For the past 21 months, I have been the sole nap and bedtime person whenever I'm at home or whenever we're traveling. J has only put Squeakles to bed when I've been away at a conference, or one other time when I was on the phone with a friend who'd just had a baby. That's it.
The reason for this is that I used to put Squeakles to sleep by nursing him and after 15 months that turned into just lying down with him. (I have to say, it was a very easy transition, and I also have to say, a welcome one.) But at the same time, it can be a very time consuming thing to spend 1/2 hour or more in his room getting him to sleep every night. (During the day, the babysitters do this as well. Or at least, they do it when he hasn't fallen asleep in the stroller first and can then be transferred directly (sleeping) to the crib.) Then again, how much time is "normal"? I mean, most bedtime routines that involve reading a book, a drink of water, etc. probably still take time, right?
Well, anyway, I'm enjoying a new normal, which is that J and I are now splitting nap and bedtime duties. We already split up the day into time periods where one of us is primarily responsible for taking care of Squeakles while the other can do work. (The idea is that if you're also taking care of Squeakles then you should also be the one to do whatever housework you can manage, such as cooking dinner, cleaning dishes, sweeping, laundry, general cleaning up, etc. I am much more successful at this during full days with Squeakles, but I'm also getting better in the evenings. That said, it's still really, really hard!) But whenever it came time for bedtime, I would have to stop work and put him to bed, while J got a break and could do whatever he wanted! Not fair, huh? But this is the system we had.
So we started last week and guess what, it works! Bedtime doesn't go any faster for J than it does for me, but suddenly I am looking at a couple more hours of free time per week and that is really, really exciting.
Of course, this is how sleeping went yesterday.
Naptime. It's J's turn. He needs to run to the bathroom, so I take Squeakles and start changing his diaper. Squeakles' eyes are rolling back in his head on the changing table and all I have to do is place him directly in the crib. J has returned, so I turn to him and say, "you got this?" I leave the room, and three seconds later, J follows, commenting "that was easy." Sigh.
Bedtime. It's still J's turn, but Squeakles is clinging to me after dinner, rubbing my arm across his eyes and saying "hi sweetie", as if recreating a scene in which I'm holding and comforting him. I ask him if he wants to go to sleep and he continues to hold onto my arm and says "ga" (which is still what he says for "yes"). I tell J I will put Squeakles to bed because he clearly seems tired and it seems like he really wants Mommy-cuddles. J is more than happy to let me do it because he's been on Squeakles duty all day and has an online video game scheduled in an hour. So just after 9 I take Squeakles to his room, read three books with him, and then we lie down to go to sleep. He is in a very cuddly mood and doesn't resist being in bed, but it takes a full two hours for him to finally fall asleep. In the meantime, I have to run to the bathroom and I also suddenly feel the need to eat something, but I am trapped, while J is happily playing a video game in the living room. SIGH. When I finally go to bed, I can't sleep either and it takes at least an hour and a half for me to go to sleep. Just when I do, Squeakles starts getting fussy and keeps waking up, then finally poops, cries in my arms because he doesn't want to be awake, and eventually goes to sleep and I end up sleeping the rest of the night in his room. (I don't stay there the whole time on purpose, but I was really tired and that is where I fell asleep.)