I Love Putting My Kid To Bed. There, I Said It

What used to be my worst time of the day is now my favourite.

I like to sleep. Actually, let me rephrase that. I LOVE to sleep.

I dream of the days I used to spend Sunday mornings wrapped up in my sheets dozing until 11 am. No rush, no cares, no worries.

I often ask my husband, “How do two people who loved sleeping so much have two children who don’t sleep at all?”

We have friends who put their children to bed at 10 pm after a fun night out and then their children will sleep until 8.30 or 9 am the next morning. Ours? They are early risers no matter what their bedtime and even if they go to bed on time, they are still up throughout the night.

Sleep has become a distant memory. I now embrace the raccoon eyes that I sport daily and know that being tired is my new normal.

When our first daughter hit six months of age I did the whole sleep training thing and we had a good few months of her going down at 7 pm and sleeping through until 7 the next morning. 

I felt like a million bucks. I was on top of the world.

I remember putting her down, pouring a glass of wine, (or a shot glass full of Amaretto, depending on the day I’d had), and then actually being able to binge watch a Netflix program with my husband, or call and catch up with a friend. 

I embraced those few hours of quiet time and admit that once 4 pm hit, I would count down the hours until bedtime, knowing that there was an end in sight.

Then my daughter turned four and things changed for me.

Rather than the mad dash of bedtime where I couldn't wait to get her put down fast enough so that I could be ALONE, I now loved the thought of bedtime as I couldn't wait to get moments with her ALONE, all to myself.   

With her being gone to school all day now, bedtime became our time. The time when she would cuddle up to me as we read stories; when she would confide in me things that happened at school that day or tell me stories that would make us both giggle so hard that her dad would pop his head into the room to see what we're doing.

Bedtime became my favourite part of the day.

It’s funny because I look back on all of the stressing I did over bedtime. Why won’t she sleep, why does she need to have a drink or go to the bathroom again? Why does she have to line up 15 stuffies on her bed before she gets in it?  Why does she need a bowl of cereal now when she should be sleeping?

I remember being so exasperated that when she finally stopped clinging on and went down for the night, I would let out a sigh and pour that drink, celebrating that she was finally asleep and I could enjoy MY time.

But really, in the grand scope of things, children and sleep are two things that don't make any sense at all. If there were concrete answers or solutions, thousands of books and articles about children and sleep would not exist, all of which serve to contradict each other.

So yes, now I embrace bedtime. The time when it’s quiet, the cuddles are endless, the stories are animated and detailed. There are no friends around to distract her, no pressures or rushing. Just her and I.

There will come a time when she no longer wants me in her room. When she might just give me a hug and kiss and head up to bed on her own. So now, rather than rush through the bedtime routine, I embrace it.

For tonight, as I lay in bed with her, holding her sweet, little hand, with her nose pushed up to mine she whispers, “I love you” and I reply, “I love you More”; to which she responds, “I love you most” and with a smile on my face, I reply again, “I love you the most, the most” and she smiles and says “You win”.

Then she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep still holding my hand as her little body cuddles into me… and in that moment, yes I do win, for there is nowhere I would rather be.

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