Tuesday, September 22, 2009

cry, baby, cry...

For the 2nd night in a row, and for the 2nd week in a row, L has refused to go to bed quietly. She was our "problem sleeper" from the start, needing to be in our bed until the middle of this summer (at 19 months). But then she started laying down nicely and going to sleep.

Now she stands and calls out "Daddydaddydaddydaddydaddy...." and drops her pacifiers and starts to cry and if I go up she lifts her arms and says "Upupupupupupup" and I tell her she needs to lie down and go to sleep now and she says "No!"

Meanwhile, over in her big-girl bed, K sits up and says in a loud whisper, "L keeping me awake!"

I say "I know" and go back to trying to convince L that it's time to lie quietly.

L: "Uh uh."
me: "Yes."
K (across the dark room, whispering): Daddy, L keeping K awake."
me: "K, lie down please."

After one round of this, leaving the girls in the beds and going downstairs, then needing to go back up, I tell L, "I'm going to let you cry. It's going to be hard on you and hard on me and hard on K."

L: "Okay."
me: "So lie down now."
L: "No."

I leave them again, telling K that she can come down to the living room couch if she wants. And I sit listening to L cry for 10 minutes. To K's credit, she toughed it out upstairs in the same room with L. I climb back upstairs.

K (whispering): "Daddy..."
me (loud "whisper"): "I know."
L: "Daddydaddydaddydaddy. Upupupupupup....."

I stand over her crib, unsure of what to do now. Last night I ended up picking her up and holding her while I sat in a chair, singing a couple of songs before laying her down successfully. But if I do this again, is it a cop-out? Am I establishing a bad pattern, one we won't be able to back out of?

K (loud whisper): "Daddy, hold L in that liddy (little) chair for liddy while."
me (thinking): what the hell.

I pick L up and sit with her and sing "Sweet Baby James" (substituting her name for "baby james"), then "Close Your Eyes." It's a James Taylor kinda night, and I've already used up "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and "Jingle Bells" during the normal bedtime routine. She snuggles in hard and quiet, and when I stand up to lay her down she lets me tuck her in. K jumps up off her bed and comes to reach through the crib slats and run her hand down L's head in a gesture that catches me off-guard with it's sweetness and caring. I help K up into her bed and tuck her in and kiss her good night with a "thank you for helping."

And we're done. For one more night.

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