I’ve reached a new era of parenting; the GO TO SLEEP stage. The struggle is real. When my toddler plays the no-sleep game, I want to scream, “GO TO SLEEP.” Though, he’s a touch too little for momma’s wrath. I’m a softy! Instead, my eyes bug out of my head and I want to chug wine. The tantrum before bed isn’t cute, it’s annoying.
No really Love Bug, go to sleep. Momma’s bedtime is coming too. Party time is over.
Last night, Benjamin-Won’t-Go-To-Bed was up for the count. Pre-bedtime, Ben was pulling the cat’s tail, got a get-out-of-bath-time-card, refusing to put toys away – normal toddler stuff. My patience was already thin, Wildman Toddler needed to go down. No book could settle him for night-night. He was testing me and I knew it. I allowed the test, those chocolate brown eyes welled with tears when I laid Ben in the crib. His cries begging me to pick him up. So I did, we read a few books and played for another ten minutes. Now, bedtime had really passed. Going on thirty minutes. Going to sleep used to be easy. Books, a little rocking and snuggle time, then he went down without a fight.
I tried again, Mount St. Toddler erupted in more tears and squeals. I buckled under pressure, grabbed my toddler and comforted him with books. Curious George was no help, neither were the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are. I tried again with rocking, which turned into kicking and begging for Daddy.
Ben’s fight was strong, he was stubborn like his mom. Determined to win the battle and park his tush on the sofa with Elmo and Cookie Monster, Ben pointed to his bedroom door and said, “Elmo.” Ever so sweetly too. Then crocodile tears came next. I’m a sucker for tears too! We were now WAAYYYY passed his bedtime. Desperation started to sink in.
Again I gave in, and my Toddler Terror turned into butter, cuddling in my arms for a few more minutes of Sesame Street (TV, I know – trying to break it. Hold the judgement).
I think, Maybe he’s not tired. He took a three hour nap (semi-abnormal) at daycare.
His eyes drooped, head bobbling up and down, an action that forces one to stay awake.
Ben was tired, he wasn’t going to fool me again. I shut Elmo off after ten minutes.
GO TO SLEEP. I said in my head as I laid him down and kissed him goodnight.
Toddler Terror came back, with a screaming vengeance for round three. His savior; Elmo. Then, Daddy. Sorry buddy, you are not getting Elmo at 9:30 at night. I heard his little feet thump on the mattress. I was sure his blankies were thrown across the room. When Ben got really angry, off goes his socks, jammie pants, and diaper– a final sendoff to his angry land.
He had no temperature, a fresh diaper, clean linens, a full day of playing. Why can’t you just go to sleep like you always do, lay down in your crib after rocking?
Nope. He screamed louder. I admit, I can only handle the crying for a certain time-frame. I watched the clock intensely as minutes passed slowly. Five more minutes, then I would do a recuse mission.
GO TO SLEEP. I thought, my teeth clenched too as another minute passed. Finally, I heard a flop and a settling cry. Then, nothing. Defeat and sleep, Ben went down and the nighttime war was over.
Until the next night, or the one after that.
Oh yes little one, I see lots of battles in the future over your bedtime. I love you Benjamin, but go to sleep.
**Little One woke up at 6:30 am, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Clothes intact too**