Somewhere between the ages of 18 months and 29 months, my daughter has:
1) learned how to open doors
2) pee in a potty
3) talk A LOT
All of these combined make for a child that won't go to bed. Well eventually, but after much work!
Our bedtime routine: I usually get her into bed around 8:30 or 9pm, read (what feels like 25 books), take her potty, brush her teeth, go back to the bedroom, lay her down, say our prayers together, turn on her soothing music, dim her lights, do our "I love yous", hugs, kisses (from each family member, including our dog Bordeaux), and then close her door. Sometimes she fusses a little bit but most often she's fairly quiet, laying there, storing up energy, in order to start the real bedtime routine.
~Cut to ten minutes later~
Uttered from the most precious mouth ever, we hear "Mommy" or "Daddy" followed by "I pee pee" or "I poo poo." So we take her back to the bathroom and the entire potty process (which is usually a good seven to ten minutes long due to the fact that our 2 1/2 year old has mastered the art of stalling), then we're back in bed a second time, hugs, kisses, I love yous are repeated, "night night", door shuts.
During the following ten minutes I start to relax (rather silly of me really), have began to do some reading, writing, or just plain vegging in bed with hubby. Oh the joy! Knowing your child is comfy, safe, and tucked in for the night is a wonderful feeling.
~Cut to ten (maybe fifteen) minutes later~
"Mommy...Daddy, I pee pee, I pee pee." Now mind you, she's wearing a pull-up to bed still because we haven't completely finished potty training. So when she says she has to go we listen, even though, I really want to let her just go in her pull-up. It's not a good idea because every mother knows that during potty training consistency is the most important part. However, patience is the most tasking part. How she's able to hold her pee pee and even poo poo for intermittent potty visits as the moment of bed time is still a small mystery (babies must go to some secret society stalling school before the potty training starts).
Again, after second potty visit in last twenty or so minutes it's time to lay my sweet down into her bed a third time with all the vigor of our original bedtime routine (kisses, hugs, I love yous and the whole bit). The door shuts and I slowly wind back down into my little piece of bliss hoping that sheer exhaustion will gently guide (if not hold down) my sweet child.
~Cut to ten minutes later~
This time seems different...has it happened? Has she actually fallen asleep? As the twenty minute line has passed I'm almost positive she's amid her first dream. Just then, I hear a door open (listening closely because I'm positive it can't be my lovely...she's fast asleep by now)...then...I hear some banging and thrashing in the bathroom. I must explore. In the bathroom I find my child, with poo all over and a proud, gleeful smile across her face. "I poo pooed Mommy!!!" she exclaims. I can't help but smile and congratulate her. After all she's my baby, but she's growing up so quickly. These bedtime qualms, although exhausting, won't last much longer. Soon she won't need me as much.
During the next ten minutes I give her a good cleaning and sanitizing and then again, place her into bed. This time I can tell it's the last time, she's pooed and peed herself empty and her eyes are droopy. With my daughter, she sucks her two middle fingers on her left hand when she's ready...speaks slowly and so sweetly. "I love you the most," I say. "I love you the most," she repeats.
So now it's a little after ten usually and the bedtime routine as come to it's conclusion. Any idea of writing or reading is out the window and I'm down for the count. Even so, the thing is, with all the work that goes into making, carrying, birthing, and raising a child, it is the most rewarding, fantastic experience a person can be privileged to have. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Here's to: my Amelia - potty training - and the every night Bedtime Qualms!!