It's the same nearly every evening. The kids wind up just before bedtime because they've hit that mark...just a little too overtired. They careen around the house whooping and tackling one another until inevitably someone gets hurt or their mom or dad loses patience and raises a voice a little too loudly. Often things end in tears. It's bedtime at the Zebra household.
Miss M has never been a sleeper. Even as an infant she would fight the good fight until she'd quite literally cried herself to sleep. It was her way of winding down I guess, but as a new mother I found it quite disturbing to listen to my precious baby cry so often. I suppose, in retrospect, she may have been a bit colicky. There were some days that nothing would soothe her until her dad placed her on a portable changing table that came with our Pack N Play and carried her around the house while she lay on the semi-hard surface. We had a rough start at being a family as I've written about before. Her emergent c-section birth was a shock to both her father and I and I long felt like a failure for that and for my failure at breastfeeding. It really was no wonder that she didn't sleep easily or for long. When we finally discovered that she had abnormally large tonsils and had them removed, her sleep improved remarkably.
K Man was a champion sleeper in comparison to his sister. He still took naps at age 4 on days that he didn't have preschool (in contrast with Miss M who gave up all naps for good by 26 months). I've rocked all my kids to sleep as babies and often into toddlerhood. K Man preferred me to hold his feet as he drifted off to dreamland. If I failed to clutch his squarish feet in my hand, he'd grab my hand and guide it to his feet. He still seems to enjoy this if you can get him to sit still long enough. In the last 2 years he's had trouble getting his mind to shut down enough to sleep. He thinks too much. He has too many ideas. He worries about tornadoes.
Ms. D is the best sleeper of the bunch. I'd only heard of kids like her who, when asked if they are tired will answer yes and grab her lovie and doo doo (her word for her binkie...I have no idea how she came up with that one but I love it) and head for the stairs to go to bed. To be honest I was skeptical that such children existed. She is the only child who inherited her father's sleep habits. (Sorry to my other children.) When D is tired she will grab her lovie and doo doo and wrap her lovie around her index finger, murmuring softly to herself as she strokes her lovie with on finger. She's done this since she was probably 4 or 5 months old. I will miss this routine when she outgrows it.
Recently, my mom sent a small bottle of lavender spray home with Miss M. I started spraying all three kids' pillows before bed. It's magic in a bottle. My kids have been sleeping better (most of the time). K Man doesn't come out of his room as much at night. D, on the occasions that she starts to balk at bedtime, will respond to a few sprays on her pillow. M requests the spray. I think it relaxes her.
It is magic in a bottle. I'm spraying my own pillow too.