Tonight, the boys went up to get ready for bed at 7:30pm again.
This is unprecedented in our house....we had a general bedtime of 8:30, but many times the process didn't get started until 8:10, and was started half-heartedly, or one kid was allowed to stay up later for some reason.
Not tonight. Rudeness on Gabriel's part led me to set a hard 7:30 deadline for him tonight, as well as putting away his beloved radio-controlled pickup truck for a MONTH for another infraction -- I'm raising the stakes now!
Julian had already earned an earlier bedtime: one minute of ignoring me at the CDC when I say it's time to go turns into 5 minutes of an earlier bedtime. Round down, and everyone goes up at 7:30, aiming for an 8pm lights-out.
This worked so well tonight that I'm going to drop the earlier bedtime as a threat, and instead, start transitioning it to the norm. The boys almost seemed to thrive from the structure, and perhaps the rigid attention we put to it. It means I can't trust them to do anything (like getting undressed) without hawking over them, but to my surprise, they almost seem to prefer that. Maybe it's the novelty, maybe it's the attention, but the bedtime process is a lot less painful too. Less fun, but let's face it, overall it wasn't that fun anyway. I regret having to drop the boys' new independence about taking their own baths, but, too bad. We can get back to that later.
And the boys slept better today too. Still late getting dressed in the morning, but a lot less hassle being reminded. Even if they wake up at 6:30am, going to bed earlier with a calmer bedtime process means more sleep. Tonight lights really were off at 8pm, and not a peep out of them afterward. I don't expect this will continue so easily, but it's definitely a major step in the right direction.
Katrina went to bed even earlier, sort of by accident. She fell off her chair at dinner, and pulled her placemat and her entire dinner on top of her head in the process, collapsing on the ground in a bawling puddle of food and milk. Her hair was matted with milk, and sticky rice had gotten under her shirt, and she shaken and wailing and was just a mess. She'd eaten enough and was so upset that we just took her right up for a bath then and there at 7pm. That's early given our usual habits, but my goodness, she's only three years old. It should be the norm.
And I'm loving the extra time we grownups have in the evening, without being wiped out, and without having to go upstairs numerous times to tell the boys to quit bouncing off the walls or fighting.
Could it be that much of our trouble with children is simply due to insufficient sleep?
Can we possibly keep this up, please? O Sun, will you please please keep setting early so that we don't have to put them to bed when you're shining bright? 'Cause this is totally working!