Bedtime Battles

There are aspects of parenting that I feel like a total pro in. Then, there’s bedtime.

The beginning of Cailena’s bedtime routine is so sweet; I really, really cherish it. Maybe too much… maybe she knows…

It usually starts with a bath; although, if it’s been a rainy or cold day and we’ve been stuck inside, neat and clean, a bath is sometimes skipped.

Oh, How Sweet It Was!

Then Caily dresses in fluffy, clean pajamas. I turn on her bedroom lamp, read her a nighttime story, followed by lullabies. She picks the story, and the order of the songs we sing. But every song must be sung, and usually this is the order she wants them in:

Oh Danny Boy

The More We Get Together

My God Loves Me

You are My Sunshine

The I Love You song.

Usually, she wants to say prayers in between You are My Sunshine and The I Love You Song, saving her favorite for very last. Sometimes she wants to do the praying, like tonight,

“Dear God. Thank you for safe Daddy. For Friends. ummm….Mommy, ummmm….Tweak… and safe Me! Be Safe. I LOVE YOU GOD!”

And sometimes she wants to listen to me pray a simple prayer on her behalf. If she says the prayers, there better not be any interruptions!

Sounds pretty idyllic so far, doesn’t it?

Then Caily wants a kiss, a hug, a head pat, and a nose rub. In that order. Oh, and her hand has been down my shirt the whole time, did I mention that?

Next, I am asked to send Daddy in so she can give him a goodnight kiss and hug. This is quick and painless; how does he do it?

If Daddy happens to be working night shift, like tonight, there will be 5 minutes of  “I love you Daddy! Nigh-Night Daddy! You hearing me Daddy?” Shouted at her bedroom window, followed by a quiet, “Aww, can’t hearing me.”

When Caily is done with all her goodnight rituals, she will take inventory of who is in bed with her. There must be 3 babies, a turtle, a family of ducks who kiss each other before going to sleep, and stuffed dog named Echo, a book or two, a plastic fire truck, and whichever teddy bear is the flavour of the week. If something is missing, there will be tears.

Once everything is safely in bed, it is imperative that her bedroom door stay open, and the hallway light be on. Should the door be mistakenly closed, there will be a great deal of crying. And each night after, the door closer will be reminded, “No close door, otay? Don’ do it again Mom. Make me cry.”

Usually, this is the end to the bedtime saga, but on nights like tonight, she will have to pee.

Now, Caught out of Bed!

Caily is three quarters potty-trained now; wanting a diaper only when she needs to poop, and needing one for nighttime sleep. Otherwise, she will not wear a diaper, and to get her into one at bedtime is challenging to say the least. Her getting up to use the potty will result in the stripping of the nighttime diaper, and the fight to get it back on. Not to mention the fact that she probably won’t even pee on the potty; she just wanted to get up. Still, I can’t say no to a potty break, can I?…

After her bum is wiped, toilet flushed and diaper forced back on after impressive Indian Leg Wrestling moves, there will be banshee-like shrieks for about 20 minutes. These shrieks are designed to turn usually sane and responsible mothers into bribing, threatening fools.

A woman, upon hearing these shrieks, might, as happened to me tonight, offer the banshee a ridiculous prize, like a spoon of chocolate sauce to suck on, if she will only please be quiet and go to sleep. My cheeks burn with shame.

After the spoon of chocolate sauce is consumed, the shrieking might, in fact, begin yet again. This might startle the exhausted, sleep-deprived mother in to threatening life-long ice cream bans; she may even consider telling her daughter to quiet down soon, before she wakes up any monsters. Thankfully, this mother still had some wits about her, and that terrible thought was never put into words, other than to write this sentence.

At such a point, recked with guilt, I will lay beside her bed, and scratch her back for 20 minutes. I leave when her chatter makes it obvious that she will not shut her eyes, so long as I am here to keep her company.

Again, our home is subject to 10 minutes of loud sobbing.. and then… quiet.

I creep into her room to check on her, frightened to wake her, but more frightened that the emotional trauma of having to go bed has rendered my daughter unconscious. While fixing her blankets so she receives optimum comfort and warmth, I smell a sickeningly familiar smell.

Caily has pooped.

I wake her up, to change her.

Submitted by: Katie Bickell. Read her blog, Young Mum, here.



  • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

    I’m thrilled this article has found a home on Oh Baby! Magazine! Thank you!

  • Erica

    Thank you for a good giggle :) Too cute!

    • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading! :)

  • http://www.hilltophausfrau.blogspot.com Hilltop Hausfrau

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.  The chocolate at bedtime…oh my cheeks are burning with yours…

    • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

      I’m so glad I’m not the only shameful parent! you know what, before I had my daughter I was worked as an Early Childhood Resource worker. I gave workshops to parents on stuff like tantrums, bedtime routine, stress management… oh, there was so much I just didn’t know, haha! Thanks for reading, and commenting. I’m really glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Cat

    thank you for the peek into the possible future :) Cute story

    • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

      Thank you for reading Cat! And good luck with the future! haha. I was just reading this again, thinking, oh, it wasn’t so bad – at least she said in her room! Now Caily has started getting up at night and in the morning we find her in random places around the house! lol. Lord give me strength!

    • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

      Thank you for reading Cat! And good luck with the future! haha. I was just reading this again, thinking, oh, it wasn’t so bad – at least she said in her room! Now Caily has started getting up at night and in the morning we find her in random places around the house! lol. Lord give me strength!

  • meimei

    Thanks for sharing your story.  My daughter is almost two, your bedtime routine sounds exactly like ours.  I haven’t had to take out the chocolate sauce yet but I was very tempted to.  I read another mother’s board and there are a lot of mothers make “sleep training” a priority.  Basically they just let their kids cry for hours when they were only seven months old.  There are lots of books to encourage (“support”) parents for “sleep training”.  I really don’t understand that concept, I don’t care what kind of fancy names they use it but leaving a seven months old to cry in bed for 45 mins so he will learn how to fall asleep by himself is not very nice.  Both my husband and I work full time so a good night sleep is an advantage so we can function at work, but letting my child to cry for hours makes me feel like I’m ignoring her and that’s the last thing a parent should do.  My daughter sleeps through the night sometimes.  What is wrong when they want some cuddle in the middle of the night?  You get to have a husband or wife or partner to sleep with why do they have to sleep alone? 

  • meimei

    Thanks for sharing your story.  My daughter is almost two, your bedtime routine sounds exactly like ours.  I haven’t had to take out the chocolate sauce yet but I was very tempted to.  I read another mother’s board and there are a lot of mothers make “sleep training” a priority.  Basically they just let their kids cry for hours when they were only seven months old.  There are lots of books to encourage (“support”) parents for “sleep training”.  I really don’t understand that concept, I don’t care what kind of fancy names they use it but leaving a seven months old to cry in bed for 45 mins so he will learn how to fall asleep by himself is not very nice.  Both my husband and I work full time so a good night sleep is an advantage so we can function at work, but letting my child to cry for hours makes me feel like I’m ignoring her and that’s the last thing a parent should do.  My daughter sleeps through the night sometimes.  What is wrong when they want some cuddle in the middle of the night?  You get to have a husband or wife or partner to sleep with why do they have to sleep alone? 

    • http://youngmum-katiemul.blogspot.com/ Young Mum

      Thanks for your comment MeiMei! I couldn’t do the sleep training thing either (obviously). Sometimes I feel like a pushover, but then again, I so treasure early morning cuddles with my sweaty/sweet little girl. There’s nothing better than the pitter-patter of little feet into your room, and straight into your arms and heart early early in the morning. And then waking up to an extra little one in the bed between DH and I, both of us amazed that we made such a beautiful little person… or in bed tickle fights in the morning! These days will be gone before we know it, might as well just enjoy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tanis-Sergeew/100000701963793 Tanis Sergeew

    Thank you for sharing, definitely a good thing to know for the future!

  • Anonymous

    It really is brutal Katie! I’ve had numerous experiences similar to yours and I totally understand. Thanks for the detailed and witty narrative!

  • Chrissy Guldbrandsen

    That seems as though it could have been my life right there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bonnie-Forsythe/100003425765770 Bonnie Forsythe

    Thanks for giving all us new moms the heads up!!..:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1558425216 Brittany Bajaa Cameron-Smith

    Awesome article =)

  • Sweethoney1476

    This was a great article thanks for sharing 

  • thewhiteheads

    This sounds so familiar.  Glad to hear I am not the only one with these bedtime troubles :)




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