Sunday, July 11, 2010

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I'm reading a lot lately. Thanks to Ethan's new bedtime routine.

You may know if you've been reading for awhile, that Husband & I have spent the past 4-ish years lying with Ethan until he falls asleep. For a long time, it was adorable, kind of like this:

zOMG, look at his pudgy little cheeks

or this:

my pudgy little cheeks are less adorable, I know

Sweet, right? It's a lot less sweet when he's 4 years old & digging his feet into your back and telling you he needs another cup of water & shoving you off the bed with his butt.

So it was time for a change (am I the only one who hears Peter Brady singing?); something had to give on this bedtime routine. Something had to happen to give Ethan that, erm, gentle nudge towards bedtime independence. Husband & I decided that we would continue to lie with him while we read stories, snuggle for a few minutes, then we would get up out of E's bed and sit in a chair on the other side of the room, engaging with him as little as possible without completely ignoring him. Sigh

It's been a long couple of weeks. Ethan hasn't really fought us on our getting up out of bed. He seems pretty okay with us not lying down next to him. Because it gives him all that much more room to play. And play. And then maybe play some more. With what? I don't know, people. His toes, tonight. Can't really take his toes away. Sigh.

The first few nights I found myself, sitting in my chair, hoping against hope that he'd just pass out, alternately chewing my cuticles raw & muttering in various tones of frustration, "just. go. to. sleep.....sweetie." GAH!!!

"Why not leave the room, Sarah?! The child is FOUR!" you ask. And understandably.

We've tried that. With increasing degrees of stick-to-it-iveness. And yet. If you could compare screaming & crying to running a marathon, my kid is the long-distance runner of screaming. He will go, indefinitely. He will not get out of bed, which, at four years old, Husband & I consider to be a minor miracle. He will cry until he is red and puffy and sweating, but he will not get out of that bed. We have no idea why. We've never imposed any sort of stay-in-bed rules. And yet at night, it is like the child believes his bed is a floating thing, adrift in a shark-infested sea of doom. He has never once gotten out of bed at night. But he will cry. All night.

So that just doesn't work. Maybe we are weak. I don't know. Regardless, we are stuck in the room for now. With an Ethan who is happy to have the bed to himself. It has seemed like a bit of a mixed bag.

Until.

Last week, I brought a book to the chair with me. I was reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, which was FANTASTIC.

See, I tend to read before I fall asleep at night, which means it takes forever to finish a book. As a little girl, I used to laugh at my father for this. He would go to bed a couple hours before the rest of the house & as my mom and I climbed the stairs for bed, I could see into my parents' room; my dad, the light next to him on the table still on, his glasses still propped up on his nose and his book, probably 2-3 pages further along than the night before, teepee'd open on his chest, fast asleep & snoring. Every night, and I'd always laugh and make fun of him for it. And now guess how Husband finds me most nights when he comes to bed? Yeah, that's right. Like father, like daughter, I guess (without the snoring, of course. Please!)

But now? I am reading earlier in the evening, so I'm reading more than 5 pages and I'm actually remembering from one night to the next what I read the last time I cracked the book. This, you will know, if you've ever read anything, is a plus.

I'm now 3 books into our new bedtime routine. Ethan is singing to himself and playing with his toes & I'm reading. Eventually, 15-20 pages into my little escape into the book, I realize that the singing has quieted, the toes are still, and Ethan's breathing has turned peaceful and heavy. Oh my heart, he is so sweet when he sleeps.


I have no idea how long Husband & I will be sitting in that chair. It was four years in bed. I'm hoping it won't be another four in the chair. But at the same time, what am I complaining about, really? My kid wants me around. He won't always. And I get to read (something besides Knufflebunny) which is one of my favorite things to do. Hopefully Ethan (who already loves to be read to) will pick up on my passion for reading by seeing me immerse myself in a book every night.

It's not what Ferber would like, I know, but hell, he'd have hated us from day one. It's okay. For every time I've wished we had the kid who would have cried for a few minutes and then slept like an angel for the rest of the night, there are three or four times I'm grateful, even through my frustration, for all the cuddle time I've gotten these past four years, having had Mr. High Maintainance Bedtime Routine for a kid. It's so great to see him gaining his independence at bedtime, however slowly. But part of me is always going to miss that little baby who could not fall asleep without feeling mommy or daddy right there next to him.


9 comments:

Corinne said...

That's brilliant!! Our bedtime routine is a tad bit on the crazy side w/ the two sharing a room and both of them needing someone in the room to sleep with and paige pinching an elbow to sleep and hating her bed so she's sleeping on a chaisse lounge chair and..... you get the picture :)
What I'm saying is, that's an awesome step!! And yes, ferber would have hated us too... but the craziness works for some of us!

Becca said...

Hurray!! And yay for more reading time. Total win. I don't have time to read because I have to put Wes back in his bed approximately every nine seconds. It's good for my abs, climbing over that damn gate a million times a night. The Super Nanny promises it will start working soon. Hopefully before he turns four.

Sarah said...

Ever since I got my iPad, I have been reading SO MUCH because I can read whatever I want and no one can see what I am reading to mock my selection-- I should have read the Twilight series this way.

Anywho, lately I have read:

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster (hilarious)

A Bump in the Road and Not Ready for Mom Jeans by Maureen Lipinksi (also hilarious)

Love the One You're With and Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin (fab)

both of Beverly Cleary's memoirs

Unless, Happenstance, and The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (super good)

Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume Ed. Jennifer O'Connell

I'd recommend them all!

Anonymous said...

just read "the particular sadness of lemon cake" and loved, loved it. i ordered another of her books as soon as i finished.
xo
kita

gringa said...

Hurrah....yea for reading anyway you can get it...

Amy said...

Yay for reading! Just read "Mudbound for book club. OMG. OMG! O.M.G. I can't express how much I loved this book. You must try it.

Mama Bub said...

I used to read all the time, but now that the baby is here I'm falling WAY behind. I love most of Jodi Picoult's books, but people either love or hate her. My book club is reading The Reliable Wife and I'm halfway through, and LOVING, The Handmaid's Tale.

Yay for getting out of the bed! I'm all for doing whatever it takes to get your kid to sleep, regardless of what others may think. Supernanny suggests moving closer and closer to the door each night, until you're out of the room. Do you think that might work for Ethan?

Emi said...

Are you reading with the light on? Pete and I read on our Iphone with the Stanza app (free and free books legally :-) and you can change the background and the color of the text- I use a black background and a green text - this puts off very little light.. It made it possible for me to read again- and we do it while lying in bed with S while she is falling asleep- it is the only thing that has kept up for pulling our hair out when it takes her 40 minutes to get to sleep. Don't know how long it will take but when he does he will do it from a very secure place :-)

lonek8 said...

The Passage was exemplary. and I'm thinking we need to start a bloggy book club after seeing all of these comments