Bedtime battles

Once the Toddler is asleep she sleeps well, rarely waking in the night.  This is a good thing, especially while O is still not quite settled into a proper pattern.

Bedtime however has become a thing of dread.

Like all kids, she doesn’t want to go to bed.  This not wanting to go to bed originally manifested as crying at the stairgate but has now escalated to flat out refusal to do anything bedtime related.

Last night was awful. 

She refused to get changed into her pajamas which meant I had to pin her down just to get her clothes off.  Of course, this then riles her which makes her less likely to sleep.

Then to teeth cleaning.  The most horrific part of the nightly routine.

She has two toothbrushes; one green, one purple.  They both get loaded up with toothpaste.  This idea used to work.  She used to choose one and brush with it herself and let me give her mouth the once over with the other one.

Not any more.

She won’t choose. She clams up.  Sometimes she gives a sly smile so we know she’s just stalling.   So we choose for her.  Then it begins.  She won’t open her mouth.  Then she cries, howls, flops all over the place, runs away and smears toothpaste over everything.  I’m sick of dealing with this. So last night I leave her to it.  OH goes mental, telling me it needs to be done, that I’m too soft letting her get away with it (we have issues with O at the moment too) and tries to pin her down and stick the brush in her mouth.  She’s absolutely hysterical.  Obviously the best way to be right before bed.  We all know that being stressed out is the key to a full and healthy nights sleep.

While he pins her on the carpet and attempts brushing I decide enough is enough.  I shout at him to get off her and claw at the arm holding her to the deck.  (He’s not hurting her, just trying to get her teeth clean but she’s causing a huge fuss and extremely upset.)

He lets go and tells me off for touching him like that and says I’m too soft, she’s playing me, I can’t let her get away with it etc, meanwhile she is obviously desperately distressed by the situation as she’s stood looking at me, tears pouring down her cheeks, her face covered in toothpaste.

“By fighting her like that you’ll only make it worse.” I snap at him. “Tomorrow she’s going to be even more scared of having her teeth cleaned.”

We get her into her bed and I stay with her until she sleeps, meanwhile I can hear O doing a number downstairs.

OH and I haven’t spoken since.  We probably won’t talk about it at all.

Until tonight.


8 responses to “Bedtime battles

  1. Good grief, that sounds hellish 😦

    I agree with you that forcing her to clean her teeth will only distress her and make her less inclined to do the deed – now, I have NO experience whatsoever in getting toddlers to brush their teeth, but I would hazard a guess that making it fun/a novelty would be a better method?

    And uh, I’m not sure how you would do that. I tend to sing loudly and dance like a loon to get Moo to do what I want (it generally distracts her, doesn’t always work) which sometimes includes cleaning teeth.

    Perseverance and consistency are key, I reckon. Decide with OH a clear, force-free method and do it EVERY night, even if she ends up not cleaning her teeth – once in a while won’t do any lasting harm.

    Be strong! Nil desperandum! it WILL get better!

    • You may not have experience but you are a Parent of Excellence. Singing used to work, but the novelty faded.

      We will have stickers.

      • I was talking to a friend today who HAS got experience of this – they used a dinosaur timer with their boy, he had to keep brushing his teeth till the bell went off and then he got a sticker – 10 stickers and he had a treat at the weekend. Sounds promising, mais non?

  2. Oh god thta sounds awful you poor thing, I agree with MV come up with a plan between you anf then tag team her she’ll get used to it in about a week. I started giving LPV his milk in his room now as he would drink as he was so hyped up by imagination movers or mickey mouse he drank 50 mls last so were making progress.x

  3. Arrgh I know how you feel. On the rare occasions that A tries to settle J, tries to pin him down to get him to sleep and I think it’s vile. They don’t mean to be cruel but they don’t think how they would like it if it was them. Can you get musical toothbrushes? Or make her a star chart for teeth brushing?

    • Bingo @ star chart. That’s the next thing to try.

      It was horrible. I’m not soft with her but she’s getting distressed for a reason and holding her to the floor and forcing her to brush isn’t going to help. I get that she’s being contrary but we’re just making it escalate into an all out war at the moment. I get so wound up about bedtime I can’t enjoy the childfree time that follows!

  4. We are getting to the stage of not agreeing on certain parenting problems, i am strict and hubs is soft. I hate being undermined especially as i am the one who looks after her most.

    Its tough trying to decide what to do when they play up and knowing you want to do whats right for them but at the same time not hurting them or scaring them for life.

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