Last night, J and I had the opportunity to babysit for LO's friend Baby S so that her parents could take a cooking class. I was a little nervous about being in the driver's seat for two baby bedtimes, but by now I should realize that my experience with LO sleeping should not be the metric by which I measure all baby sleep habits.
For example, last night was a very easy bedtime for LO. He started getting sleepy and rubbing his eyes about 45 minutes after Baby S arrived at our house. (Squabbling over who gets the red duplo piece can really wear a young man out). So I went upstairs with him at about 6:45 and did our usual routine of tooth brushing, singing while nursing, grabbing the child when he rolls over and starts making a beeline for the edge of the bed, removing all traces of any light whatsoever (including the LED display on the alarm clock), singing while nursing again, foiling another escape attempt, trying to determine if the child's eyes are drooping while in a state of darkness that a Morlock would find disconcerting, realizing that his eyes couldn't possibly be drooping since he's headed for the edge of the bed again, singing while nursing a third time, determining that the child is, in fact asleep, then waiting an additional 10 to 20 minutes before moving my limbs out from underneath his (because OF COURSE he fell asleep on our bed sprawled all over me) so that the slightest rustle of bedclothes does not awaken the child.
As I said, it was a remarkably easy night last night. The process usually includes at least one parent switch-off, several more instances of singing while nursing, 7 to 8 additional escape attempts--most of them by LO, and my eventual giving up and letting the child stay up until I go to bed. Last night, I was actually back downstairs after less than an hour of these shenanigans. LO must have been exhausted.
By that point, Baby S was starting to show signs of fatigue and I asked her if she was ready to go Night Night.
"NO!" she said, emphatically.
(Clear rookie mistake on my part.)
Several minutes later, however, Baby S turned to me and said "Night Night?"
"Okey Dokey!" I said heartily, because one clear rule of parenting and babysitting is listening to the child when she volunteers for bedtime.
Baby S and I walked back to her house across the street. She picked out a book for me to read to her (The Warren Commission Report), and we got her ready for bed.
Once pajama-ed and re-diapered, Baby S and I settled down to read and rock and then sing a little bit. After I finished the song, Baby S put her head on my shoulder and asked in a sleepy little voice "Night Night?"
"You're the boss!" I said, not quite as heartily as before, since it was entirely possible I could still wake LO up from this position six houses away.
I placed Baby S in her crib, put a blanket over her, tiptoed into the living room, and waited for the screams of rage. I was still waiting when her parents got home about an hour later.
Entire time spent between S's first indication that she was ready for bed and her placement in her crib: 25 minutes. (This includes, by the way, the toddler's pace walk between the houses, during which time Baby S stopped and pointed at every house on the street and asked either "LO's house?" or "Baby S's house?")
I'm starting to think I cursed myself by naming this blog The SAHMnambulist. LO, if it'll help, I'll rename it The Sleeps Wonderfully Well and Always Eats His Veggies blog.