Real Life: We don't make beds. Now you know. Some day we will. Today is not that day.
Julia is usually in bed before lunch. Shortly after lunch, I announce, "We will be getting ready for bed in 5...4...3..2..1!" Ana and Amanda race up the stairs squealing. Tali fell for it the first couple of days. Now she runs the other direction saying, "I don't want to go to bed." It's okay. I can handle corralling one kid up the stairs. At least the other two are already [fighting] in the bathroom. I need to say, "We will get ready to line up at the bottom of the stairs..." to prevent the fights from the girls who get out of sight.
I close all the doors so no one escapes and each girl takes a turn (or two) going potty. Amanda brushes her teeth with toothpaste and I brush each girl's teeth with a dry brush. Then I give them their brushes and tell them to hold them at their belly and stand with their butts pressed against each wall. Then I load my brush with paste and count down again. We all brush together until I'm done then I count down again to take away the brushes.
Everybody has drinks of water and then we go to my room to put on naptime diapers for the middle girls. I often send Amanda out hunting for Tali's bunny and Ana's blanket. We say prayers during this time. If their mouths and brains are engaged their bodies are less likely to be. We've also started putting on hair silkies this week and promising a vitamin treat if they keep them on. We have about four different chewable supplements. I use them as motivation throughout the day.
Then I have them line up at the door and wait. I remind them to tip-toe quietly into the bedroom since Julia's sleeping. They do the best they can. Ana sleeps in the white toddler bed. Tali sleeps in the wood toddler bed and Amanda lays down against the wall on the double bed. I lay down with my head closest to Tali's bed. Amanda used to sleep in the single bed but she's been needing a little more mom-time and she's better about lying still. Julia is in the closet in their room which is off to the right in the picture.
I cover the girls up, bless them, and then lay down. I'm close to Tali so I can remind her to lay still and go to bed. She's pretty good at naptime. The middle girls fall asleep super fast during naptime. Less than 10 minutes. If Julia is awake, I lay on the bed and nurse her before laying her down in bed. She goes to sleep quietly because she sucks her thumb.
Once they fall asleep, Amanda and I get up. If I fall asleep, either Amanda or Julia will wake me up. The girls sleep for an hour or two. It varies.
Bedtime is almost the same. Except sometimes, Mike will be laying on the double bed with Julia while I get the rest of them ready. At bedtime, I should, and have, flossed and brushed the girls' teeth while sitting on the floor of our room before putting on their diapers. The girls usually stay dry during nap time. Then we would go into the bathroom for our group brushing and drinks.
The girls take significantly longer to fall asleep at bedtime and there's usually at least one more trip to the potty. Tali is the most trouble at bedtime. On occasion she has slithered off her bed and sneaked out the door before I have noticed. She often makes one more attempt, "I have to go potty/drink/wrap me up/ whine, whine, whimper..." and then she falls asleep. If Mike puts the girls to bed, so I can get something done, they won't go to sleep before I get up there and they will ask to go potty, the minute I get into the room.
I'm not super thrilled about our bedtime routine. I would like to just put them to bed and be done. I have accepted that this is what needs to be done at this point in our lives. What significantly more bothersome is that I am woken up 3-5 times a night by somebody needing something. Some nights it's more. Despite all the midnight potty trips, the diapers don't stay dry over night. If I wasn't so sleep deprived perhaps I could think of a strategy to get them to sleep better.