Saturday, 8 June 2013

The racing car bed of hope

Pardon the pun but there was a lot riding on Alex's birthday present. I'd been planning to get him a big boys bed for months and considering his birthday was approaching I thought we'd make it a special one. He loves cars and what little boy wouldn't love a racing car bed? I did have doubts, is it only spoilt boys who have 'themed' beds? Will he grow out of it too soon? Does it turn bedtime into playtime?

In the end we decided that it was awesome and we'd do it.

The bed also offered a glimmer of home for a bedtime challenge which had been brewing for several months.

About 6 months ago Alex declared he wanted a 'pat' before going to sleep. A 'pat'... where did he get that from? We went with it initially although the alarm bells were going off in my head already - would I be patting him to sleep for his 18th birthday?

He'd never been one who needs much settling to go to sleep - we'd had a nighttime routine since he was a few months old - dinner -  bath - milk - story- bed and he'd go pretty happily if we stuck to that and would fall asleep on this own. What was this patting business? He was very specific about it too, we had to sit on the ground next to his cot, he'd trust his hand through the bars and we had to pat the palm of his hand. And there was no sneaking out until he was asleep.

Once I realised this wasn't a one off and he wanted it EVERY night I tried to go back to the way things were but he would literally scream the house down, going from zero to ten decibels in 0.5 seconds and not letting up.

Daddy didn't mid the patting so much, he would take his kindle in there and quite enjoyed being with Alex as he drifted off to sleep. I, on the other hand resented losing that one glorious hour I had to myself once Alex had gone back to bed and before I collapsed exhausted into my own. On a weekday it felt like the only me time I had. It didn't help that Alex would take much longer to get to bed when I was patting him compared to his dad.

So back to the great racing car bed of hope.

We started talking about Alex getting a big boys bed a month or so before his birthday - mainly so I could start seeding the idea that when Alex got said big boys bed he wouldn't need a pat anymore. I said this statement frequently and often - not convinced it was getting through but hoping against hope. By this stage even Haydn was over the pat routine we'd been landed with.

The moment I thought it might be working was when Alex said to his Amma on skype - I'm getting a big boys bed and I won't need a pat.

So when the day came and he got his racing car bed (he didn't know about the car factor) we were weighed down with expectation. Grandpa was down for his birthday part so kindly helped put the bed together while I distracted Alex downstairs. When Alex saw it, it was love at first site. He was actually due for a day nap and he basically pushed us out of the door said goodnight and went to sleep in his awesome new bed.

That night was the true test though. We reminded him a few more times that he wouldn't need a pat anymore but he was so convinced already and excited about his bed that he didn't even question it. Over the next few weeks occasionally he'd ask for a pat but I'd just remind him of the bed and that he was a big boy now and IT WORKED! I haven't patted him to bed since.

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