Over here we've just had the longest day of the year and it's bright sunlight until 10pm and later. Light-proof blinds haven't solved the problem with enough light sneaking around the edges to keep him awake. Plus, who knows what else is going on in his little head. Niels has grown so much over the past few months, both physically and mentally, that perhaps it's just hard for him to switch off at night. Carl doesn't help of course: the two of them will keep each other awake, crawling into or under each other's beds to giggle and playfight until I'm ready to tear my hair out and the neighbours must wonder why I go charging up the stairs ten times a night.
But all this is about to end. Hubby and I have come up with The Plan.
Step A: we have blacked out his west-facing window completely with thick cardboard. Not the prettiest solution, but effective.
Step B was a 'sleep drink' for Niels: warm milk with honey and an aniseed flavoured sugar cube, which is a popular night cap in Holland. Hey, we're desperate here people.
Step C: new rules for bedtime stories. Henceforth I will read to them in my bed, one kid propped up on either side, and they must sit quietly and listen. No drawing, no flicking through other books, no wrestling/ fighting/ swordfighting/yelling/bouncing....you get the idea.
Step D: Last night I downloaded an album of meditation sounds for Niels from iTunes, one of those hippy tracks of waves gently breaking on a beach. It was indeed mind-numbingly hypnotic, and it was all I could do to stay awake long enough to download it. That will fix the little sucker, I thought.
So tonight we put The Four Step Plan into action. First the sleep drink: that went down a treat and I could barely prevent myself rubbing my hands together with glee waiting for the placebo effect to kick in.
Next was storytime; this went reasonably well, both boys first signing a 'contract' promising to behave themselves and even adding points of their own. Which just goes to show they DO know when they are being right little sods.
Finally, the waves. Niels snuggled into bed, eyelids drooping, as I drew on his back with my finger in a last bid to relax him. I then softly padded out of his room, ready for a cup of coffee in front of the tv. I almost felt like offering up a little plea ("God help me to change the things I can, accept the things I cannot, and not to throttle my son's when they refuse to sleep at night then wake me a 4:30 am by bouncing Action Man off my head....)
5 minutes...so far so good.
10 minutes...bathroom door bangs upstairs - hopefully that's just Carl.
15 minutes...I'm trying to ignore the noises but it's getting hard.
16 minutes...footsteps on the stairs and I huffily intercept Niels. "Sorry Mum but I needed to go to the toilet and Carl was already sitting on it..."
Shit.Shit.Shit. Go upstairs to discover that not only is the bathroom floor covered with pee, the mats are soaked, the rubbish bin splattered, both boys pj's were wet, and Carl...what are those two large wet stripes across the front of his shirt????? OH.MY.GOD.
So then I went through the whole palavar of stripping them both off, pushing them into the shower to wash pee off legs/arms/feet/hair/chests, chucking the bathmats and clothes (and one of our good fluffy bath towels which Carl had used in a fruitless attempt to mop up the pee) into the washing machine. Grumpily shove the giggling boys in the direction of their beds before getting the gear to clean the floor/walls/toilet/rubbish bin etc. With a final snarl warning them to stay in their beds I re-started Niels hippy wave track, tidied away the cleaning stuff and stomped back downstairs. I sat down and was glumming staring at the congealed milk on top of my now cold coffee, wondering why these things always happen after a really long day at work when I heard footsteps on the stairs again. The door burst open and Niels marched in and announced:
"And your stupid sleep drink doesn't work anyway!" before retreating back upstairs.