Yesterday's bedtime was particularly challenging.
Challenging from a sleep perspective. In that there wasn't enough of it to fill either my quota or that of a 2 year old. In fact one 2 year old in particular who we fondly refer to as The Wee One.
Our story begins where my evening should begin, free from children, in control of the remote control and a laptop poised for blogging inspiration. There may also be beverages and snackages within easy reach.
Last night however, The Wee One failed to recognise the normal prompts for sleep, like a cot, pyjamas, sleeping bag and teddy/rabbit/iggle piggle/plane/blanket. Instead he saw this as his opportunity to wail like a banshee, screech like nails down a blackboard and scream like you want to go faster. This is not normal behavior. In fact we have been (previously) blessed with a toddler who would sigh with relief on being placed in his cot. So we have a new model with a faulty off switch.
After 30 minutes of protesting, intermittent patting on head and returning thrown comforters, that were failing to comfort, back into the cot I gave up and tried the emergency plan B.
Don't shout, but I picked him up and gave him a cuddle. Immediate relief was achieved and peace was restored. Until I returned him to the cot. When the previous wailing, screeching and screaming paled into insignificance relative to the renewed vocal efforts now being emitted. Under normal circumstances, that is when everyone isn't over tired from days of confectionery consumption and heightened stimulation, I would have let him get on with it, safe in the knowledge that he will collapse exhausted before social services arrive.
But this was untested territory and plan C came into force.
Don't shout, but I picked him up and took him to my bed where I lay down next to him giving him a soothing head massage. This worked. A sigh was emitted. A snuggle was administered and his breathing slowed. I waited for him to nod off. For one hour I waited while he sang to me, played planes using my face as a landing strip and experimented with sticking his fingers into my ears and eyes.
In frustration I got up and left the room. He got up and went in search of new toys.
I gave up and, don't shout, took him downstairs so I could get a cup of tea.
I caught up on the final episode of America's Next Top Model (Lisa won as expected) while The Wee One wandered about, sang, shouted a bit, emptied the previously refilled toy box over the sitting room floor.
Two hours and forty minutes after he was first taken to bed, I returned upstairs and, don't shout, took him back to my bed to lie down next to him to make soothing noises. This exercise continued fruitlessly for a further 20 minutes.
Plan D was to try yawning. You know the yawning phenomenon where you yawn, and someone else is compelled to yawn. Not surprisingly I didn't have to fake my yawn. And as predicted, The Wee One caught the yawning bug and joined in very convincingly. I yawned again, now catching his yawn, and he yawned back. Wow, we could keep this going for hours. Thankfully we didn't have to, because a mere five minutes later, he nodded off and was returned to his cot.
I sank gratefully back into my own bed. And couldn't sleep.
Tonight I am starting the controlled crying technique. It will be louder and more stressful but ultimately I get to have an evening again.
How to you get your previously content sleeper back into contented sleep? Advice needed but please don't shout.
Out of idle curiosity, did you yawn reading this post?
I've linked up with The Crumby Mummy's