The other night, during one of our now typical epic bedtime failures, I started laughing so hard at the scene in front of me, thinking about Super Nanny – I think, at least, it’s her that says this — looking at me and my husband and asking with great disdain, “Who’s in charge here?” The girls were running wild, jumping on their floor beds, throwing themselves against the wall, tossing their Mr. Potato Head parts down the stairs, strangling each other and frantically rocking the large rocking chair while yelling, “Rock! Rock! Rock!!!” It was 9pm and nobody was going to sleep any time soon.
You see, I am a little overwhelmed. Lots of traveling + moving into a new house + a new clingy phase = absolute mayhem around here most days and nights. My girls refuse to sit in their new high chairs or sit down in the bath. They demand me and my lap constantly. They have suddenly begun waking every four hours screaming for bottles that just a month ago were almost completely eliminated from our routine. And as of two weeks ago, the only way I can get them to go sleep is to lie down with one on either side of me and let them flop around for an hour while they slowly settle themselves. I won’t even discuss naps, which occur only while wasting endless gallons of gas in the car.
How did I get here?
After losing a key piece of one crib during our recent move, I took it as a sign (brilliant!) and made a rash decision to abandon the cribs entirely (my girls are 19 months old) and transition to floor beds. Yes, yes, I know: all the HDYDI ladies have strongly recommended against beginning this transition too early. But I liked the Montessori-inspired floor bed idea, and I figured that having the beds to play on during the day would be a treat.
I also figured that giving them a bottle of milk at 6am when they woke would yield two additional hours of sleep for them and me in the morning. Though it worked for two days, my excellent idea has since backfired royally, with the 6am bottle slowly creeping back toward 2am, and a new round of screams/demands for “Babas” occurring at 6:30am. Of course, full wakefulness follows, and I’m now getting far less sleep than I got five months ago. As for their complete refusal to sit in the bath or high chairs and their propensity to hurt/attempt to murder each other every 15 minutes, I am blaming my 18-months-is-the-new-terrible-twos theory.
I know we need to institute some order and calm in our family. I know because I have cried three nights in a row and have poured myself increasingly larger glasses of wine each night after their long protracted bedtime. I know because my husband and I are sniping at each other like we did in those first sleep-deprived weeks/months of their infancy.
I know I need to wean them from their bottles and get them to stop demanding milk meals during the night. I know I need to re-Ferberize them (we did it with great success at 14 months). I know I need to figure out what in the hell I’m doing about their sleeping situation, and commit to these floor beds or find/buy the missing crib part and revert back to cribs.
I pride myself on being a laid-back mom, but somehow in the last few months my relaxed attitude has not served me well. I need to pick my battles and fix something, because many things in this situation are broken.
I think I’m going to start by working on reducing the amount of milk they drink during the night. Baby steps! And I’ll continue to enjoy liberal pours of red wine in the evening and that really great chocolate and tell myself that this, too shall pass. One day I’ll be in charge again!
So how do you all right the ship when it’s gone off course? How do you control the chaos and prevent it from controlling you?