4.23.2007

Wrapped around her finger


Please tell me this is a phase. Lie to me if you have to, but I need to hear that I won’t be sleeping on the floor of The Girl’s bedroom for much longer than a week or two. We had a nice stretch in there of being able to simply plop The Girl in her crib, turn on her beloved Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium, say I love you, say goodnight, and walk away (this after reading books to her and The Boy). I’d love to blame the vacation for this newest turn of events, but truth be told it did start before then. I like to blame myself so I’m sure it was a direct result of my most recent business trip. Perhaps she missed me, perhaps she is getting the last of her teeth, the dreaded 2 year molars, or perhaps she is just testing us to see how much she can torture us. Who knows?

DH copes by bringing his laptop with him, and just working, surfing the internet, or playing solitaire while he waits for her to fall asleep. Providing reassurance along the way that he is still in the room by answering her continued questions of “where you going Daddy?” with “I’m here, go to sleep baby,” until she finally gives up. I take the less practical and more self defeating approach of just lying on the floor and then trying to inch my way out of the room so she doesn’t notice I’ve left. Her floor is creaky though, so inevitably I am caught and have to say “shhhh” a few times before The Girl trusts that I’m not trying to sneak away. I lay there thinking that surely this will be the last medley of Aquarium tunes, and that at the end of this set, she will be fast asleep so I can make my way out of the room. Inevitably the tunes end, she reaches up and presses the button yet again so we can hear that fabulous water bubbling noise combined with the light show and the melodies that will be forever ingrained in my head. The entire time I lie there calculating if it is better to sneak out before the aquarium shuts off or after, which risks a creak in the floor waking her up. It is painful. Back when this was the norm, I did bring my laptop into the room because it was far better than the lying on the floor waiting game, but I am digging in my heels now. Surely, this will be a short-lived phase.

Oh, I know many of you are thinking that we are horrible parents, who haven’t established rigid stable routines for our kids to follow, and perhaps you are right. I mean if your kids go to sleep easily I’ll be the first to admit my jealousy. Of course, The Boy does go to sleep easily, and always has. I remember patting ourselves on the back because we did everything right with him, putting him in his crib while he was still awake from very early on. Yes, there were paci replacement trips at night, but mostly he was a good sleeper from day one. Yes, while on vacation or otherwise away from his normal routines things get messed up for him in the sleep department, but he bounces back quickly. We do have a routine, that is very stable, and we aren’t hyping the kids up right before bed. The Girl just likes to know that she isn’t alone, and until she gets back to the place where she knows when we walk out of her room we will still come back when she needs us, she isn’t going to be there.

Yes, I realize we are caving into temper tantrums. We tried to let her CIO (cry it out) last week, and after an hour of listening to her scream I caved. I got into her room, and could smell that the poor thing had pooped. I changed her, put her back in her crib after some cuddles, patted her back, and she was asleep in minutes. Others will say that we just needed to wait longer (though obviously we had to change that diaper), just suck it up for the 3 hours it takes. I guess we’ve decided that the lying in her room routine is preferable to listing to her scream though. My little girl knows what she wants, when she wants it, and from whom it should be provided. Her parents know that sometimes it is just too painful to do what is right. Why does this have to be so hard?

2 comments:

PDX Mama said...

I would be the last person in the world to say you guys are horrible parents! I get the sense you think everyone would "tsk tsk" what you're doing, while I just sit here and nod along.

I realize what I'm about to say is probably just a thinly veiled attempt to justify why we aren't more structured/strict with bedtime routines, but I like to think those little kids are little unique human beings who develop their own wants/needs regardless of what we do or don't do as parents. E is our good sleeper and actually can go to sleep by herself. G? STILL HIGH MAINTENANCE (at night, not naptime)!

But I know, it's hard. Hope she gets out of the phase soon.

DinaBean said...

Been there, done that, have the tears to prove it. My best hope was to convince myself that it would pass. And it did. Hang in there.