Bedtime Battle Update: Controlling The Chaos

Last week, when I posted my frustration about how my toddler was completely controlling bedtime, and how I completely sucked for letting it happen, I nearly died when in less than two hours the post had 300 views. My Facebook page lit up with shares and comments about how it was like I was writing about their life.  (If you need to catch up, the first Bedtime Battle post is, here.)

It turns out, when I said:

 "I'm just going to come right out and say it, I have created a bedtime monster. I play into every bedtime whim my evil genius toddler can think up. I just wanted him to go to sleep! I kept thinking if one more book, or sip of water, or trip to the potty, or hug and kiss, or handstand while balancing the cat on my foot was going to get my kid to go to sleep, I'd try it."

My community was shouting, ME TOO!

While, I'm not so happy that other parents are lying next to their child and "pretty much play dead for 20-45 minutes while my toddler does everything he can to drive me nuts." I am relieved to know I'm not alone.

So, for those of you who were shouting ME TOO!  I thought I would let you know how I was doing at controlling the bedtime chaos and the lessons about myself and my toddler I have learned.

First and foremost, I realized that my toddler had complete control of bedtime. From dragging his feet to the bath, to stalling with books and stories about his day, to flipping and flopping for thirty minutes before going to bed, my toddler was playing me like a dumbass drum. This was actually the turning point for me. Realizing I had no control over bedtime was, in one word, unacceptable.

I was determined to gain control. Which, meant toughening up. I realized that I let my toddler get away with the books, stories and flip-flopping, because I didn't want to rock the boat. I just wanted him to go to sleep, without a huge freaking meltdown.

Oh, what a fool I was.

Now, there are two books, and lights out! While he protests, its very short lived. He knows when the lights go out, they stay out.

The next thing I learned was that I actually like laying there, for the first five minutes. I really like the quiet time cuddles and listening to his silly thoughts and bad jokes. So now, every night when I turn off the light, I soak up the quiet and sweet cuddles. And then when I've had enough, I let the battle begin; I give him one more kiss and hug and get up and walk out.

I wish I could say after seven days it's as easy as getting up and walking out, but it's still a battle. Albeit, not a horrendous 30-minute struggle. We're at about 15-minutes now.

The kid still crawls out of bed at least twice, and each time tries to pull at my heart strings with something along the lines of, "I'm scared up there all alone." Being the sucker that I am, I go back and lay down a few minutes. Even still, just knowing I am moving in the right direction is enough.

Toddlers are fickle little creatures. It takes time and patience to parent them. Especially, when you are trying to fix a fail you created!

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit