A while back I somehow stumbled across the Samuel L. Jackson recording of the book Go the F(insert moon illustration)ck to Sleep and while it's certainly crass, I think we've all been there. I for one have been there nearly every night, actually, these past few months.
My strategy for Ethan's bedtime involves tiring him out and tricking him to sleep, preferably before we're even in his bedroom at home. Because if we make it to the bedtime-story reading point, I'm in for a long night.
I love reading, and I love that Ethan loves reading, but after a full day of preschooler obnoxiousity and shenanigans, I rarely feel energized enough for a dramatic rendition of Yummy YUCKY ("Burgers are yuuummy. Boogers are YUCKY!").
When he selects the nursery rhyme book, I know I'm in trouble. See, this particular book is about 20 pages long, and it has an accompanying CD of a British woman with a quavery voice (maybe post-botched-surgery Julie Andrews?) singing them all. The situation is even worse when he chooses the children's Bible, which is EXTREMELY long, and I can feel God frowning down on me when I try to skim.
To avoid all that, I've taken to going to my parents' for dinner, staying a bit late, then when we get in the car I crank up the heat really high and drive as slowly as possible. I even invented this technique in which I keep the car in a low gear and tap the gas pedal rhythmically to create a boatlike motion to gently lull him to sleep.
That worked for a while—he would fall asleep fairly easily in the warm cocoon of our puttering car, and I could just transfer him to bed. Now, though, he's used to it, and has countered by getting as amped up as possible after dinner. I had to come up with something else, some sneak attack he wasn't ready for.
And then the eureka moment tonight: Christmas lights. I would use the seasonal tradition of driving around to look at Christmas lights to lengthen our drive and give my techniques time to really wear him down. Half an hour later, I was still driving around my parents' neighborhood, searching in vain for an elusive second Snoopy-in-a-Santa-hat inflatable lawn decoration that Ethan insisted he glimpsed and we passed without viewing. Operation Yuletide = fail.
I think this is God using one of his tactics on me. Well played, God. Well played.