So many wonderful suggestions and words of wisdom from you, interwebs. I pink puffy heart you for your thoughtful responses and tips on how to get my kid to stop making bedtime a waking nightmare.
So many factors to consider. His bedtime, when Husband comes home from work (about 20 minutes before bedtime, thereby making the whole process madness), his sense of control over the whole thing, how he winds down, how we deal with the procrastination and all the whining that goes with it.
We've not gotten it down to a science (or anything remotely close to one), but we've started talking about it and made a few changes.
Change 1.) He stays up a little bit later. Whereas bedtime used to be 7pm, it is now 7:30pm. That means that he gets some actual quality time with Husband before bedtime. This has taken the shape of rebuilding train tracks previously ripped to shreds by a play date, building with blocks, and sharing more about our days (which we already do at dinner, but whatever; he manages to come up with new stuff). It's nice to see Ethan playing with Husband for those 30 minutes as opposed to whirling like a dervish for ten minutes before bedtime, trying to squeeze in all he daddy-time his tired brain and body can handle. Yes, he's really tired by the time he goes to bed now, but it's a happier tired. And that has made a huge difference. And it still gets him to bed before 8pm (because I'm with you, Kita; after 8pm? No kiddos!!!)
Change 2.) When Ethan's babysitter was over a couple weekends ago, she said that he was adamant about putting his pull-up and jammies on by himself. With Husband and me? Ha. "You do it! I can't do it!" is the mantra du jour (every jour). So in the past week, we've encouraged Ethan to do this part of the night time routine independently. To give him a sense of ownership. Kids like that, right? Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.
Change 3.) Ethan is not so great with the quick change. When transitioning from co-sleeping, and giving up the paci, we talked with Ethan about the changes, gave him a chance for input on how he wanted it to go. He picked out his bedding for his new bed. He made a card for the Paci Fairy. So this time, we've started talking to him about falling asleep on his own, and that how in a few weeks he's going to be falling asleep on his own like a big boy. Thanks to MamaBear, who mentioned her little girl's butterfly lights and jokingly suggested we find Beatles lights....we are currently searching for Beatles things that he can take to bed with him to help him stay in bed on his own, or rather, with the Beatles.
Who couldn't sleep better at night knowing the Beatles are watching over you? Right?
What I need to find is a pillow with the Beatles' faces on it or individual Beatles dolls. That don't cost eleventy billion dollars.
We are hoping to have these things amassed in the next couple of weeks and we will then commence with the pseudo-tough love, and hopefully, we'll be on our way to a kinder, gentler (for us ALL) bedtime routine. Until then, the later bedtime seems to be solving most of the whine and evade issues. And right now, this mama will take what she can get.