Time to Sleep
I was walking through a series of hallways. It was dark, and crowded with people walking in the opposite direction. I walked by my father who was holding AJ - who had braces! I said to Dad, "Why wasn't I told he was getting braces? I should have been there!" Matthew McConaughey sidled next to me and whispered out of the corner of his mouth, "Hey, pretty lady. This, too, shall passsss..." I stumbled into a condo in Colorado that was having an open house, dropping my college backpack and spilling all of its contents onto the wide planked floor. Baby clothes and diapers. I desperately tried to gather them together and shove them back into the bag, but there were just too many. A woman with a stroller shouted, "Excuse me!" and proceeded to roll right over my precious things. It was then that I heard Lila crying and I wondered why she would be at the open house. Who was watching her? Why were we in Colorado? I ran down a hallway that was wallpapered with tiny green faeries and found Lila sitting alone in a pink room. She reached up to me...And I woke up. It was exactly 4am. I told Ang I thought I heard Lila crying and we listened and I could tell she was awake upstairs. Ang said, "How on earth can you hear her? I can't hear a thing!" I mumbled something about incorporating it into my dream while taking the stairs two at a time and then opening her door. In her dark little room, in her too-small-for-her crib, she grabbed her favorite blanket, stood, and reached up to me.
We don't make a practice of sleeping with our kids. On the odd occasion that we do let them sleep in our bed (when they're sick or they're upset for whatever reason), it is equal parts breathtakingly beautiful and tremendously annoying. Lila and AJ are big-time huggers and, more often than not, if it's 3am, I am their intended victim. One at a time ain't bad, but when both are in bed with us, it's tricky. It's tricky to have two large monkey skulls vying for the spot right next to my left temple without at least two of us getting bonked. It's tricky to maneuver two sets of arms that are constantly wending their way around my torso without surrendering and considering making breakfast at 4.27am. It's tricky finding ways to relax with four heels digging into my knees, pelvis, ribcage, and other assorted body parts. But, damn it's beautiful to look over at Lila like I did this morning and see her smiling and to hear her giggling in her sleep. And the beauty of AJ quietly whispering "I love you so much, Mommy" while he rests his head on my chest in the quietest part of night never escapes me...
But 99% of the time, they're upstairs in their cribs, snoring away. Well, that is, until a week ago. Apparently, AJ has decided that he despises his room, he's too good for his crib, and his minions will come around eventually and stop ignoring his pleas of "Let me OUTTA HERE!" and "I wanna go downstairs!" and let him relax in our bed while watching tv. Yeah, not gonna happen. On Monday night, he woke up at 12am and didn't go back to sleep. At all. I am being 100% honest when I say that he screamed/whined/cried "Let me outta here!" close to a thousand times. Hmm, let's check that math... I figure, 12am-7am is seven hours, which would make it 142 times an hour, sooo... 2.4 times a minute. Yep. He said it 1,000 times at the very least. And I would know, because I was up there to hear it. Good times.
We're resolute in not giving in. We're reading all of the advice we see online and hear from friends and family and we're doing the average, I guess you'd say. I'm not too worried. I mean, no doubt it's incredibly annoying and I'd definitely rather be dreaming about Matt McC, my personal dream guru, than monkey wrangling at the ass crack of dawn. But I have faith in the power of "no downstairs until it's light out" (even if it's with a side of, "Oh. My. God. Mommy's going to lose her mind.").
What's great about all of this is that, in researching how one is to deal with a (very stubborn) toddler who simply refuses to go to bed, I've found that even the experts are torn. There's a chart that shows the names of various child psychology experts and the corresponding advice they have for this very issue. And everyone's advice was different! While it would be understandably frustrating for some to come across such varying methods for teaching an insane short person the benefits of going to bed pronto, I saw it as an epiphany: Wow, none of us truly know what's best! Yippeeeee!! In my, perhaps, warped way of looking at things, I figure that, if the experts can't agree, how in hell are parents supposed to? So why should I allow myself such crazy feelings of guilt the way I do when I'm lost on what is, exactly, the "right" thing to do... *sigh of relief* Odd logic, but, welp. Works for me!
Lila and AJ's big girl/big boy beds were just delivered from Pottery Barn. We're going to set them up while they're at school on their birthday in a few weeks and the excitement for this big development has been mounting since, well... since we began using it as a potty training bargaining chip back in May. Although I'm pretty sure Lila is expecting a fuschia Cinderella pumpkin carriage bed with jumping dolphins and Tinkerbell Christmas lights, and I don't doubt AJ envisions Buzz Lightyear's very own spaceship as his bed, I'm pretty sure they'll be happy with their toned down versions of their dream beds - those of the flowered patchwork and madras variety. One can certainly wish upon a star... (One can also stay up at night to infinity and beyond, so... Perhaps I should work on one tiny miracle at a time.)
Regardless whether or not they fall in love with their beds... and ignoring the fact that AJ's sleep routine could be out of control for weeks to come... and despite my pretty regular bouts with stressful mom dreams (which are apparently normal, according to the "experts")... I am lucky, and I get it. So incredibly lucky. I already relish those times in the not-too-distant future when I can fly upstairs in the middle of the night to calm a monkey, or two. And maybe, just maybe, I'll alternate nights, here and there, sleeping with them in their big new beds. And if the "experts" knew, they'd probably shudder. But that's OK, because we'll be fast asleep - dreaming about Tinkerbell and Buzz... and Matthew McConoughey.
Dreams are answers to questions we haven't yet figured out how to ask. ~ X-Files
h a v e a d r e a m y w e e k e n d . . .