No, I didn't fall in a black hole. Aliens didn't abduct me, nor have I decided to circumnavigate the globe on a hot air balloon, rendering myself legitimately unable to update my blog. I've just been way too distracted by the little day to day things to gather any thoughts to share here. Often, something silly will happen and I make a mental note that it would be a great blog entry. Unfortunately, my mental noteboard seems to be one of those dry erase boards that is constantly smudging the pertinent info away. So, a little tidbit.
Lately, saying bedtime is a challenge is a gross understatement. Bedtime is a nightmare. As soon as we announce that it is time to get ready for bed, everyone braces for battle and It Is On! After weeks of too much yelling, too much crying, and an elevated stress level that nobody enjoying an extended time off work should experience, I decided enough is enough. Obviously, our approach was not working. So, I made a sticker chart and we tried it out. Each night the boys would go to bed nicely, they earned a fabulous Dinosaur Sticker in the morning. After 3 stickers in a row, they earned a Special Treat. The Special Treat turned out to be donuts, and I am am not happy to share that the donut shop around the corner has delicious, light, fluffy donuts filled with blueberry goodness the likes of which I haven't experienced since my childhood. I would love to tell you of the miraculous results of this sticker chart, how bedtime immediately turned around and we are once again nominated for Parents of the Year awards. However, the results have been spotty.
The most positive outcome seems to be that with a specific recourse, I am much calmer no matter how bedtime goes most nights. Hayden has thrived on this system, enjoying the positive rewards he earns consistently. He is generally great about going to bed, so this was not a big challenge for him. It has been nice to give him these rewards because he is constantly testing us in other ways, so currently gets significant negative feedback. Giving him an opportunity to "win" has been great, and I think it has carried over to other areas. It also gives Logan a tangible example to follow, as it sucks to watch your brother get a treat when you didn't earn one yourself.
Logan has definitely improved on this system. He understands the rewards coming to him, and knows to ask for his sticker the next morning if he was good at bedtime. His sticker chart isn't nearly as full as Hayden's but I have to think any progress is good. On nights when he is completely uncooperative, he screams at us that "I no wan a tikkah. I no yike tikkahs!" However, the proud smile on his face when he gets those stickers tells me differently. Often, when Logan is yelling and carrying on instead of going to bed nicely, we have Hayden go to sleep in our bed, then move him later, which is a whole challenge in and of itself. It's not easy to get 40 pounds of sleeping arms and lets up onto that top bunk! I then tell Logan he can choose to either lay down quietly and go to sleep, or I will go out and shut the door. It's the same premise of letting a baby cry it out. Although I understand many people don't agree with doing that, I don't care to spend two hours every evening putting a yelling, screaming Logan to bed. This works. Five minutes of crying sure beats 2 hours. I have only needed to shut the door a couple times, and he would cry for a few minutes before laying down, pulling up the covers and waiting for me to come back to lay with him. Now, I just walk out and he calms right down.
Last night I thought that since things were going so well, I'd let Hayden stay in the room until Logan settled himself. Well, Logan wouldn't settle so I walked out and closed the door. I'm not sure I even made it across the hall before both boys were bouncing around giggling like the new playground had just opened in there. Frustrated, I told them no stickers in the morning, and moved Hayden to my bed. They were both asleep within 15 minutes after that. This morning, Logan asked about stickers so I explained why none were coming. Hayden tried to blame Logan, but I said he has a choice to react or not. Well, it was really hard not to cave and hand him a sticker when he calmly explained "Mommy, I was trying to lay there nicely and go to sleep but my brother was kept waking me up. He was making me smile, and when I smile the giggle just needs to come out." :)