Here's the real deal, folks...bedtime routines are imperative, but can be complete bullsh** and a waste of time. Reality is we are just trying to survive until they fall asleep. I think we can all relate. I thought I would just give you a quick look into the real-life, daily events that lead up to the peace and quiet that comes with a sleeping (eventually) kiddo.
Step 1: Dinner...maybe. I don't know if it's his age (3 years 8 months) or just the fact that he has become a complete asshole at meal times, but dinner is a struggle. I don't know if he's really hungry, he says he is. So I make dinner. It's unacceptable. At this point the dinner could be ice cream with candy on top...he pushes it aside. "Chocolate milk, please." Ummm, nope, not happening. Full meltdown. Throw away the dinner and pray he ate well enough during school and snack time to sustain some sort of normalcy. So fuck dinner, apparently that's not gonna happen.
Step 2: Bath. Crying because he didn't get to put in the bubbles. Get the kid in the bath. I'm in the splash zone. Soaked. Sit and listen patiently to a full reenactment of the movie Jaws staring a Darth Vader and a whale we bought on vacation (please note: he has actually never seen the movie Jaws so I have no clue where this is coming from, but it's pretty damn accurate.) Clean up dishes while listening to the sound of what can only be described as a deluge of soapy waters being haphazardly splashed about. Pray that the lavender aroma and warmth of the tub are working some kind of magical spell on him, making him tired, and feeling restful, only to realize this is the exact definition of a "pipe dream."
Step 3: Pajamas. How dare I even suggest putting on pajamas while he runs around naked, only to refute any argument for actually wearing nighttime clothing? He ends up in a t-shirt, no underwear (obviously that's too much) and a full Kylo Ren costume (complete with mask, gloves and a light saber.)
Step 4: Crazy Hour. Now I don't know if this is just specific to my child or if it's a universal law that all children lose their damn minds during the twilight hours, but it's definitely a thing. Full bat-shit crazy mode. There he is, running in circles, light saber battling with the dog and shouting "the weapon is mine" at the top of his lungs. Mom losing patience.
Step 5: The Pre-Crash Famishment. Because dinner wasn't an option he's now bargaining for a snack...ugh. You give in. Pirates Booty and pudding is officially "dinner."
Step 6: Clinginess. The tired is sweeping over him. He's feeling full from the above mentioned snack and now it's time to adhere himself Mom. "Just snuggle me! I need my blanket! Read that book again. Now this one. Now tell me a story. I'm thirsty. I have to pee again!" Initially you try to lay him in his bed but that's literally the most offensive thing that has happened to him all day and he's now in full meltdown, so you try the couch. Eventually you're both in your bed. Mom is passing out, the dog is snoring, and kiddo is wide awake and conversations are starting to take on a "whose on first" vibe. No one is making any sense and you have to pee so badly, but you can't move or its all down hill from there.
Step 7: The Crash...it finally happened. He succumbed to the need to sleep. You can finally finish the dishes, take a shower, have a glass of wine, read, catch up on a show, oh wait...and pee...alone!!! Whatever you want to accomplish, now is your time. This is the peace and quiet you've been craving. You peel off his Kylo Ren costume and do a little happy dance. Quietly.
Step 8: Move the child. I put him into his own bed. Usually without any issue, but occasionally you lay him down and he freaks out, almost levitating above the bed as if it's some sort of magic trick and refuses to entertain the idea of snoozing in the expensive Pottery Barn Kids twin bed with organic mattress you painstakingly picked out for his Star Wars themed big boy bedroom and so you just put him back where he started.
Step 9: Time for Mom to sleep. It only takes 5 seconds for you to fall asleep because this whole process has you so bone-weary that your eyes just shut and you're done...
Step 10: Mid-REM crisis: "Mommy I have to pee! I want to sleep on your bed! I need my blanket! I'm thirsty! Is it time to wake up?" You're startled awake, ripping you from your dreams. Oh hell no! ...back to sleep...You are allotted 6 inches of the queen sized bed. He has the rest, but still manages to kick, slap, and sweat or drool (and on a great day...pee) on you while you struggle to eek out just a few more hours of some-what quality shut-eye.
And it all repeats itself the next night... The struggle is real, Moms. Respect.