Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bedtime Routine

I have always been grateful to have kids that are good sleepers. Right now the quads go to bed at 8:00 p.m. and typically sleep straight through until 8:00 a.m. Not too bad! I get a few hours awake with my husband, then a good night's sleep before facing each day. I love to sleep. Love it. So, I am paranoid about my kids losing their good sleep habits. Because of this, I will do anything if I think it may help them sleep. At this point, the bedtime routine (at least for the girls) has become a bit absurd, but I want to document it.

Each of them has a few toys they keep in their crib which must be put in a special place. They each have several blankets which must be tucked in a certain order or laid in a particular place (I sometimes wonder how they don't melt at night!) Here is a break down of the drill which I must complete before my little princesses will go to sleep.

Izzie: Izzie has the biggest assortment of toys in her crib. Probably the oddest is an old wallet of mine. I got a new wallet a couple of months ago and gave my old one to the kids to use for play. Izzie took it and decided it should be in her bed with her. (Don't ask me. I have no idea.) Last time I washed their bedding, I took it out and didn't put it back. Sure enough, that night we're getting ready for bed and Izzie stands up in her bed and yells, "Where's my wallet?!?" (Yes, she got it back.) She also has a bunch of stuffed animals which must be arranged just so. She must be tucked into her purple fleece blanket "snug as a bug in a rug." Then she has a white blanket and a blue blanket laid on top of her. The final layer is a Snoopy quilt, but she doesn't know who Snoopy is, so she calls it her "doggy blanket." The animal print quilt which matches their bedding must be hung over the top of her crib.

Julia: Jules is the only one with a true "lovey." When I was pregnant and on bedrest, Rod's Aunt Connie taught me how to knit. I made a small (about 18in. x 18in.) yellow blanket with a green and blue border. Will carried it around for a while, but once the babies came home, he gave it to Julia (what a sweet big brother!). She has not slept without it since. So once she is lying down with her blankie, she has a pink fleece blanket I use to tuck her in "snug as a bug in a rug." Then she has a blanket her Godmother Taylor gave her with her name embroidered on it. This is the next layer, with her animal print quilt going on top. She also has a Lightning McQueen blanket of Will's she wants hung over the foot of her crib.

(you can see her little yellow blankie under her cheek)

Drew: Drew is my dude. He doesn't require all the details that the girls demand. He wants his pillow, a few blankies (but he doesn't like to be tucked in,) and his stuffed Elmo and Tiny. Then he conks out and typically sleeps on top of everything.

(Unfortunately, he is a finger sucker. Always sleeps with his first finger in his mouth.

Yeah, those orthodontist bills should be a lot of fun!!)

Paige: Our little Paige has her own unique list of bedtime demands. She also has a group of stuffed animals (and a yellow rubber duckie,) which must be positioned by her pillow. Then, I use her yellow duckie fleece blanket to tuck her in "snug as a bug in a rug." Next, I cover her with her Mickey Mouse quilt and a yellow afghan. She needs her music blanket hung over the side of her crib and her animal quilt hung over the top. Her funniest request, though, is when I kiss her goodnight, I have to kiss her forehead, then each of her ears. For a while, this request made me paranoid that her ears were infected, but nope-- she's just a funny little girl!

Yes, some nights it seems like I am jumping through dozens of hoops, but if it means that Mommy gets a full night's sleep, I'll keep jumping through them! You notice after all of the positioning and tucking, they end up completely untucked and sprawled across the bed. Sometimes I think they're just messing with me- seeing how far I will go for my desire for sleep.


  1. 1) I am sooo jealous that your kids sleep 12 hours a night! We get about 10.5 ... not bad, but definitely not 12!

    2) They've got you trained well. ;)

    3) I noticed your kids don't wear PJs. Just wondering how/why you made that decision? I am always wondering if mine are too hot or too cold ... now I am really worried that I am overdressing them!! FB me ... I really want to know. :)

  2. Yeah, that must be nice that they sleep 12hrs, we put ours to bed at 8pm also, but the boys sometimes will wake up a couple times before I go to bed which is usually really late/early morning, and they will wake up anytime between 5 and 8am. Elizabeth is the sleeper, but she has her own room also.

    We are also shocked that yours are still in cribs, we were forced to go to toddler beds when they were at 21months, because they kept climbing out of their cribs and we didn't want them getting hurt so we made the switch. We also have to use pjs, if not they we'll find them in the morning completely naked and possible wet beds.

    Our Elizabeth is also very demanding when tucked in, she has to sleep with her baby dolls and she wants you to kiss each one. She'll be awake sometimes in her talking to her dolls and making them kiss each other. The boys like to get up and play in the closet and totally destroy the room... clothes, shoes, books will be all over the room.

    The McCleary Quads

  3. It must take you a long time to put them all to bed! My little girl has always been a good sleeper, and she favors my schedule- up late, sleep late. She's been a 13 hour a night snoozer since she was 3 months old and Thank Goodness for that!!

    Her bedtime routine is a strange one as well. She has to turn on her nightlight and turn off the fish tank. Then she kisses, in this order, her Blue's Clues poster, puppy poster, duck print #1, photo of a dog we watched for my uncle for 6 months last year, duck print #2, and then some of the rabbits on her mobile. Then she kisses and hugs daddy, then me. Once she is in bed, her glowworm must be playing music. She has several stuffed toys in the crib and is very astute at noticing if one is missing. I don't cover her up, she just kicks the blankets right off. She's also a finger sucker AND a hair twirler. The hair twirling is the worse offense. It is SO hard to unknot it in the morning!!

  4. First of all you are blessed and LUCKY they are good sleepers!! I have bad sleepers - which only worsens with multiples. I can't believe out of 4 that not 1 is a problem. And then if 1 is it could wake the others.

    But goodness - that is quite a routine. I'd do it too and not mess with anything that's going good. I've always said you can handle anything as long as you are getting sleep.

    My first two I did quite a bit of those rituals for the bedtime routine. Over time it would just change into a new ritual but it was always one more thing, one more thing. And Mackenzie had me layer her blankets in order like that too. So funny about the wallet! I always think it's funny that Mackenzie at that age would sleep with a bunch of plastic spiders, but a wallet is even funnier!

    Oh, bless you for all that you do!!

  5. KNOCK ON WOOD, our girls are great sleepers, too. And like you, I will do ANYTHING for that to continue!!!

    Our girls don't have anything in their cribs, though. They sleep in zip-up sleeper blankets, and that's it! Sometimes it makes me a little sad (worried?) that they don't have a lovey, but they've never taken to anything that they want to carry around. They love their baby dolls and a few stuffed animals, but they just play with them.

    My "ritual" is that I saw the exact same bedtime wishes and prayer every night, in a particular order, with no deviations.

    And as much as I would like to go out for dinner and a movie, I cannot imagine having someone else put them to bed for a very long time. I just don't want to mess with a good thing! :)

    I know you'll be glad one day you documented this in so much detail!