Home Strange Home

BedI hate bedtime. In the old house, the kids took a while to fall asleep but they did sleep early enough to give my husband and me some time alone at night. Not so now. Since our first day in the new house, both kids require one of us to sit with them until they fall asleep. It’s not quality time, either. We just sit there and wait. By the time that’s over, I have to go to bed. I really miss my husband.

Neither kid is comfortable in his/her room yet. Our six-year-old daughter has to keep her light on, despite the hallway light blaring into her room. No exaggeration. You could read by it. She’s the feisty one. She’ll lie down while my husband reads her book, but after that, while he’s sitting with her, presumably so she’ll fall asleep, she’ll open her eyes, sit up, talk, arrange her stuffed animals, ask to brush her doll’s hair, complain that she’s too hot, cold, you name it. Of course we redirect her, but she’s the stubborn one too, so bedtime with her is excruciating. She goes to bed at 8:15 and doesn’t sleep until almost 10.

My daughter says that it takes her a long time to fall asleep, and since I have the same problem, I can relate, but it’s the fact that we can’t leave her alone that’s the issue. If we do, she gets out of bed and comes and finds us and no matter how angry her dad gets, she just pushes and pushes, over and over. We have to find something that wears her out just before bed. I’m thinking she reads her own damn book, but any other ideas will be greatly appreciated.

Our three-year-old son is a little easier. He’s the obedient one. He’s the kind of kid that stays in time out when you put him there. At bedtime, I read him a book, then play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Lullabye (Goodnight my Angel)” on my phone and then I sit there and read my book for half an hour while he falls asleep. On the bright side, it’s the only time I get to read. The problem is that by the time he falls asleep, I either have to go to bed or attend to my daughter, because my husband has had enough of her antics.
Bedtime is a pain in the ass, but as parents, we’ve got to be more sympathetic. We’ve only been in this house for two weeks. Although I can’t believe this house is ours, my husband and I feel like we’re back home in Maryland, but to our kids, this is an entirely new place. The only home our kids have ever known is in Seattle. My daughter was a year old the last time she had to adjust to a new bedroom. My son was three months old. My husband and I are adults. We can adapt to new places much faster than they can. We have more experience moving. This is the first (and only) time in memory that the kids have moved.

We have to keep in mind that they had to change schools, so they miss their old schools and friends. We kept our jobs and have so many more avenues to connect with our friends. This place looks different. The kids aren’t used to these trees and hills and wildlife. While we see a familiar landscape, they see a whole different world. The weather is different. My daughter used to wake up and ask, “Is is not raining?” Here kids wake up and ask if it IS raining.

I know that kids are resilient and that they’ll get used to this place. It’s our home now, and soon they’ll feel like it’s their home too. In the meantime, we’ll try to be more mindful of their experience, but I hope they adapt soon because I can’t wait until the kids can sleep on their own.

2 comments on “Home Strange Home

  1. Our younger one likes to try to opt out of bed, too. We got him a book light, and let him read (when he was younger, it was memorized books, but now he CAN read new ones). I also started playing a CD (Jack Johnson’s Curious George soundtrack) when I left his room. Now, he reads (I limit him to 2 chapters, otherwise he’d be up all night) and then he listens to the music, and usually falls asleep before the CD is over He usually turns off his book light when he’s done with the 2 chapters, but sometimes I have to shut it off, if he’s fallen asleep before he finished. I just check on him before I go to bed. Its been probably about 4 years that we’ve done this, and he’s done fine without it when we’re not home. It’s not foolproof, but it has worked for the most part.

Comments are closed.