What was once an efficient, assembly line process, had spiraled out of control. The Yoys' 7PM bedtime had crept later and later. I was still putting them into their beds around 7PM, but without the help of their jails, I mean cribs, I was retucking Big E in 10-12 times a night.
Some nights I surrendered and allowed Big E to stay in his room with the lights on. But this began happening four nights a week and he wasn't settling down until 10PM. In the morning, I had to peel him out of bed. Or I sang my best Rise and Shine rendition. It just didn't make sense. Big E clearly needed more sleep, but at the end of the day, he couldn't find his way to dreamland.
I tried many tricks. Black out curtains, three hour jaunts to the playground after school, soothing bedtime music. Nothing could tire him out.
I spoke with his pediatrician and she recommended melatonin. I read up on it, but was reluctant to "drug" him.
Last Sunday I gave in. He overheard Mr. Yoy and I talking about the sleep medicine and he objected to taking anything that interfered with his nightly bedroom rager.
I reframed them as "peppermint candy" that contained fluoride, a medicine that would help prevent cavities, and he was on board.
So it's been a week. Big E has gone to bed every night around 7:30. Tonight, even a little earlier than that (thank you YMCA pool!). He has not once emerged from his room with any of the following issues:
1) I'm hungry.
2) I need to understand physics right now.
3) My leg hurts.
4) I have to go to the bathroom.
5) My nightlite is forming an eyeball on the ceiling.
6) My mind keeps thinking of things.
7) You didn't tell me you love me.
8) I'm waiting up for Mr. Yoy.
9) Please explain our solar system.
That is just the abridged version of the bedtime stall list.
I'm going to try it for a month and then stop giving it to him every night. Hopefully his sleep rhythms will have returned to normal.
Now what to do with the next 3.5 hours before bedtime?