A while ago I took Ben out of nappies at bedtime. Last week DH announced Ciaran no longer needed a bottle at bedtime and the bedtime routine as changed again. So here, for all the Mums who find Gina Ford impossible to follow is my foolproof routine for putting two toddlers to bed.
Step 1. Herd two children up the stairs and into the bathroom. Battle to be allowed through the stair gate by aforementioned children.
Step 2. Bath (every other night so as not to dry their excema prone skin), and then brush teeth – argue with Ciaran over who is allowed to hold the toothbrush.
Step 3. Wipe down the floor, toilet and walls where Ben enthusiastically spat toothpaste and was copied by his adoring brother. Grit teeth wearing down the remaining tooth around my one filling.
Step 4. Douse kids with water and pump baby face wash into my hands, apply bubbly stuff to their faces, turn around to get wash cloth damp. Hear noise of bathroom door opening and laughter.
Step 5. Chase children across landing with dripping wash cloth. Rugby tackle toddlers and hold in headlock with one arm while cleaning with other hand.
Step 6. Shoo children across landing out of my room into Ben’s room. Order Ben to undress while I hunt for clean pajamas in Ciaran’s nursery.
Step 7. Return to Ben’s room to find kids engaged in educational game of throwing stuffed toys all over the room – to escape the dinosaur. Bellow like wounded cattle to get oldest son undressing while stripping a wriggly toddler.
Step 8. Swear under breath, return to nursery and get back into Ben’s room with nappy, wipes and nappy mat. Encourage Ben to put pants on and then to put his willy back in his pants while changing naked Ciaran’s nappy.
Step 9. Get pajama’s on kids. Ben pretends he can’t dress himself, Ciaran insists he can. Think of gin, tonic and horse tranquilisers to get through the dressing routine.
Step 10. Get kids into Ben’s bed with books. Start the argument over whose book is going to be read first and then commence marathon reading out loud session. Shared bedtime stories take three times as long as separate ones for a bizarre reason.
Step 11. Use final croak of voice to explain that while Ben would love to cuddle Ciaran all night and Ciaran would love to be in a proper bed Ciaran is still too little to sleep outside of baby prison (I mean a safe cot that he can’t fall out of).
Step 12. Carry grumbling Ciaran and teddy to the nursery, cuddle them both before placing in cot.
Step 13. Return to Ben’s bed. Nod wisely as he discusses his planned trip to Jurassic Park, croakily beg him to stop talking and lie down. Kiss him good night and remind him not to let the bed bugs bite.
Step 14. Stagger downstairs; dream of a night in front of the TV with a glass of vino or large G&T. Find football on and immerse self in work (with a cheeky glass of something – purely for medicinal purposes after all that croaking!).