Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank Goodness for Bedtimes

Dear Gods of Toddlers, please don't jinx me for saying so, but "Oliver is a good sleeper." Since he has been sleeping through the night, it is a fairly rare incident that he wakes up (short of a nightmare or a tooth coming in or being overtired for some circumstantial reason). And he goes down with such ease.

I pray this ease continues, as it makes our lives so much more predictable. Oliver's bedtime is 7:30 sharp. It goes: milk, books (as time permits), kisses, woosher, bink, woobie, bed. Like clockwork. Tonight I let him stay up until 7:45 but only because Daddy was unavailable for kisses until then and I'm hoping it pays off a bit on the other end because he's been waking up earlier than we'd like. But typically he goes from "crazy monkey jumping on couch and throwing plastic food items around the room," through the sequence above, to sleeping baby in like 3 minutes flat. It's such a blessing – again, one that I hope I'm not jinxing with this post.

It means:

  • He gets ample sleep according to the Pediatric Association guidelines: 13 hours total – 11-11.5 overnight and 1.5-2 at naptime (more or less).
  • The countdown to bedtime is pretty predictable and is used as a guide to fit in play, dinner, bath, books, and milk accordingly.
  • Either of us parents can go out without much guilt after the bell tolls. Oliver knows no different. (Eric is at the Hopleaf now with Boris and Ryan, in fact. And I look forward to my regular "Club of the Month Club" meetings).
  • Evening conference calls with the offshore teams in China and India are uninterrupted and guilt-free.
  • Babysitters can rely on a set schedule without much ambiguity at all and enjoy a relative freedom post-7:30.
  • The routine feeds routine which combats any combat about going to bed. (Yes, I know the day will come where he will fight back, but for now we're loving the routine and lack of combat.)

I wouldn't go so far as to call us bedtime Nazis or anything like that, but we are pretty regimented about the whole thing – because it serves us, and it serves him. Lots of parents value their kid's flexibility and willingness to adapt. For us, our given level of predictability is a fair trade for those qualities. I mean, he'll roll with the punches if we bend the rules a little bit, but we really try to honor them overall.

I find this pattern of predictability worth commenting on tonight, especially, as I am able to pen this post (in advance; I'm post-dating it) without interruption, as Eric is able to enjoy a night out with the boys, and as I remember the crazy days of infant irregularity. Is it really time to go for #2, where bedtime as bedtime simply doesn't exist?


christa said...

sounds like you are doing exactly what your child needs. all the needs met means happy well adjusted baby. give yourselves a lot of credit! :) you rock!

mrsjtg said...

We were totally on a bedtime schedule/routine with both kids. Still are, for the most part, but they fight it a little more now. Darn them!!!!

Peggy said...

Yes, go for number 2!