The scene: 15 minutes before bed time. I’m having visions of getting Wyatt to bed, finishing my now cold dinner, then maybe cleaning up the house a bit and settling into watching a non-animated TV show and having adult conversation with my husband. Wyatt starts running around the house like I just gave him a Red Bull, a bag of sugar and some speed. Maniacal laughter, jumping on my husbands’s back demanding horse rides, yelping like a peacock. (Wyatt really has their call down impressively well.) If you are lying down, you’d better watch your bits. Anyone looking like they’re resting or having a peaceful moment is an open invite for him to take a running, open armed flying squirrel like leap onto your unassuming body.
We have had some lonnng nights the past few weeks. Wyatt has been seriously fighting naps and bedtime lately. Not sure why. For the most part he is a good sleeper. The first 6 months he didn’t sleep, but once he got past that he slept pretty well. The last couple of nights he has been taking a really long time to get him to sleep. He wants to rock forever and ever and cries like he’s the loneliest kid in all the land when we put him down. We’ve tried letting him cry but it just ramps him up. I don’t mind rocking him for a bit, but it’s gotten quite uncomfortable. He’s 35 pounds now and just doesn’t quite curl into my lap like he used to. It’s clear he’s not comfortable either. He’s all knees and elbows and can’t find a good comfortable spot. Meanwhile I keep whispering into his ear about how cozy his bed looks, how nice and soft. He apparently doesn’t buy it. My mind goes from, “Ugh, I’m missing Game of Thrones, this sucks!” to “Oh my god he is never going to sleep again! I’m never going to sleep again!” I get panicky, my legs get itchy and crampy, and I start to get a little crazed. I brought him to my bed with the hope that he would cuddle into me and finally sleep. Hahahaha. He slept with us the last half of the night when he was small and still breastfeeding, but since then he always thinks being in bed with us is a signal that it’s time to party all night long. I get him into bed, he smells of pee and hope. Flops his head on my pillow, we are nose to nose. He looks into my eyes and then sneezes directly into my face. A pillow? Shit when did he start wanting a pillow? Do they make toddler pillows? Shouldn’t they? Surely their necks need less loft. Is that why he isn’t sleeping? Ugh I’m failing as a mother!
He then proceeds to flip and flop like a fish out of water for the next hour. I try to keep my eyes closed and stay quiet, to model what he should be doing. Every parent knows that if you make eye contact with a toddler that you are trying to get to sleep, they will never sleep again. (The ancient saying goes, “Look at a tiny human’s eyes at dusk, and they will see the light of Netflix waiting to be watched, mistake it for daylight, and never sleep again.” I’m lying. There is no ancient saying but there should be. I open my eyes a teeny tiny crack to see if he is any closer to sleep only to find him laying there nice and still and staring straight into my eyes, a big smile on his face. I will myself not to crack but I can’t help it, a smile escapes my lips and he starts laughing and laughing. Probably laughing with the inside knowledge that I have just lost an important bet.
Update: It’s been several weeks of this not sleeping pattern, so we decided to try the big boy bed. What the hell? He’s already not sleeping well. I had visions of being able to lie in his toddler bed with him instead of rocking him endlessly. Wrong. He didn’t sleep any worse, but it wasn’t quite the sleep serum I’d hoped. “This is so great Buddy, what a big boy! You can lay down in your cozy bed and Scout can keep you company!” Wyatt didn’t buy it. Also being able to lay down with him in the toddler bed is a joke. He took up the entire space with his limbs and quickly pushed me out before demanding to be rocked. Still an important step toward progress though. And now I don’t have to worry about catching his leg on the side of the crib and accidently dumping the finally sleeping toddler into his crib causing him to understandably freak out. He did miraculously stay in his room all night. I heard him yelling in the morning and met him at his bedroom door, me in a t-shirt and underwear and he in his pee soaked diaper and Thomas the Train jammies. He was saying something over and over that took me a minute to understand. He was saying “Mommy shower? Mommy underpants?” Thanks kid, you don’t look so fresh either. Really lifts your spirits first thing in the morning.