Ok, so maybe the title is a bit dramatic, but by the end of the day, that is what bedtime feels like. Before I had children, I dreamed about the days when I would rock my babies to sleep, and as they got older, lovingly read to them, inhale their sweet smell as I kiss them off into dreamland. Let me tell y’all, that is NOT how it goes in this house!
I have always rocked my children to sleep for as long as they let me. I treasured this time with them, those magical moments where they look up at you then close their eyes, knowing they feel safe and secure with you. Sure some nights were harder than others, but I loved those quiet moments singing to them and feeling their warm little bodies snuggle in and sleep. Gage, my oldest, let me rock him until he was about 2 years old. Maddox, my almost 3-year-old, let me rock him until he was about 10 months, but then he wanted me to lay in bed with him and rub his head until he fell asleep. Freya, who is now 14 months old, just decided last month that she just wants me to lay her in her crib! What?? No more rocking? I have to say I did shed a tear about that, but she, by far, is the easiest of our three to fall asleep.
Now, as the days of rocking my babes are behind me, I am thrust into a whole new world of bedtime. By 6pm I am so done mommy-ing that I can’t wait to snuggle on the couch with my husband. Maybe my illness makes me more exhausted than I should be, but seriously, by 6 I am D.O.N.E. This is the time I am finishing up cooking dinner (due to my husband’s schedule we eat a bit later), the boys are getting hungry and tired and my daughter is jumping right into her witching hour. For our one-year-old Freya, this is the time where she cries, clings, yells and constantly says “up, up,” as she reaches to be held. Our sweet, loving girl, is nowhere to be found, and this new toddler shows up at 6pm on the dot and doesn’t leave until I sit her down at the table to eat. I have tried everything, snacks, cartoons, new toys, anything I can think of, but this new kid comes to my house, demanding to be held as I cook dinner. I did try something new last night that seemed to work, I put her in her high chair next to me and gave her a green pepper, a bowl, and a spoon and let her “cook.” I am hoping this is a breakthrough and the witching hour baby stays away.
But back to our nighttime routine. We finish dinner around 7:30 and then it’s time to get ready for bed. Some nights this means bath time, most of the time we just have the kids clean up and get ready for bed. Cleaning toys, brushing teeth, getting PJs on and heading to their room. My husband and I switch back and forth, one puts Freya to sleep and the other put the boys to bed. I am realizing it doesn’t matter who does the “putting to bed,” the outcome is the same every night. I take them to their superhero room that they share and have the boys each pick out a book. We lay on the floor, reading books then saying prayers. I tuck them in one at a time and sit with each one as I sing them a song. Final kisses and hugs are given and I go downstairs, or so I try. This is when my 5-year-old decides he has a billion and one questions for me. I hate to stop the conversation, but seriously, I would be up there all night because the kid does not.stop.talking. Ever. I love him to pieces but Gage is a talker, he even talks in his sleep! So I try gently, to stop the conversation and give him a kiss, which leads to him hugging and kissing me a million times. I know, I know, this is sweet, but remember, I was done mommy-ing at 6pm and I am trying so hard to spend some much needed time with my hubby!
So by this time, it is about 8:15. Maddox, who was tired, calm, and almost asleep is now bouncing on his bed and growling like a T-Rex. I love him to the moon and back, but he is a wild child if he is up longer than he should be. If that kid is over tired, you literally have to sit with him until he stops. So that is what I usually have to do. I go and lay with him until he falls asleep, which can be anywhere from five minutes to forty-five. If I leave too early T-Rex is back jumping on the bed and it will be another hour of me going up and down the stairs trying to settle him down. Now I am super tired, frustrated and annoyed. I don’t want to be annoyed but I seriously just want to sit with my husband and have a snuggle or two before he heads off to bed (he has to wake up at 4am for work). I look forward to that time every day and every night I get more and more frustrated the longer the boys are awake. That may sound selfish, but I believe that spending alone time with your spouse is so so important to your marriage.
So, I need help with bedtime, and last night I tried something different. Essential oils. I use oils all the time for other things and also sleep for myself. I diffuse oils in the boys’ room for bedtime but I didn’t feel they were making a big enough difference. Why not apply? I do it for myself, and now that Maddox is almost three, I feel more comfortable about applying oils on him. The lightbulb went off, I ran downstairs and grabbed what I needed. Frankincense and Cedarwood in the diffuser, 3 drops each, and one drop of Cedarwood for each boy diluted with coconut oil applied down their spine and on the back of their neck. I kissed them goodnight and headed downstairs. I heard a bit of quiet talking and rustling on the monitor, but within ten minutes Gage was asleep and T-Rex had settled down for the night. I could kick myself for not thinking of it sooner!! I know oils work so why did I insist on fighting through a frustrating bedtime? No more! This mama is saying goodnight to fight night!! Oils for the win!