that's difficult.
actually_not
Sep. 24th, 2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
Do evenings and leisure include stuffed squid and cocktails? x
guihong
Sep. 24th, 2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
It's a conspiracy to lull you into complacency for when they become teenagers! Seriously, that's a really fun time; enjoy it while you can.

Funny you should post: A few days ago, I met a woman from London at a party and mentioned that I'd been there a few years ago and stayed with a friend in her flat around the corner from Abbey Road. My new friend said, "That's where I live!" Small world. Now if I go there and she's in the same building, let alone the same flat, that's creepy.
lebeautemps
Sep. 25th, 2012 07:57 am (UTC)
You make parenting look elegant.x
(Deleted comment)
pondbluebird
Sep. 26th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
i love this entry!
ahhh it leaves this mommy dreaming of a night like this sometime in the future!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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