An hour ago I started writing a blog post about bedtimes. I started to write about how well tonight had gone and how it had been the first bedtime since the start of the month where Mini had taken less than an hour to settle.
Since I started writing, I've been called back up three times to Mini by loud growling, a complaint of feeling sick and a request for water coupled with a complaint of non-tiredness. Each time I've gone up and held him tight, with gentle reassurances about where I am (downstairs) and what I'm doing (writing). Now, he might possibly be settled, but who knows? I've promised him I'll go and check on him in a few minutes.
December, for the most part has been really rather good. I've talked before about how we cope - our Elf on the Shelf, and it really does work. I will reiterate that we don't use this in the same way that many do. Those other common elves report back to Santa daily and aim to be an incentive for children to be good. That puts too much pressure on Mini, but we've found that the elf just helps dissipate the excitement and anxiety that builds up to that one big day. It doesn't stop it all completely but whilst the children are looking for the elf - Barnaby, and the mischief he gets up to, they're not focusing on Christmas Day so much.
Anyway, so day times are OK (brilliant in fact) except for the days where Mini has been over-tired. There have been a few of these because he has just been refusing to go to bed. If we manage to get him there, then we get refusal upon refusal to go to sleep. He had been getting upset when the NC had to go to his evening job which meant me putting him to bed; these difficult nights were limited to 'mummy-bedtime' nights, but now even on daddy nights, Mini has still refused to sleep. On one of those occasions Mini shared that he missed me now he was at school...I wrote about it here, but since then, there seems to be no rhyme or reason, and he has denied that he misses us.
We've heaped reassurance upon reassurance on him. We've lain beside him for an hour at a time. We've hugged and hugged and held and held him. We've talked and wondered. Nothing helps.
We don't know why he's started this but can only imagine that he's worrying about us leaving. Or worrying about us going away for Christmas. Perhaps he's worried that Santa won't come. Maybe some of his old nightmares are resurfacing (the wolves used to be quite common). Although he's undoubtedly improved our day times, perhaps the elf is causing these night time worries. We've wondered about all those things, but still...no sleep comes.
For now, mummy and daddy remain unrested and unrelaxed, constantly on edge during the evenings, awaiting the click of the upstairs stair gate that tells us Mini is up again, with another excuse to hide the real reason that sleep is eluding him...and Mini remains unrested and unrelaxed, with a vile temper on those tired days.
Do you think Santa could arrange just one nice, easy, restful bedtime?