After relating our bedtime woes to a friend who'd had a similar experience (See the Magic Doorway) she said she would pray for us. Her son eventually got through it and she survived.
It gave me hope.
Someday they would go to bed and just go to sleep. They might be in high school, but it would happen.
The day has arrived. They carry their pillows and their puppies and their puppies' mothers and their babies and their babies' blankets into bed and just go to sleep. If they don't sleep, they generally stay in their bed and play quietly. No jumping on the beds. No giggling or screeching. No climbing on the Little One's bed. It's amazing.
They even continued after the Little One switched to sleeping in the crib in their room. There were a couple nights of the girls giggling, but in general they settle right down to sleep.
It hasn't been long enough for the gun-shyness to have worn off for me yet. I'm still nervous about bedtime. I anticipate it and dread it at the same time. I'm ready for the quiet, yet I'm still expecting them to be wildly crazy for another forty-five minutes after bedtime.
Maybe I'll feel confident enough that they won't be horrible for a sitter to put them to bed soon. Wouldn't that be a treat?