My routine for the last 4 1/2 months has been to have the baby awake during The Boy's night time routine. She now reads books with us and brushes teeth with us and hangs out until we say good night to The Boy. Then I take her out in the living room, turn off all the lights, nurse her and rock her in the rocking chair for 10-15 minutes and then put her in bed and she goes to sleep. Both kids are in bed by around 8:30pm. And both kids sleep until at least 6:30am. This has worked really well until lately.
It seems as though The Girl is wanting to go to bed earlier than 8:30pm now. She gets tired and fussy and I am usually bouncing her and rushing through the end of The Boy's routine so that I can get him to bed and therefore put her to bed. Why don't I just put her to bed first, you ask? It isn't that easy.
The Girl will not go to sleep unless it is completely dark in the room and there is no one around except for me. If there are people around, or if something is going on, then she wants to be a part of the action. She isn't horrible and screaming, but she won't go to sleep. And then we pass the point of no return and things get rough and I am desperately nursing a baby for the fourth time at 11:00pm with no milk left in the boobs. I have realized this on the rare occasion that I entertain and people are here later than 8:30. I am not too worried about her at this point because she is only 4 months old and I am not going to be all strict on a bed time routine at this point. She will figure it out. But for right now, this is what she needs to wind down, get relaxed and be able to go to sleep.
Which brings me to the answer to the question about why I don't just put her to bed first. If The Boy is still awake he is running all around us and kissing on her and asking why the lights are off (I have tried this before which is why I know the outcome) and generally making a ruckus. The Girl will NOT go to sleep if her brother is all up in her business. So he has to go to sleep first so that I can get it quiet and focus on her and get her to sleep. (Plus if I'm being honest, I love my end-of-the-day time with my baby girl...she is so sweet and cuddly and...I am digressing).
So that brings me to my dilemma. If The Girl needs to go to sleep before 8:30pm AND The Boy has to be in bed first and his bed time is 8:00pm...how the hell do I make it happen? I either put The Boy to bed WAY early (which really isn't all that fair to him) or I figure out some way to trick him into staying quietly in his room while I go through the process of putting The Girl to sleep and then after that we do his routine. But he won't stay in his room. If he knows she is up and he doesn't HAVE to be in bed then he isn't going to sit quietly in his room. He just isn't. And I can understand that. I can also understand that a 4 month old baby may need to go to sleep for the evening closer to 7:30pm than 8:30pm. But as a single mother, there isn't anyone else in the house that could perhaps read to The Boy while I dealt with The Girl. It is all me and only me. I can't clone myself, so I am at a loss as to how to handle this. Internet, do you have any words of wisdom for me? Any ideas? Assvice? Anything?