Child 4 struggles with changes to his routine, he likes to know that something's just stay them same. So when ever we have gone away he is an absolute nightmare at bedtimes. The first time I took the children away was for my nephews first holy communion in London. We stayed in a Travel Lodge and after a pizza dinner returned back to retire to our beds. Child 4 took a couple of hours to settle and then woke numerous times during the night, just to check, I think that we were still there. Then when we were in Devon last week he was just as bad at the bed and breakfast. The hardest part is the fact that we have family rooms so of course everyone has to stay awake listening to the yelling and crying or have their baby brother climbing from his travel cot and jumping on their beds like a little noisy "goblin"
He has never really liked going to bed and I have created my own version of the controlled crying that many parents use. As child 4 is adopted I avoid controlled crying, naughty steps and such like. The advice is to never make an adopted child feel any form of rejection, after all they have been rejected enough. However, all children need to learn that bedtime is bedtime and that some behaviours are unacceptable. I use the buggy as our version of the naughty step, sometimes child 4 has to be contained, and the buggy means that he can be contained but also stay with me. Bedtime is a little harder, I won't leave him to cry but once he is in bed I never get him out, I go in when he calls or cries, I cuddle him and talk quietly or read him a story but once he is in bed, he's in bed.
(It does make me laugh, you read all this stuff that says little ones stop a behaviour with two to three weeks if you are consistent, we are eleven months in and bedtime is still tough!!! Despite being consistent.)
Child 4 has never known real stability, he has always been moved on from one family environment to another and this is what I think causes him to behave this way, after all he can't tell us if he is scared that he is being sent some where else and he doesn't understand that he is now ours - forever. This unfortunately does not mean that it's is easier to deal with his behaviour, bedtimes for me are always the hardest part of parenting because by this time I am tired and frazzled.
I have been a little apprehensive about our Spain trip. We along with two other families have rented a beautiful old olive mill out in Spain, it's situated in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by dusty hills covered in lines of dark green olive trees. The mill is made up of 4 apartments, a huge shared kitchen, a barbecue courtyard, a dining area, playroom and of course a pool. The teenage contingent have taken over the pad at the far side of our complex, with the rest of us around the pool. Obviously I have been concerned, firstly because we are the only ones with a very little one, everyone else's children are 14 and over, little ones are usually very noisy!! Secondly because of his not going to bed. On Friday, I was working before we headed off to the airport and child 4 spent the afternoon checking with his daddy that he was coming too. He was really worried that he would be left behind, no doubt because he was always sent to respite foster care when his foster families went on holiday. I understand the need for foster families to have some quality time with their own children but for the foster child that is a tough environment to grow in.
In reality it has so far been fantastic, we have thrown away the routine, letting child 4 sleep when he needs too. So he has napped late in the afternoon and bedtime has been later, he still doesn't want to go to bed but his reactions are not so excessive, with there being so many people around he has permanent entertainment , there is always someone to play with him, hold him or feed him. We have had no major tantrums, not much throwing and very little hitting. Perhaps this holiday will help him believe that he is ours forever.