Because the boys are so close in age we put them to bed together at the same time every night. I don't see any point in letting Ryan stay up a little later when he is only 2 years older than Lucas. The earlier the better is how I feel about their bedtime! Here is a breakdown of our routine, which starts around 7pm each night. My goal is for both boys to be asleep in their beds by 8pm, although they often have a hard time settling down by this time.
-Both boys are usually bouncing off the walls at this time in the evening. They are so wired that they have a hard time focusing on anything. Things can get quite frustrating with them at bedtime. I have wondered if this means they are overly tired by 7pm, but if I put them to bed even earlier they will either get up earlier in the morning, or lay in bed for hours without falling asleep.
-Give Lucas his "happy juice". Yes, we are giving him Melatonin, just like we did with Ryan here. Because of Lucas' excessive head-banging at night when he was trying to go to sleep, we started using Melatonin per the doctor's suggestion. It has made a huge difference for him.
-The fan is turned up to cool down the room and a sheet is hung over the curtains to darken the room as much as possible. I just ordered blackout curtains online yesterday so we can finally stop using the sheet. Their sound machine is turned on to "rain" and the lights are dimmed.
-If Adam is home we tag-team the book-reading and putting to sleep. Ryan prefers to have Daddy put him to sleep, so I usually sit on Lucas' car bed with a couple books, while Adam does the same on Ryan's bed. After about 5-10 minutes of reading the lights are turned out.
Adam lays on Ryan's bed and I just sit on the floor between their two beds. I really wish we could leave their room at this point and let them fall asleep by themselves. I do believe Lucas could do this with the help of Melatonin. Ryan, however, still doesn't know how to fall asleep by himself. He is still pretty wound up at this point and it takes a lot of reminding to lay back down, close his eyes, calm his body.....and repeat, and repeat. If we try to leave the room before Ryan is completely asleep, he will start crying and get out of bed, which wakes up Lucas. We have tried putting him back in bed every time he gets out, but the boy just does not give up. It only seems to make him more wound up which results in a bedtime hours past when he needs to be asleep. So for now we stay in the room until they are asleep and then sneak out.
I have been pleasantly surprised by a few nights where both boys stayed in the beds the entire night. I would say this has happened about 4 or 5 times in the last month. I gave them a lot of praise in the mornings and Ryan even got a new hotwheels car for his nighttime success. However, we can't get this to consistently happen, and lately things have gotten worse again.
Ryan is usually awake again by 12 or 1, when he wakes up crying and then comes into our room. He tells us he is afraid of the dark or something outside his window. In the beginning one of us would go into his room and lay down next to him until he fell back to sleep. I often wake up in his bed, disoriented and sore at 2 or 3am. However, this isn't working anymore. Ryan just will not go back to sleep in the middle of the night unless he is in our bed. I don't want to get back into that habit, but if I leave him in his room he will wake up Lucas.
Every night I tell Ryan to do 3 things if he wakes up scared. One, turn on his turtle. This is a turtle light that projects the moon and stars onto the ceiling and lights up the room just a little bit. Two, I tell him to ask God to take away his fears. And three, he should close his eyes and try to go back to sleep. So far it hasn't worked.
Lucas wakes up occasionally and cries or bangs his head against the door. I can usually go in and sit next to him for a few minutes until he falls back to sleep.
On average I would say I am up with the boys twice per night, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for an hour or more.
After an average night of falling asleep around 8pm and waking up a few times during the night, both boys are up for the day between 6 and 6:30am. Whoever wakes up first will wake up the other one and they will hide in Ryan's bed together and giggle for a few minutes before running out of the room looking for me.
So there you go, a really long description of nighttime for us. I want to work on getting the boys to fall asleep on their own and ideally stay in their room together all night....before baby number 3 comes! I'm just not sure what approach to take at this point. Those few nights that it happened have given me hope that it is a realistic goal!