The good news is, Ruthie is no longer screaming for half an hour when we put her to bed – a revolt that began after our camping trip in July.
For some reason, after that trip she refused to go down without a fight, and every nap time and every bedtime included a half hour to forty-five minute battle of screaming and getting out of bed.
The situation, you have to admit, is frustrating in and of itself. But as a rage-er and control freak, it felt like I was fighting a twice-daily battle on two fronts – that of my strong willed child, and that of my own demons. I tried every good parenting method I could find to make the routine go more smoothly, but in the end I most often gave in to sheer threats and intimidation to control the situation. I was so emotionally drained, and felt so guilty, that the rest of the afternoon or evening was shot as far as me being productive.
Finally one day a couple months ago Bryan suggested we try putting Ruthie to bed later, which leads to the bad news: it worked, and the screaming stopped.
Why is that bad news? Because I value the evening hours as greater than gold. I need the time to recoup, to vegetate, to Get Things Done, and on occasion, to write. Delaying bed time one hour seemed like a lot to ask at the time since I was assuming the usual amount of screaming would still apply. But we’ve been in that routine for several months, now, and Ruthie crawls in bed with very little fuss.
I have to say it makes the rest of my evening much more relaxed, even if it is shorter.
I typically put Thomas to bed at the usual time, then spend that last hour with just Ruthie (- when Bryan is out of town. He does the bedtime routine when he is in town). We read books, or she takes a bath and I play with her, or we watch Emeril on the Food Network and talk about what he’s making. It’s the combination of one-on-one time with me and the later time that helps her settle in.
So I guess in the end it’s not really Bad News. I tend to look at any disruption of my will as Bad News. NOT screaming is definitely good news. And specially set-aside time with my daughter has turned out to be GREAT news.