Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bedtime Routine

It's about this point of my day when I figure up if it's my night "on-duty" as the official Bedtime Put Her Down-er for the Taz or not.  If it is my night, I start getting myself mentally prepared for what awaits me. I do some breathing exercises. I formulate my plan of attack. I give myself a few pep talks. And for good measure, I toss in a few Hail Mary's.

For my pregnant friends about to enter the joy of parenthood, stop reading. There's no turning back now, so go into this journey blissfully ignorant.

I've read all the books. I've talked to fellow parents who have conquered this stage and come out on the other side with all of their hair. I've done research on the Internet. I've sought council from a friend who is an expert in the field of behavior modification for children with disabilities. I've left prayer requests at several churches in the Central Florida region. I keep getting the same answer: Routine and Reward.

Well, let me tell you this. We've had the same routine for two years. Bath, Teeth, Books, Bed. It just seems that the older she gets, the sooner in the routine, she starts to wig out. It used to be just right at Bed time when she didn't want to lay down. But now, she understands that getting into the tub means, pretty soon, she'll have to hit the hay. This is when the bouncing off the walls starts. Literally. Spitting. Kicking. Shouting. Ordering me to go make her a "samich" or she'll put me in time-out. Then crazy laughing and jumping off the bed.

So then we made a reward chart. She loves stickers, so she got a fancy sticker for each task. That lasted about three weeks. It still wasn't easy. There were still fights, but we had LEVERAGE!  Now the stickers aren't enough. Now, she has to get all of her stickers and if so, in the morning she gets ONE MILLION DOLLARS.  I feel like Madonna, always having to reinvent the game.

Nap time is no better. Last weekend, we told her she needed one hour of quiet time in her room. She didn't have to sleep. She could just play quietly in her room.  She was told that if she came downstairs, she would not get to go to the hardware store. (Girl loves to go to the hardware store.)  She threw an 18 minute tantrum, and when it was over, I headed upstairs to see why it was so quiet.

What's that lump at the top of the stairs?

Is she faking, and when I get there she's going to cackle and run and maybe try to push me down the stairs?

Must. Approach. With. Caution.

Oh tuckered little tazmanian, Momma's gonna go to the bank and steal One Million Dollars for you.


  1. You could get a babysitter everynight at bed time. Make it there one task to get her to bed. May be 20 bucks well spent. =) Although, sounds like you may have to go through the entire highschool for just a year of bedtimes.

  2. I love her.
    You are not alone. My kids now go to bed just fine and I still get nervous around bedtime. For us, it was never one story. One story lead to several stories with no end in sight. Sometimes the kids would out last Jake and I would find him asleep in their bed. If we went out and had a quiet night, we always made sure we got back just after bedtime...even if it meant driving around the block for a while. Keep up the good work. If you know how to always re-invent the game, you have already won.