Thursday, January 20, 2005

ZZZZZZZ

Children are so lucky. They are encouraged, sometimes forced, to take naps during the day. And they average about 10 hours of sleep a night. To my sleep-deprived, 3-hours-of-sleep-at-a-stretch-at-the-most body, that sounds like heaven.

So why does my little girl resist it so much? Ever since New Year's Eve, when she was allowed to stay up past midnight, she's fought us every step of the way to go to sleep. We start at 7:30, letting her read her books in bed to relax. Then by 8:30, we go turn off the light and tell her it's time to sleep. Then the fun begins. We still hear her reading, so we tell her it's time for sleep. We hear her in the bathroom brushing her teeth "just for two minutes" and send her back to bed. We hear her sneak in the office and try to get on the computer, and send her back to bed. We find her sneaking into our room, and send her back to bed. We see her peek her head into the leaving room and in a sweet voice ask, "Is everything OK guys?" and send her back to bed. We find her in her room changing her clothes, playing with her toys, laying on the floor as she talks to herself. She will not go to sleep. Eventually, 10 p.m. or later rolls around and she finally falls asleep. Of course, the next morning she's grouchy and cranky and a "joy" to be around. We threaten (and actually follow through) to take away her books, her toys, to turn off the nightlight, to close the door all the way. Nothing works.

Yesterday, she came home with dark circles and bags under her eyes from lack of sleep. I decided that she needed to go to bed at 6, that maybe she'd finally go to sleep at 8 p.m. like she's supposed to. I even lay down with her at 6:30, hoping that by seeing me go to sleep that she'd do likewise (it was also my sneaky attempt to get a little nap while my husband tried to console our crying baby). At 8 p.m., I finally got up, frustrated, because she still wasn't asleep, dinner wasn't made, and I was starving. How do you make someone fall asleep? After several attempts to sneak out of her room, and some crying tantrums, she finally fell asleep at 9. She was much better this morning, considering she got that extra hour of sleep, but enough is enough. Should I put her in bed at 5 p.m. tonight?

I wish she understood the importance of sleep, and how she needs it to stay healthy and strong. But she doesn't. I just get so frustrated with the situation. Maybe tonight will be a better night: she'll go to sleep on time, little Dak will sleep enough to allow my husband and I to both eat dinner together, and we can actually relax on the couch and watch TV like we used to. Please?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Calgon (well, you know the rest)

I'm trying so hard to be the patient mom, the one who calmly asks her child why she's suddenly decided to throw a tantrum, just seconds after she was contentedly laying on the floor, drawing pictures with her new markers. The one who keeps her cool when her child refuses to listen to a simple request.

But here are just a few things that cause me to lose my cool.

- Walking in on little Boogie as she sits at my vanity table, watching as she takes my liquid foundation and spreads it all over the table, the mirror, the wall, herself, as if she's found a new beige color of fingerpaints.
- After numerous trips up and down to get her some milk, turn on her show, find her doll, and various other requests, and finally sitting down to take a breath, and seeing her lift up her milk cup off the table and say, "oops, I spilled" while watching her hold the cup sideways as the rest of the milk falls to the floor.
- Hearing the words "Mom, MOM!" coming from her room, after the 10th time of telling her to "get back in bed and go to sleep!"
- Having her use the excuse "I have to go potty" as an excuse to get out of bed, because she knows we're still trying to potty train her.
- Hearing her yelling and being rude to my husband, and seeing his hurt face for the zillionth time that day because he can't figure out why she hates him so much.
- Having little Dak fall asleep in my arms after his 3 a.m. feeding, putting him to rest in his bassinet thinking I'll finally get a few hours of sleep at a stretch, only to have him wake up again and start crying.

But, I think God must have known that he'd have to make kids cute in order to continue populating the planet. Because even in my most stressful times, there are moments that make you just stop and reflect on how lucky you are:

- Watching both of my kids sleep, their mouths open in little O's, snoring softly.
- Listening to Boogie as she "reads" her books in bed.
- Looking at Dak's amazing smile as he watches his daddy make faces.
- Watching Boogie's face as she runs around the tree in the front yard every time we come home.
- Hearing Boogie's amazing laugh, like when riding a rolle coaster for the first time.
- Feeling little Dak's warm body snuggled up under my chin as I rock him to sleep.

These are the moments I have to remember during my less cool times.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I'm going to ...

The happiest place on earth. That is such a true statement for a place called Disneyland. Especially in the eyes of a 2 1/2-year-old child.

We took little Boogie and little Dak to Disneyland this weekend. What a perfect day: in the mid-70s, clear from all the rains we've had, and not too crowded. A day filled with the wonder and delight that can only come from a child.

I was a little worried that all of the toddler tantrums and jealous rages that have been the norm for little Boogie that past few months would come to surface. But she couldn't have been more wonderful. She had none of the crying jags that I'd see with other parents, no refusals to move on from one ride to the next, no fear of going on rides. In fact, she braved the roller coaster in Toon Town like a champ. I can still hear her giggles as we raced down the hill and jerked to the right to head back to the end. She loved the Peter Pan ride, laughed on the tea cups and excitedly took pictures with Mickey, Minnie and Goofy. She didn't get one with Pluto because as she said, "The line is too long."

Little Dak slept most of the time, except when he ate and had his diaper changed, but he did enjoy looking at the flying elephants as my husband and Boogie rode the Dumbo ride. We stayed there from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., without the benefit of a mid-day nap for little Boogie. But still she soldiered on. Of course, she fell asleep as soon as we started the car, but what a great day!*

*The only bad things had nothing to do with the kids. The first thing was the adults who have no regard to the true meaning of Disneyland. Those who cut in front of little kids to get their own pictures taken with the characters, or those who thing their own kids deserve to get there first, regardless of those who have been waiting in lines. The second thing was the line we had to wait in to get our annual pass validated. I think they purposely make you wait in line so that you give up and never use it. We waited for nearly an hour to get our picture on a laminated card so we can go back whenever we want. They even tried to discourage people from waiting by saying, "Oh, you can come back with that little card and get your photo taken on your next visit", even though it clearly says, "Only valid for this date ... must validate on date of issuance." It's all a sham I tell you. And then the photo is a black and while line art drawing, that could look like me or a thousand other people. At least at Sea World, we had our fingerprints taken (in a matter of seconds, no less), so it's much more secure.

Anyway, we're planning to go back in a couple of weeks and take little Boogie on the rides she missed. I better get more comfortable shoes!