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A toddler at bedtime can be the most incredibly persistant, annoying, clever and imaginitive little creature you ever could meet. I adore my boys, but sometimes I just hate bedtime. Our tiny one goes down easy and sweet like the little lamb that he is (for now anyway). The big one is a different story. He's three and a half - going on fifteen, and insists that he should be able to "stay up late like the growing-ups".
I say, "No." Then I make sure he brushes his teeth and goes potty before reading him at least three, but not more than five bedtime stories. This is followed by his bedtime prayers and a lullaby. Then I remind him (for what might be the hundredth time this week) that he needs to stay in bed until its time to get up. He knows when that is because he has an alarm clock which looks like a stop light. We have it set to go "green" at 5am*, and he is not to get out of bed before then.
When I leave his room that first time each night, the chances are 50/50 that he'll stay put.
Tonight I knew instantly that it wasn't going to go my way....