"Ain't I a stinker?"
A common thread throughout this blog is how I seem to have gotten a child who embodies all of my best (ahem) qualities. Like his mother, LO seems to be stubborn, incapable of doing anything by halves, and less than patient with a world that does not work on his time frame. (Poor J). It can be very easy to forget that not all children are like this, until I spend some time with other kids.
For example, yesterday J, LO and I had dinner with our neighbors--the parents of Baby S who once expertly fielded LO's stink eye. At around 7:30, both LO and Miss S were getting a little fussy. It was clearly the witching hour when all good baby boys and girls should go to bed. Baby S's mom Carla disappeared with the little girl for approximately 15 minutes, during which time I believe teeth were brushed and a story was read. Carla reappeared, resumed our pleasant evening, and there were no screeches of bloody baby fury at any point after. Apparently, there are children out there who go to sleep when you put them to bed.
I took LO home and started his bedtime routine. We start with a warm, relaxing bath which LO enjoys thoroughly, if by enjoying you mean screams whenever any actual cleansing occurs. ("I WANT that applesauce in my hair! I put it there on purpose. I'm saving it for later...dammit, Mama!") We then have snuggly story time, which is something like trying to hug and read to an eel that is shrieking. After that, it's time to lie down and sing the Shema together before I tell LO three things I'm grateful for that day. I enjoy this part of the bedtime routine, but I sometimes feel like he's not really paying attention. I base this on the fact that he generally gets up (a five-minute process--for now) and starts trying to wander around the bed, bent on testing the gravity on every side.
"I'm grateful for you," I tell him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," LO says. "Will I still fall and bump my head if I throw myself headfirst from this side of the bed? What about that side?"
Each time the child gets up, I lay him back down again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Generally, about two to four hours later, the child is sleeping and I am ready to return to some sort of grownup interaction. Or I'm passed out in a tangle of baby limbs, exhausted by the bedtime routine and wondering if I should start earlier the next day. Say, maybe just after breakfast.
While this child is clearly a pisser, he is starting to relent somewhat in his iron-like grip on my evenings. For two out of the past 346 days, I have actually gotten LO to lay down in his crib, screech for something less than the amount of time it takes to get a law degree, and eventually fall asleep for about two hours in his very own bed. Maybe once I've caught up on my sleep, J and I will be able to watch a movie in the evening or something.
I expect that to happen in about 17 years.