It’s hard to think of anything other than hurling yourself from a tall bridge, clutching a cinder block when you are enduring the hurricane that is a 3yr old’s tantrum which has been raging for over an hour at 9pm. When the entire house is on edge and everything is so tense that the sound of a fly hitting the window makes you jump from your seat and run screaming down the street.
But a few days later, looking back on it I appreciate my daughter’s feist, determination and clever wit. Should she choose to use those traits for good and not evil, some day she could be very successful.
However, what she is NOT going to be successful at (no time soon anyways) is winning a battle against her mother. Fact is, she gets that feist, determination and clever wit from me. And I’ve been using mine for both good and evil for many, many more years than she’s been on this earth. Which is why I have won the first round in the bedtime battle.
After hours and hours of tears and screaming last week, Ruby got out of bed Sunday morning and told me she was going to have a nap that day. In her bed. Alone. Without crying. And she did just that.
There was no gradual sense of things improving throughout the week. In fact, I would say it was deteriorating somewhat every night. Until Sunday when she decided she wanted to do things on her own terms so she would do them on my terms and pretend they were her terms.
Bedtime that night she was eager to go to bed without being a jerk. And we’ve been managing every night since. I’m not saying she’s skipping down the hall happily to her bed each night, not at all. She still argues with me a bit. Tries to exercise her tiny muscle. Sometimes I have to actually pick her squirming body up and carry her to her bed while she protests. Sometimes I have to sit on the end of her bed with my back to her to block her from leaving her bed (the rest of the bed is contained by a bed rail). But eventually she permisses me to leave her room – so long as I am “counting”. Sometimes after several minutes of quiet in her room when I think she’s asleep she will suddenly yell, “Mama!! Are you counting??!!” The deal is that I check on her at 5, 10, 15, 20 minute intervals and that is our “counting” thing. For whatever reason it works and I rarely actually have to go in at the 10 minute mark.
I consider this a success.
Which means it’s time to start looking in Lincoln’s direction.
Which means it’s time to start looking in Steve’s direction.
When I suggested the other night that we try letting Lincoln cry a bit to see if he would fall asleep on his own, Steve cried out, “BUT YOU SAID WE’D ONLY DO ONE KID AT A TIME!!!! YOU SAID!!!”
I understand him being upset. I do. The time Steve gets to spend with Lincoln at the end of his day is precious. The two of them lay in there together, bonding, cuddling, until Lincoln passes out in the first 3 minutes and Steve lays there in the cool, calm, quiet sanctuary of Lincoln’s room while he reads sports tweets on his Blackberry until he, himself nods off peacefully to the sound of a gentle rainfall played out on Lincoln's sound therapy machine. I know he would rather be helping me make lunches, fold laundry, load the dishwasher, but this time he has with Lincoln is just too special…
I know I promised to only deal with one kid at a time but I’m thinking I might have to do some overlapping here in order to be as efficient as possible.
I'm just not sure who is going to be harder to sleep train, Steve or Lincoln.