After my toddler decided to treat the side of his crib like a rock climbing wall -- that drops straight down the other side -- we immediately moved him to a toddler bed. We assembled M's old bed, which uses the same crib mattress, and I reluctantly said my goodbyes to Mr. Sandman.
Since then, the boy has gotten up on average once a night (twice if I'm super, duper lucky). I walk him back to bed, he cries. I help him back in, he cries. I kiss him goodnight, he cries. Repeat 54 times. Yes, I said 54. The worst night (second night) I did it for two hours straight -- from 3 a.m. - 5 a.m. Walk, cry, kiss, bed, up. Walk, cry, kiss, bed, up. Walk, cry, kiss, bed, up.
I was in a zone, though. Determined, yet gentle. Stern, yet kind. Unbending, yet loving. You know it was like competing in a triathlon (I promise to stop harping on the Iron Girl thing once it's over. Promise. Only another 10 days of obsessing left). I had my eyes on the prize (the prize being nights of uninterrupted sleep for both of us), I knew what I had to do to get there, and nothing and no one was going to stop me. Not his whining, not the easy-way-out bottle beckoning from the fridge, not my legs already sore from a 17-mile bike ride (again, only another 10 days).
He finally caved, just as I could hear birds outside my window, and let his body do what it's supposed to do at that time of day: sleep.
It happens from time to time...I parent without emotion. When I say "parent without emotion," I mean that in the best way possible. I don't mean that I don't care about my kids or I don't feel for them. It's that I'm not getting completely sucked into the wave of chaos that is toddler and/or preschooler drama. Because you know, when you get sucked in, that's when they take you down. And all you're left with is the unshakeable feeling that you just got played...by someone who still shits his pants.
So, I tell myself, "Go 'head girl! You're the head bitch in charge! You know what's best! Stick to it and don't let ol' Doody Drawers over there tell you what's what!"
It usually happens when I'm so tired that I've hit the wall. I've taken all I can take and I can't take it any more. So, I parent without emotion. I say, "This is what is going to happen and this is how we're going to make it happen." In this particular new-bed situation, I psych myself up before bedtime by looking in the mirror and yelling, "Victory and sleep will be mine!" -- 10 times in a row. Then I brush my teeth. As my head hits the pillow and I drift off to sleep, I know what I have to do.
So, about a week later, he's still getting up. Before you say, "God, maybe I should just drive on over and put this poor girl out of her misery," there is good news. The good news is that the time it takes for him to go back to sleep has shortened. Instead of two hours, we're down to about half-an-hour. Hey, beggars can't be choosers.
And so I remain optimistic (what do they say about girls learning things faster than boys?) and know that if I hang in there, the boy will sleep.
Pajamas on, lights off, fingers crossed...