You poor thing, 4 HRS is soooo long to tolerate a screaming fighting 4yr old! Especially if you have a younger bub to take care of. We have a similar set up with a 3.5yr old and a 18mnth old. The eldest has lately been doing much the same, resisting & fighting when it's time to go to bed and even waking during the night and trying to climb into our bed (personally I don't mind that part but hubby isn't keen as he has to get up early for work). Anyway one thing we found is trying too hard to appease her only made her worse. About the only thing that works is the threat of losing one of her favourite items, like barbie doll, fave soft toy or her play tent etc, anyway she'd do just about anything under the threat of never seeing them again. So rather than have the back & forth screaming, arguing & reasoning (which doesn't work at their age) we tell her when it's time for bed and help her get ready etc, then at bedtime she's not allowed out of her room. We give her the freedom to play in there if she wants and we'll spend a short time reading a story and then it's time. But the minute she sets foot out of that door she knows she will lose one of her favourite possessions and luckily she's only tested the waters on one or two occasions. At 4yrs old he's old enough to understand basic rules and should be able to follow simple instructions, another thing is to have a "treat" of some sort (yes, bribery) that he can look forward to if he's a good boy and stays in his room to sleep. Hopefully when he's tired he will climb into his bed and sleep (it works for our eldest). First thing in the morning, follow through with the promise if he's done as required, it might just be a favourite activity, just for him as a reward.
I'd be very interested to know how you go and whether any of this has been useful (or if it's just that we've been super lucky in our endeavours!)
The last thing you need is to sell yourself short as a mum, if it is getting you down it might pay to do yourself a favour and see your GP. I only suggest this because after having our second, EVERYTHING was getting on top of me and I was completely overwhelmed. Turned out I had PND, which was actually a relief believe it or not! It meant there was a valid reason I was feeling cr*ppy and not because I wasn't a good enough mother. If it's any consolation, now we're on top of the world!
I've rambled on for long enough. Again, good luck and I really would like to know how you go.
Dizie, 2 girls, 2002 & 2003