With two children fairly close in age the bedtime routine has to keep adapting. We used to settle Ciaran around 7pm in the knowledge that I would spend around an hour with him before he’d sleep, and while Ben still managed a daytime nap he went to bed between 7:30 and 8pm. That was well over a year ago and now we are getting to a point where both boys go to bed together at 7pm.
Tonight for example worked quite well, we took the boys up for a bath around 6:45, I was on bath duty while Daddy blitzed the bedrooms and laid out clothes for the morning and pajamas for bed before joining the boys in the bathroom while I then stripped and changed Ciaran’s cot. Both boys had their hair washed with minimal fuss (a major improvement on how things used to be!) and were out of the bath and wrapped up in towels.
We dried the boys in Ben’s bedroom, it’s the larger of the two rooms and has plenty of space for lying two children down on the floor to dry and talc simultaneously. Once dry and dressed (special bedtime nappy pants for Ben, vest and PJ’s; bog standard nappy, bodysuit and PJ’s for Ciaran) Ben came downstairs with me, while Ciaran sneaked into Ben’s bed to try it out.
Ben and I returned upstairs with a bottle of milk for Ciaran and cup of water for him. Then the boys parted, around 7:15 as I took Ciaran off to his room. The final stages of their bedtime routines are quite similar, book, cuddle, sleep. The main difference is the choice of books.
For Ciaran there can only be one book – the classic, thrilling story of a rabbit going to bed – Goodnight Moon. This book served Ben well and now Ciaran insists on it every night with a shout of night night! Ciaran then has a bottle of milk (some nights we don’t have any but I like the chance to sit quietly and cuddle him) kisses teddy goodnight and goes into his cot.
Ben’s choice of bedtime stories is a bit more varied, You Choose is a frequent flyer, as are One Mole Digging a Hole, Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose, Goodnight Harry and the Green Queen. As he is three years old, he tells us in no uncertain terms that he needs three stories. There is no room for negotiation here unless you want to read more than three stories but three is the absolute minimum anyone can get away with.
Ben then lies next to me or Chris, has a cuddle, tells jokes (why did the fish cry? Because the bird poo’d on his head – I don’t think a career in stand-up is beckoning) and tells us about the day and what he wants to eat in the morning.
To be honest Ben is ready to give up a bedtime nappy and Ciaran doesn’t need milk but we’re keeping things as they are for a bit; I don’t think it will be long before we’ll be putting another little bed in Ben’s room and reading three (or maybe by then four) bedtime stories to both boys simultaneously so I want to keep them my little babies for a bit longer.