Babies sleep. A lot. Older children also need a lot of sleep. The trouble is, they don’t always want it.
The 12 hours from 7pm to 7am should primarily be a time of quiet in our house. It is rarely so. OK, the kids do tend to be asleep not long after 8pm, but on some nights it’s not an easy transition into the land of dreams.
Take Monday evening. Lucy decided to defy my requests to get ready for bed, ignore my pleas to come and clean her teeth and eventually went for outright defiance when I asked her to lie down in her bed. “No!” she exclaimed, sitting up in bed with the posture of a prize fighter. At this point I decided it was best for everyones sanity to leave her to her own devices for a while to see if she would cool off… at which point she went ballistic. There were tears and tantrums. For about half an hour.
Eventually, she decided to “be a good girl”. I reciprocated by holding her hand as she lay in bed and singing her lullaby to her. Not long afterwards she fell asleep.
All was quiet then, until in the middle of the night, I heard her wake crying. I entered her room to find that she had fallen asleep with her sippy cup lying next to her but without having put the lid down properly. She was soaked.
We changed her clothes and bedding (thank goodness for zippable mattress covers) and after taking her to the loo settled her back into her bed.
Some minutes later I got up again to check her. She was awake but quiet and still felt cold to the touch after lying in the wet bedding. Feeling sorry for her, I picked her up and took her into the spare room to snuggle up with me in the double sofa-bed. This was entirely to her pleasing and she cuddled up on my pillow, her nose about 1 cm from mine, looking like a sleeping angel. Before she fell asleep, she suddenly said
“I love you”
“I love you too, Princess.”
With that, she reached out so her fingers could just feel my face. And finally, we both fell into a very sound sleep.