Parenting, Toddler & Preschool

Guest Blog Jamie Centner

Putting my toddler to bed and trying not to go insane…

Why is it that when you have a toddler or pre-schooler, bedtime is always such a struggle? In an effort to ease the burden of bedtime, we took naps (and my blissful break) away from our four-year-old.  If not for this course of action, he would stay  up until 10pm, or even later, still contriving one clever excuse after another as to why he is not in his bed. What’s worse, he would still not be showing signs of fatigue even after all the struggles.

My child is the kind of kid who finds comfort in routine. One wrong turn on the way to school can make drop-off miserable.  So, after our pre-bed routine, we implemented a bedtime routine.

It started with the implementation of a play-clock, set to bedtime and placed above the real clock (to assure him that we, his kind, loving parents, are not lying about it ALREADY being bedtime).  Then we implemented use of his ‘Scout’ bear; a cute green bear that features an internal music timer to avoid arguing over how long we lay with him.  The bear speaks when you push the night-time button. It says,  “(yawn) 10 minutes of bedtime music. Snuggle up Andrew.”  He’s had it since he was a baby and he loves it. We also went on-line and set up a playlist of night-night music that he approved of for the bear to play.

Now, with our fingers crossed, we set the timer to 10 minutes, turn on the nightlight, give him his Flintstone Vitamin,  provide a fresh sippy of water in a particular cup, say our prayers, get the ‘cold blankey’ ready and pray that it works.

Some nights, it goes off without a hitch. He knows that I leave the room when the music stops and that he is then expected to fall asleep sans mommy. Those are the good nights; the ones where I get a glass of wine and a bit of meaningful convo between me and my love.  But if they all went that way, I wouldn’t be writing this!

How is it possible that on other nights my beautiful angel of a child can make my blood boil soooo HOT!? He fake cries when I leave, pretends to be afraid of monsters (Sulley from Monsters Inc, who is his hero in daylight), says that I didn’t brush his teeth, that I forgot prayers, that he needs to potty, then he needs water, then he’s afraid of a toy buried in the depths of his toy box, OMG, the list goes on and on..

AhhhhhhHhhhhhhh!!! How does he function? I could collapse after a day running on his same hours. Yet here he sits, happy as can be, awake as can be, and yes, aggravating as can be!  My dear child, I pray that these nights become fewer and farther between as time goes on. We are improving, and for that I’m thankful.

I know that in time, he won’t need me as much. I tell myself that if my baby wants me, I’m going to take the time to be with him. In the grand scheme of life, the time we get with them, as babies, when they want/need us around, is less than a flash. It may seem impossible to overcome at the end of a long day reasoning with a clever yet undeveloped mind, but I do cherish that he loves me and wants me around.

I think that every parent should have a piece on their résumé dedicated to “ingenious problem solving strategies that they personally ‘developed and implemented’ without direction from management for the betterment and growth of the company.” HA!

To my dear AJ,

If you’re ever 15 and reading this, I loved every minute! Someday you’ll understand!


-Jamie Centner



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