Last night was going to be the night...the night I conquered the going to bed battle with my brilliant mommy skills! I explained to the girls that when I put them down to bed that evening, they would get to play quietly for a little while. They could read, talk, giggle even as long as it was relatively quiet and there was no running around. At a certain time, I would come in and tell them it was Shut Off Time and this meant complete quiet and go to sleep. I could even ask Big Bear what Shut Off Time meant and she would answer very seriously, "Time to go to sleep". Great! It was going to work! So, we put them down after their usual routine. They talked and giggled and read books but they didn't stay in bed or quiet. Okay, no biggie. I could handle that on the first night of this new routine.
Next came the part that just filled my heart with pride at the brilliant plan that I got from a friend. Not only was this plan going to assist my children in falling beautifully off to sleep but at the same time I would be teaching them their Catholic faith and bringing them to the foot of the cross through our Holy Mother. At Shut Off Time, I walked in, took up books, patted backs and sat down in the rocking chair with my rosary. Instead of praying it quietly to myself, I began to pray it softly and rhythmically out loud! Brilliant - huh? Not only was I lulling them off to sleep, but I was teaching them the beauty of the rosary! Big Bear even prayed the first decade with me and then got quiet. Me Too was very still. "It's working" I think to myself and mentally pat myself on the back for being such a great mommy! Until about the 4th decade when Me Too started wiggling around and Big Bear started whining about something or other and squirming. Disappointment was followed by pure frustration and that very familiar combination of feeling like a failure and dread that this is how my life will go forever and ever and nothing will ever change - waaaaa!!!!
Once I finished the Rosary and patted backs (not my own this time!) some more, I quietly slipped out when they got still and quiet again, leaving the door open so no one would be tempted to get up and run around or start jumping in the crib. Doug and I started doing some work we needed to get done. We had to go in a couple of more times but pretty quickly it got still and quiet and stayed that way for a while. We thought they had gone off to sleep until about 10:30 when I was on my way to bed and heard music. It kind of freaked me out because Doug was out in the garage. I quickly realized that Big Bear was scurrying back from the CD player where she had turned on some piano music. Me Too was rolling around. I could have cried. I think that Me Too had been asleep and woke up when Big Bear turned the music on.
So besides my sin of pride, I don't know what went wrong with my brilliant plan. Tonight I am going to be out and so we're trying a new plan. Putting them to bed, closing the door, and just not worrying about it. We decided that we've tried everything else - sitting with them, leaving them alone, scolding them, taking things away from them, putting one down after the other was asleep (the asleep one woke up so they could start playing!). The only thing we haven't tried is doing nothing. So that's what we'll do tonight...nothing. We'll see!!