Before I had a child, I thought of myself as a kind of baby whisperer. I had never met a child that I could not rock to sleep, soothe, or comfort. Babysitting jobs were easy, kids went off to bed when they were told and never really tested boundaries with me.
I was a much better parent before I had a child.
Our bedtime routine feels abusive - towards her, towards me. It is a constant, draining tug-of-war that has been rivaled on Super Nanny, but even when putting into play every stinkin' one of her tips and tricks, my kid will not go to sleep.
I get it. She misses her momma during the day. She wants to spend as much with me as possible. And I want to spend time with her as well.
But, after a long day of work, the hectic parking lot exchange with the Hubs, a scrambled half-assed attempt at making a balanced dinner, leafing through a myriad of bills, and playing before and after dinner - I am exhausted. I want to go to sleep.
And, as evidenced by last week's fiasco, I cannot go to sleep until she is already in dreamland.
Yesterday, last night, should have been easy. She woke up at 4:30 in the morning. She had not had a nap all day. She looked and acted as though she were the most exhausted 4 year old on the planet.
9 PM - Story, snuggle, prayers, lights out.
9:30 PM - Needs a cup of water and the potty.
10 PM - Playing in bedroom, reminder that she should get in bed.
10:30 PM - Talking to stuffed animals - but is still in bed.
11 PM - Wailing, sobbing cries. "Momma, I waaaaant you. Hold me..."
11:30 PM - In bed, talking to animals again. Reminder to go to sleep.
Midnight - On way to bathroom, I notice small girl sitting in doorway. I sternly remind the girl that her momma has now turned into a pumpkin and the pumpkin is getting pissed.
Realize that the girl has, once again, purposefully peed in her bed in an attempt to make it unfit for sleeping. Change mattress liner, sheets, and comforter. Take away all stuffed animals. Give THE LOOK. Turn off lights and exit room.
Is she biding her time? Is she really asleep? Do I dare enter to test my theory?
1 AM - Still silent. Start taxes as a way to unwind from pent up anger at girl.
1:30 AM - Play a rousing game of Cut the Rope. This girl is sneaky, I have to be sure she is really asleep.
2 AM - Toss last load of laundry for the night into the dryer.
2:15 AM - Enter bedroom to find fully-awake-never-been-to-sleep girl jumping on my bed. Shoot her the look, lay down on bed defeated.
The Hubs came home, discovered the girl-child in our bed and went to sleep in her bed.
Everyone was sound asleep when I left for work this morning. Isn't that nice?