A Toddler’s Bedtime To-Do List

All 4 of our kids sleep in the same room.  We have a twin/full bunk bed and a twin mattress on the floor.  The boys share the full size bottom bunk, sleeping perpendicular to “normal.”  It worked for Gianna and Aliya for awhile and now it’s working well for the boys.

Sort of.

After we hit the lights, either Kevin or I will lie down with the boys until they fall asleep.  75% of the my children fall asleep within a minute or two.  Not so much for little Mr. Honey Badger, Ezekiel.  His bedtime routine is… unique.  Usually I get increasingly frustrated with him, and it often ends in one or both of us in tears.  Fun, right?  But tonight I was able to step outside myself and look at it for what it was: a funny little guy just wiggle-worming his way to sleep.  I started keeping mental track of his shenanigans because if I can’t share the crazy with you, well then what the heck is this blog for anyway?

I hereby present to you:


0. If Daddy’s doing bedtime, cry and cling to Mommy for a minute or two, begging for “just a minute hug.”

1. Flop down heavily on the bed.

2. Drink Guzzle water.

3. Roll around.

4. Snuggle with the adult present.  (If it’s Mommy, climb on her chest.  Roll off until you flop heavily on the bed. Laugh and try to repeat. Cry when she doesn’t let you.)

5. Begin monologue #1.  (Topic suggestion: injustices you were subjected to throughout the day, or possibly ever.)

6. Guzzle more water.

7.  Tap both adjacent walls with heels.  (Extra points for volume, double points for syncopation.)

8. Sing a gibberish song.  (Follow point system for heel-tapping above.)

9. Curl up into a ball with your bottom in the air.

10. Ask for a blanket.

11. Kick off the blanket.

12. Steal adult’s pillow.

13. Have pillow taken away by adult for improper use.

14. Cry.

15. Begin monologue #2. (Topic suggestion: a game involving slicing pickles.  Repeat the premise of the game 473 times.)

16. Steal adult’s glasses off his/her face.

17. Have glasses taken away by adult for improper use.

18. Cry.

19. Call parent a “Bad Mommy/Daddy.”

20. Wonder aloud why parent doesn’t respond to heckling.

21. Attempt to use adult’s arm as a prop for The Pickle Slicing Game.

22. Cry when arm is taken away for improper use.

23. Begin final monologue of the night.  Topic suggestion: “How Breathing Sounds When I’m Falling Asleep, When I’m Waking Up, and How I Will Stop Breathing Now.”  Give lots of dramatic renditions of breathing.

24. Guzzle the rest of your water.

25. Cry when adult refuses to get up and get you more.

26. Snuggle with adult.

27. Say, “I love you.”

28. Speak gibberish.

29. Tuck every available appendage under adult in lieu of blanket.

30. Fall asleep mid-“sdhiantkeln amflbuet grubfsg gmhtnl joafka vdma”


So that’s Zeke’s general routine.  Pretty basic once I figured it out, right?  So silly how I used to get all upset about when it’s so simple.  I’m sure from now on I’ll handle it all with lots of grace and aplomb.  How about your kids?  Any funny night-time rituals?

Be sure to pop on over to Rosie’s because: dang but her kids are hilarious.  Especially her almost 3 year old Cecilia.


  1. Yup… Mine is kind of like that, too. Tonight’s was make clicking noises with your tongue. Jared asks her, “are you making sleeping choices or awake choices?” it’s been pretty impossible to have much of a good routine in the hospital, though. Now we get to go home and hopefully have two weeks until baby no. 2 arrives to whip no. 1 back into shape 🙂

  2. Now you can just go down the list and see where he is and know that sleep is coming soon. Toddlers are hard to put to sleep, aren’t they? I’m lazy, so I just keep nursing my kids to sleep until they are like 3, at which point they start to fall asleep without needing to be laid down with (which I hate doing for all the reasons you mentioned, plus the fact that *I* aways fall asleep and who wants to fall asleep fo the night at 8 PM?)
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…Come HomeMy Profile

  3. Liam is very similar to Zeke’s ~ less monologuing but otherwise pretty much the same. I now know that if I let him wriggle/kick the wall/drink his water/ curl in a ball while I’m nursing Caitlin down he usually has all his wiggles out and then once I lay Caitlin in her crib I only have to lay next to him for a couple of minutes and he is down.
    Joy recently posted…What kids sayMy Profile

  4. I have been very very blessed by C. See I love sleeping. It’s pretty much my favorite thing to do. And somewhere he got the memo and he goes down well. I am not suggesting he always sleeps great and lately he goes down and talks to himself and plays with his gloworm for a while but it’s not fussy. I am sure I am in store for a Zeke model with any subsequent children.
    Madeline recently posted…Cold, Princesses and ClayMy Profile

  5. This is hilarious! John Paul always used to kick the wall too – what is it with little boys? Thank goodness he stopped that one, it got reeeeally annoying when we lived in a townhouse…

    I always love Zeke stories – is it terrible that I think of him often whenever my kids do something crazy? I always think, “Well, it probably would have been waaaaaaaaaaay worse with a honey badger!”

    Thanks for linking up 🙂
    Rosie recently posted…What They Said: Volume 8, Cecilia-styleMy Profile

  6. This is great! You will so so love to revisit this list someday, and honestly, you’ll think back fondly.

    Isaac also has an extremely hard time winding down, and probably always will. I always lie down with him and I’m always asleep before he is.
    Rebekah Es recently posted…Catching People UnawaresMy Profile

  7. This brings back so many memories! We used to try everything to get our oldest to sleep when he was a toddler–homeopathic remedies, essential oils, minerals, CDs, Epsom salts–you name it. Crazy at the time, but there are some sweet memories in retrospect.
    Catherine recently posted…Snow, Texas styleMy Profile

  8. Toddlers can be so crazy at night!! Each one of my boys has had a different night time routine. Our littlest Charlie’s routine looks so much like your sons! He has to have water, the right blanket, at least one lego man to play with, his favorite bear perched right by his head, a pile of his favorite books, and affection from everyone before he can sleep. Some nights it’s a bit annoying, but most of the time, it’s just so cute the way they feel so free to be themselves.
    Susan recently posted…What We’re Reading Wednesday ~ When My Eyes Are OpenMy Profile

  9. After harassing you with questions on fb, I came over here to read your blog and laughed hysterically at this. This is the best.

  10. The monologues and part where he uses your arm as a prop were my favorites!

  11. Had no problem with kiddo #1. She slept with us, and fell asleep easily. Kiddo #2 was/is a ball of energy and we adjusted our bedtimes too, so the whole house would be dark and quiet…and still I could hear her bouncing around and singing an hour after lights out.

    We loved to play the alphabet game in the dark… as it would focus her mind and help her let go of the worries of the day or the plans for tomorrow. Pick a theme… (ex. food, animals, places, names) and then for each letter everyone in the room takes a turn and says one starting with that letter (or sound). They also liked to listen to me tell them stories of silly things they did as babies.

    Thanks for sharing the funny side of the night time ritual. I know it can be exhausting for parents. Been there done that.