A Broken Bedtime Routine

I’ve mentioned before how important our bedtime routine is for my daughter. We have a series of very specific steps we take every night.

Brush teeth. Get milk. Carry her down the stairs while she puts a straw in her milk. Turn on the light to her bedroom, then put her down.

The steps continue until we end with me lying next to her, singing the only songs I know three of her favorite songs.

Before this particular routine begins, I put the boy to bed after brushing his teeth, reading his book, then nursing. He goes to sleep no problem, then I move on to the Little Lady.

Since climbing out of his crib has been so much fun, it’s all he does the second I leave his room. On any given night, this is no big deal. Daddy takes over, and somehow, magically gets him to sleep, no problem. We have been able to roll with the ever changing bedtimes.

Not the other night.

A Broken Bedtime Routine

I was home alone for the evening for the first time since the boy became a climber and he was testing my patience. I got him to fall asleep three times. The moment I left, he was up and out in a matter of seconds. Now I cringe every time I hear the squeaking of his crib.

While putting the boy back down every few minutes, I realized the long list of steps for bedtime aren’t just for the crazy toddler’s benefit. They’re for me too.

It’s our time. We spend the entire day with her baby brother and, don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but the long bedtime routine is for this mama and her first-born to reconnect.

A Broken Bedtime routine

My husband was working late, so my time with my girl was broken up into a minute here and a minute there. I felt guilty leaving her so often so I could tend to her brother. She was so sweet and understanding, which killed me even more!

Once my husband finally got home, both kids were wide awake. Talk about feeling like a failure (we don’t need to get into the mini breakdown I had before he got there…). And, of course, our little guy was asleep minutes after daddy sat next to his crib.

I got some time with Miss Z, but I still felt robbed. Our time is precious and she’s not going to be little for long. She already glares at me and rolls her eyes throughout the day, but nighttime is when she needs me. She needs her mama to sing to her to get her to sleep.

Today is a new day. We’ll get our story time in and our songs.

Maybe the Little Guy is just trying to tell me that he’s ready for a long list of things for his bedtime routine too.

Something to consider.

How does bedtime go down in your house? Do you have someone to help, or is it all you? I’m open to suggestions for next time!


April 17, 2015
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  • Reply CourtneyLynne

    my mom use to do this. My sister and I are 7 years apart, but she started putting my sister to bed little bit earlier than me so we could have afew minutes of mommy daughter time. We would usually end up watching something I wanted to watch on tv or a movie, but at least it was just me and her 🙂

    April 17, 2015 at 7:19 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      That’s awesome! I think it’s so important to have the one on on time!

      April 17, 2015 at 7:24 am
  • Reply Kimberly

    Doing the bedtime routine SOLO with 2 kids is a nightmare!!! Thankfully it doesn’t happen here too often. I need to find a way to make our bedtime routine shorter. It seems like all said and done, I spend at least an hour getting to the kids to sleep. I’d like it to be more like 15 minutes!

    April 17, 2015 at 7:21 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      I agree! We’re planning on trying to shorten our routine quite a bit. It takes way too long! As much as I appreciate the time with my girl, it definitely needs to be less drawn out. She’s a master staller, and I’m a sucker. Bad combo. 😀

      April 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Rachael Boley

    That’s rough.

    April 17, 2015 at 7:26 am
    • Reply Rachael Boley

      Omg….. I just typed like a whole novel comment and all that showed up is that’s rough!?!?!? Tell me if the whole comment is there or if I need to retype it all…

      April 17, 2015 at 7:27 am
      • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

        All I saw was “That’s rough.”

        April 17, 2015 at 7:47 am
        • Reply Rachael Boley

          I am so sorry…. No idea what happened there. I’ll retype!

          April 17, 2015 at 7:58 am
  • Reply tracy bennett

    hahaha. Your post brought back sweet memories. I was a gold medalist in speed reading hatberry shoeberry in my canoeberry and Go Dog Go (Do you like my hat? No I do not like your hat. Goodbye Goodbye) while puzzling what lessons those taught. You know what they taught? That those soul tattering exhausting stages are blissful. Truly. At least the memories of them are. heehee Thanks for the memory. 🙂

    April 17, 2015 at 7:39 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Thank you! It’s so true! Sometimes I want to just get through it, but the other night made me realize how special this time is.

      April 17, 2015 at 8:05 am
  • Reply Rachael Boley

    I’m so sorry about my comment being cut off and looking like a horrible friend and commenter. What I meant to say is, that is rough!! Bedtime routines are so important, both for kids and for us. As you know, I’m on my own for bedtime routine (always have been), but even though it can sometimes feel like I’m a circus ringmaster, it usually goes fairly smooth. Our toutine is baths, teeth, clothes/play, read, pray, lay down. I always have all 3 boys together for eveything but the twins sleep int heir own room and Luke is in another room. So I get the boys laid down first and after kisses and goodbyes and that whole routine, I take Luke into his room, nurse him and lay him down. It took a while to get Luke sleeping through the night, and we had our phase of the boys climbing out of their crib too, but for the most part, I don’t have many issues anymore with bedtime. I have noticed that anytime I skew from the routine, things are thrown off and I usually have to start over or at least go in a few times. So even if it’s late and I’m tired and they’re tired or whatever, I try not to skip steps and follow the whole routine and take my time, because as you said, it’s our time to reconnect at the end of a long hectic day. It’s a sweet time for us all, and even if it’s wild, it always ends precious. Cut yourself a break and remember you’re doing ana amzing job. I hope tonight goes smoother and you get all the time you need with both babies! 🙂

    April 17, 2015 at 8:07 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Haha-no biggie! Thank you Rachael! You’re pretty much a superhero putting all three boys to bed all by yourself. Sounds like you have it down. Even on a good night I feel like I’m all over the place-at least the steps keep me moving forward (Ha!). It’s nice to have it to look forward to. And after the other night, I’ll be cherishing it that much more! Thank you so much for your encouraging words!

      April 17, 2015 at 8:16 am
      • Reply Rachael Boley

        Oh you’re so sweet! I’m not a superhero… Tonight after I did everything, I kissed the boys as always and Connor said, “I don’t want your kiss.” I said, “ok well throw it down, I love you.” Then, I was nursing Luke and Connor started screaming. I’d just left the room so I knew he was fine, but he didn’t let up, so I went in with Luke on the boob to see what was up. In a fairly irritated voice I said, “What’s the matter!?” and he said, “I threw down your kiss!”

        April 17, 2015 at 8:34 pm
        • Reply Rachael Boley

          Ugh!!!!! It keeps cutting my comments off….
          So after my heart broke I apologized to him and asked if he wanted another kiss. He gathered himself and said yes. He wrapped his little arms around me and I kissed him like 50 times… And then I banged Luke’s back on the crib as I walked out! Super mom to the rescue lol

          April 17, 2015 at 8:36 pm
          • mamabyfire@gmail.com

            LOL! Of course that happened tonight! My daughter always “throws away” my kisses too-the little stinker! She prefers “huggies” over kisses and just insists we do that. (I why it keeps cutting you off! So weird!)

            April 17, 2015 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply Jaya Pandey

    Ahh….the patience testing. Why do kids love it so much. Sometimes my daughter drives me crazy too and getting her to sleep turns out to be a matathon of wasted efforts. So far I have one kid and I don’t know what would happen if I get one more. I will totally go nuts. None the less, love prevails. My empathy with you Tarynn. Just hang on dear.

    April 17, 2015 at 8:55 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      They do love it, don’t they? It can be so frustrating when bedtime is drawn out for so long. It’s always a wonderful surprise when it only lasts an hour. Thank you for your kind words!

      April 17, 2015 at 9:26 am
  • Reply MrsMuffinTop ™ (@TheMrsMuffinTop)

    So, I have never had to do this (yet) but I’ve heard that removing the spring from the crib, and just putting it on the floor (still inside the crib rails) curbs climbing out, since they’re now a good 6-10 inches lower. Maybe that will help?

    I get really anxious when I know I’ll be alone for bedtime with all three…which is 5-6 days a week! But, I also put the youngest down first, but then I combine the two older ones. Each one gets a story and we rotate who chooses songs. I used to feel guilty, but the reality is that I’m only one person and they share their mama! I am now comfortable giving them the best of me, split both ways, rather than a frazzled me, trying to split myself in half!!!

    April 17, 2015 at 10:29 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      I should really try that mattress thing. And I should be sure to tape him the first time he discovers it. He will probably throw a fit. Is it wrong that my first thought is to tape him?
      Anyhow, thank you for the great advice! I guess my one night a week is nothing compared to your entire week. Ugh! I think I need to just chill out a bit and stop freaking out about how late it’s getting-worst case, they’re up until 9. (Bedtime for my youngest starts at 6:30-I need to change that too though.) Thanks again!

      April 17, 2015 at 10:37 am
  • Reply Ai

    Bedtime was always a challenge when the kids were younger. It’s been a lot smoother now, but when this next baby comes, I know it will be another adjustment period. I hear ya, though, about the routine being a special time with your girl. Our current routine is Daddy puts boys down (which usually means some wrestling before settling down) and I’m with my daughter. We have “girl talk” on her bed … sometimes she asks questions or tells me about her life or we read together. It’s special, like how you see your time with your daughter.

    April 17, 2015 at 2:42 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      That is exciting! A new baby will change some things, but you’ll adjust quickly I’m sure! I can’t wait until things are more calm here! My hope is to do like you do, and have girl talk with my girl before bed.

      April 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm
  • Reply Melissande

    Our bedtime routine has changed so much over the years. Our oldest is 4 years older than his next sibling. We always read 3 stories to him, sang songs, and settled him in quite a bit.
    Once his brother came along we still read stories, but the bedtime routine had to get a bit shorter. Now that we have 4 my husband and I tag team. Depending on the night we will watch a show or read a book before bed. Then, we will brush teeth and get the kids in their beds. Sometimes there is a song, sometimes there is some snuggling. We always end with prayers.
    My second boy loves to snuggle and most nights he asks for me to cuddle with him. He’s my quiet kid and during the day he often doesn’t get as much attention as my two more social outgoing kids, (in addition to the toddler who just needs more from me still). So, at night I try to as often as possible snuggle with him for a little while and tell him made up stories. It gives us that one on one time that he so needs. Plus he’s 5 and I don’t know how much longer he’ll like to cuddle with me! *sniff*

    April 17, 2015 at 6:51 pm
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      It’s amazing how much the night time routine changes! I can only imagine how elaborate it can get with four kids! I love that you tell your son made up stories, so sweet! They grow so fast, I’m definitely trying my best to savor every moment. Sometimes I doze when we’re cuddling…it’s just so cozy!!

      April 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm
  • Reply Ashley

    So, so true about the importance of bed time. I usually feel like I drop the ball, because when I am in charge, I end up losing patience or trying to hurry things along as quickly as possible because by 9, I am about done with everything. Thank you for reminding me about the importance of bed time.

    I hope your sweet little guy gets over his new trick of climbing out soon and that you can have some smooth sailing for you and your sweet girl. Don’t sweat about the mini breakdown. Sometimes, they just need to happen. Then you can regroup.


    April 18, 2015 at 6:03 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! I usually feel better when I break down, and then I’m able to refocus. 😀 I hope he’s done with his fun trick soon!

      April 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm
  • Reply Alana

    I’ve always loved your blog, but I think I love it more and more each post. This was so funny, and so perfect! I can so, so, so relate. Thank God for Super Dad. But at the same time, good god almighty child make your mom look good! It wouldn’t hurt 😉
    PS love Rachael’s broken comment and then follow-up.

    April 19, 2015 at 7:29 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Thank you so much Alana, that means a lot from you! It seems like lately, both kids have been trying to make me look bad! Thankfully it isn’t likely to last forever. Haha!
      Yes, her comments cracked me up. I was worried when it was just the first one-only because I know Rachael so well. LOL!

      April 19, 2015 at 8:10 am
  • Reply Melodi Steinberg

    I still lay with all of my kids. They won’t be asking to do it college.

    April 19, 2015 at 9:23 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      Haha! Fair point! My daughter loves it when I lay down with her, but she tends to get “giggly.”

      April 21, 2015 at 12:19 am
  • Reply Tricia

    I only have one child at the moment, so I bedtime is easier than with two. We like the short and sweet routine though my son would like to drag it out as long as possible. We brush teeth while reading books than I sing some songs and put him in. My son always asks for more and more books and more and more songs. When I’m not home my husband just puts him in and he has no problem going down like that with him.

    April 28, 2015 at 10:55 am
    • Reply mamabyfire@gmail.com

      That’s so funny! Both of my kids go down so easily for my husband, but with me, they drag it out as long as they can. I wonder what the trick is.

      April 28, 2015 at 10:59 am

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