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A different kind of bedtime problem

Bunk beds changed our lives.

My daughter was the--pardon the pun--bedtime nightmare before that. My son had his music and would play quietly until he fell asleep. He always, every night managed to find his way to his bed even if he'd been playing on the floor. But my daughter was still out in the living room, refusing to be alone, and wanting to cuddle with a grownup in the dark until she fell asleep and was transferred to her own bed. It was rather inconvenient. Sitting in the dark...first with the tv then eventually without anything to help expedite the process.

Then she got princess sheets and the lower bunk. She decorated the walls and got to keep a few small toys under her pillow. The routine is great.

Originally, bedtime at our house kicked off at 7pm. But then came kindergarten and evenings when my exhausted older son would be ready to fall down (or grumpy) at 6pm (and sleep until 6am!) so 6:30pm has become our default "start" time for months. That means we take turns brushing teeth at our one sink. We put on pajamas. We get a cup of water to take to bed. And we get either 1 short book each or one group chapter from the chapter book (we just finished Willy Wonka) before lights out, kisses, "sprinkles," tucks, and a grownup--usually me--stays until the youngest falls asleep. We take turns on who gets to pick the music (or no music) and they're often both asleep in 20 minutes or so.

Well, my daughter is still on the 6:30 train. My son? Not so much. The time it takes him to fall asleep has gotten longer and longer to the point where I'm still on the floor in their room at 7:30pm some nights. Between adjusting to the school year, the extra daylight, and getting older, he's ready for a later bedtime. It's clear.

We have such a great thing going though!

Aside from the fact that we have no idea how the logistics of two bedtimes will go, we still feel like he needs to ride out the school year with the earlier, consistent schedule. We've agreed to visit the topic once school gets out, but it's also bringing up the issue of what expectations will be during the time between his sister's bedtime and his own. Bath? Quiet time? Is he allowed on his tablet? Is it for something educational? Can he watch tv? We haven't decided.

It's definitely not a "is he ready" thing because there are many nights when he gets down out of his bunk to quietly use the bathroom or ask us to restart the music. He waves, states his issues, and immediately returns to bed. It's admirable and shows the maturity level is there. Unfortunately for him, his maturity level is going to require some new configurations in the household though.

And I'm sure it won't be the last time.

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