Emma’s sleeping habits have been discussed in many many blog posts and instastories. She was never a fan of sleeping and for many many many nights we fought hard to get her just to lie down. Earlier on this year, I stopped fighting with her. We bath, read and then she either lies down or she walks around a little or she goes to her room, puts the light off, closes the door and goes to sleep. Nothing about her behaviour us predictable or even makes sense to me, so I have stopped trying to figure it out. She eventually does fall asleep and because we don’t have a school to get to she can wake up when she is ready.
If I am honest, I love our bedtime routine and all it’s craziness.
It is our time together. If you have more than one child you will know that one of the biggest challenges is getting in that one-2-one time with each child. I have to get creative to make sure I spend a little alone time with them every day and bedtime is the perfect time for Emma and I to get that alone time in. While she is decompressing we talk about our day or we make up magical nonsensical stories about unicorns and princesses.
We also get to talk about our day, particularly those moments that didn’t go too well. I get to explain why I shouted or got upset and she gets to explain why things upset her in a calm environment.
She is our youngest and last child. Our family is complete, there will be no more babies. From past experience with the other three, their fifth year is the year they make a big developmental leap to more independence. Emma turns five in a few days which means she will naturally start falling asleep on her own in her room more and more. She will, soon, stop coming into our room in the middle of the night. Her and I will stop fighting over the pillow because she will spend the night in her room, sleeping on her pillow.
Sleeping with a little person in your bed is not comfortable, I don’t care what anyone says, it is not. Yes you get used to it and manage to get some sleep but it is by no means comfortable. I do love though that she falls asleep with her arm around me or that she needs some part of her to touch me.
Parenting is such a strange thing. As mom’s we are told to trust our instincts but then we are also told that we need to breastfeed, that our babies must start eating solids at 6 months, that our children need to go to bed at a certain time. Very often we ignore our instincts and do what we think is right.
Bedtime in our home is not conventional, it doesn’t look like I imagined it would look, it doesn’t even look like it did with the older two children. Emma goes to bed later than I think is socially acceptable, one night she was still awake well past 23h00. But it works for us now and every night I am secretly in awe of her spirit and her dedication to doing things her way.
One day, in the not too distant future, there will be no more story, there will be no more reminders to brush teeth and I will miss having her in my space. I may not want her to be back there, but I will miss it, so for now I am making the most of it, even when it drives me crazy and I wish she would just sleep!