Wednesday, December 8, 2010

family: ... go to sleep little babe...

Last night was a watershed night for us. And it had nothing to do with the fact that President Obama had earlier in the week caved into the Republican demands for extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich (and the middle class). No, it was more important than that. It was...

The first night L slept in her "big girl bed."

Another way to phrase this is, this was the first night in which L was not caged/restrained. Imagine getting used to sleeping with a pet... an animal that goes (relatively) peacefully into its cage every night but really wants to come join you in bed. And then imagine deciding for some reason to let it sleep without that cage. And imagine how much it's going to want to climb into bed with you. It was kind of like that.

Except L isn't really an animal, much, so she probably doesn't have to worry about being picked up by the Humane Society.

In the last week, M has somehow managed to find and buy a used bed in good shape on Craigslist. She also managed to find a decent mattress, and she and L picked out sheets and a comforter. The idea being that we get L involved and then she's invested in actually *using* the bed. That's the idea.

Conveniently, M had class last night, which meant that I was in charge of actually getting L to stay in her bed. (Also convenient, M is out of town this weekend, so just about the time L is over the initial excitement about having a big girl bed, I'll be cowering alone in my room, waiting for the sky to fall down, or at least for L to come wandering into the room.)

Both K and L were excited about the bed, and I managed to get them into their respective beds after K crawled in with L while I took off a comforter on K's bed. Then it was time for bed. I tucked them both in, started singing the standard bedtime tunes (Baa Baa Black Sheep, and Jingle Bells) when L insists she needs to go to the bathroom.

Ok, fair enough. I walk her in, help her out of her diaper, and she pees. I'll give her that. She did have to pee. We go back out, tuck her in, I start singing again, and L needs to go to the bathroom again. I tell her no, she doesn't, but she insists. We repeat the previous routine, without the peeing, and I point out that she didn't need to go. She says "But I needed too, Daddy!" like stating something that is a bald-faced lie and contradicts the facts is normal. (Come to think of it, what with Fox News and the general state of our politics, I guess it *is* normal. Sadly, this is the world our girls are growing up in....)

Back into bed. To her credit, K has remained in her bed, but is enjoying the circus. L starts singing "daily dog walk!" while kicking off her new sheets/comforter. Uh, you picked those out, remember? You're supposed to be invested in using them! Her sister provides a gratifying laugh track.

I finally manage to get through the songs, kiss K goodnight, try to kiss L goodnight, and leave. She calls out that she needs to go to the bathroom. I say she doesn't and go downstairs.

There are 4 minutes of blissful silence. Then:

L (shouting): Daddy!
me (softly): Ha!As if!!
L (shouting more loudly): Daddy!!
me (leaving the dishes in the sink and walking to the bottom of the stairs): L, do you want me to come up? Because if I do, I'm going to move you to your crib.
L: But Daddy! I need to go to the bathroom!!
me: No you don't.
L: But I do!
me: Good night L.
L (new tactic): Daddy!
me: What?
L: I need more water!
me: Seriously?
L: I do, Daddy. I do!
me (starting up the stairs): grumblegrumblegrumble....
K (still in her own bed): She needs water and can't reach the sink.
me: I know.

I take her cup into the bathroom and fill it and return it to her. She sucks water down, drinking more than she ever would if she wasn't stalling. Finally she's finished and we park the cup on the bookshelf.

me: Good night L. You need to lie down and go to sleep. You're keeping your sister up and you both need a good night's sleep.

I go back downstairs and start reading email, figuring it's quieter than washing dishes. Things remain quiet and I move to the sink again, and at some point realize that L is sobbing upstairs. I go back upstairs and she's lying on her bed, crying loudly, tears soaking into those new IKEA sheets. (Disclaimer - the girl can turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat.)

me (grateful that K is solidly asleep now): What's up L?
L: I'm scared.
me: Scared? Why are you scared? There's nothing to be scared about.
L: I want to go downstairs. To go to the bathroom downstairs.
me: You don't need to go to the bathroom L.
L: But I do, I do Daddy! I want to go downstairs.
me: No L. You need to go to sleep in your big girl bed.
L (headfake) : I want to go down to the couch.
me: Uh...
L: Please Daddy? I'm scared.

In the end, I caved (we call me the "cave man" in private, keep it under your hat) and carried her downstairs with the clear understanding that if she got up off the couch she would be going back upstairs and into her crib. And she fell asleep there while I washed dishes, and M carried her up to her big girl bed when she got back from class, and we all slept relatively peacefully, all night long, in our respective beds. And it was good.

Looking forward to flying solo this weekend? You betcha!

Co-conspirators, ready for bed
(an evening in November)

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