So today I started talking up the change in the bedtime routine with the boys. I moved the chair in their bedroom to just outside of their bedroom door. We talked about it several times during the evening. I moved their nightlight into their bedroom so their bedroom is a bit lighter than it was. (The nightlight was in the small adjoining sink room of their jack-n-jill bathroom.)
After we went through our night time routine and they were in their beds, I told them we now have new rules. I told them they have to stay in their beds but they can talk to each other and sing and look at books until they fall asleep. They just can't get out of their beds. When I sat in the room with them, I would tell them they needed to be quiet soon after we had shut off the lights and settled down. So being able to talk to each other and sing and laugh and stuff is a treat for them. This might be just the incentive they need.
I told them I would be right outside their door in the chair, which is where I am now. They are still awake. Nick is singing God Is So Good right now. At one point they were both singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together. It was absolutely precious. They have laughed and talked and generally it has been a very positive thing. Much to my surprise, neither of them have been upset or scared or sad or even had any objections to this change in our routine.
At first, they were yelling at me "mommy!", to see if I would come in when they needed something, as I had told them I would. And then Nick kept yelling "Mommy, what doing?". I had to explain that they were only to call me if it was an emergency, which I said was someone bleeding or throwing up:). I had to remind Nick to talk to his brother instead of yelling at me, which he started doing.
Now Ben is quiet and Nick is singing "...that your joy may be full" over and over". I guess he forgot the rest of that song. That kid loves to sing and I love to hear him sing. It always brings a smile to my face and frequently a laugh to my lips. We will be walking through a store and he will be singing at the top of his lungs "God is so good" and people will look at us and smile. He gets kind of loud sometimes and I have to remind him to sing a little softer. He can also hit some pretty high notes, although not always right on key, and when this is combined with the loudness, it can get a bit funny at times. I don't let him see me laughing though. They are now at that point where if you laugh at something they do, they want to repeat it to get another laugh so I have to be careful what I laugh at sometimes.
Well, the singer has stopped singing and all is quiet so I think our first night is a success. Now I have to set my expectations realistically and remember it probably won't go this smoothly every night. I hope we can get this new routine down quickly, to the point where we won't need to be sitting up here any more soon.