I read it, thinking, this women is not that much different than me. I nurse a toddler, we co-slept (now transitioning to a crib in our room) and have the bigger kids in their own room. Coincidentally, I also typically have a picture of myself, my child, and my mei tai in my avatar. And, like her, sometimes I do have beautiful peaceful bedtimes with my kids.
However, on a regular basis my nights go more like this:
I sit down with a sleeply baby and try to look at a board book. He alternates between trying to tear the pages out of the book and flashing me the milk sign. Although we were only able to get to 'read' the first page, we stop. His milk sign is so cute and quite hard to resist. I figure he must be tired, so I get up to change him into a new diaper and pajamas. He screams and cries the whole time. Every time the diaper tab is almost closed, he sits up. By the time I get him laying down, I have to readjust the diaper and it starts over. This happens at least twice a diaper change. Once we're done I pick him up and bring him to my room, to fight him into jammies that always seem too tight.
Picture perfect, just me, nursing my toddler in a rocking chair. Nip. Nope, not on my finger. He looks and me and giggles. I don't smile and ignore it. Nip. Giggles. This time I say say no. Nip. Teeth sink in and he turns his head (moms, you know what I'm talking about). I stifle my bubbling anger, calmly say no and close up my shirt. My moment of pride that I had kept calm is immediately terminated when in one solid motion, he slaps me in the face, rips off my glasses and throws them to the ground.
I quickly get up and carelessly put him in the crib. It only takes a couple seconds for me to realize I was acting too harshly, so I place the blanket on him with extra care. I stay and sit on the floor next to the crib. Slowly, I get him to lay his head on the pillow and rest. Minutes tick by, but it wont be much longer. He sucking his thumb and his eyes are closing. After his eyes close for about a minute I look at the clock and congratulate myself. Only 5 minutes. Nice. He must sense my thoughts, his eyes pop open and he giggles, looking as though they were never heavy in the first place. I wait another 10 minutes. 30 minutes. After more than 50 minutes, he's finally asleep. I leave the room.
I glance down the hall where my husband is arguing with my big kids, who are laying in bed, about another cup of water. I think to myself, I'll come back in 5 minutes, when they've calmed down. I go down downstairs and think about what do with the few hours I have to myself. I decide I'll tackle some house work, and fold laundry while watching TV. I drag the laundry baskets in, turn on the TV, and get it to the program I want. I sit down, and let the peace sink in. I remember I was supposed to check on my big kids, so I pause the TV and head upstairs. I see my big kids are much calmer now, and I'm looking forward to the few quality minutes I get to spend with them everyday. Then I hear my toddler cry.
I sigh, turn away from the big kids room, and go to rock my toddler to sleep. I never get back to relaxing and the kids are asleep by the time I go check on them.
Maybe tomorrow's bedtime will be better.