Sleep has always been Ellie’s biggest challenge. (Well, my biggest challenge.) She is an extremely independent little girl, “I do it myself!” except when it comes to sleep. When it comes to sleep all of a sudden she turns into the biggest staller that requires a whole lot of hand holding. Literally and figuratively.
She confidently and independently participates in selecting her diaper, brushing her teeth, undressing, and putting on her pajamas. But as soon as the last story is done and the lights go out, here come the excuses.
“I need water pleeeease.”
“I’m sick, [cough cough] I need medicine.”
“My finger hurts, you kiss it. I need a band-aid”
“One more book?... Pleeeeaaaase?”
“Take yo glasses off.”
“I need my teddy… and my pillow. No, a different one. And my blanket. I don’t want a blanket.”
“My butt broke.”
“My teeth are yellow, I brush my teeth.”
And then she’ll come over to me, put her chin on my leg like a puppy, look up and say, “You lay with me? Pleeeeaaaasssseee.”
Somehow, it ended up where one of us would stay and sit in her room until she fell asleep. But it would take her forever to fall asleep. At least she’d sleep through the night. I know, it’s not the best of methods, but sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles. Aya and I made our choice and accepted the consequences. Which often ends with either Aya falling asleep in the chair and me coming to rescue her at midnight, or me sitting in the chair cranky because it took Ellie another hour and half to fall asleep. I know! It’s our own fault. I’m not looking for sympathy.
But if you think I was soft with Ellie then, now that Chloe is around, I’ve become a total push over. I have been completely sucked into Ellie’s web of lies and stall tactics. I feel bad for her because I know there is so much change in the house right now and she’s been so good with her new sister. So I’ve been extra “understanding.”
When Ellie says, “Come come, sit” and pats the floor next to her bed, I go sit next to her and hold her hand. When she twinkles her toes and says “Rub my feet,” I do. Then she wants me to pet her. She grabs my hand and places it on her hair and says “like this.”
Who is this kid? Do you want cucumbers on your eyes a mud mask and a salt bath too?
The next thing I know we are both laying on the floor next to her big Foofa doll while she stares up at the ceiling and twirls her hair.
As the three of us lay there gazing at the stars on the ceiling I think, “Okay, this is it, any minute now.” That is, until she starts with her questions.
“What’s Grandma doing?”
“Can I play with Evie?”
“What’s Miss A doing? (Miss A is her art teacher)
To which I reply, “Miss A is at home, ASLEEP!”
So yes, I’ve let things get out of hand, and it’s not even helping anybody. I’ve been making excuses for pretty much the past year. But I’m kind of running out of them. Aya’s not pregnant anymore, Chloe is born, and Aya’s parents have come and gone. It’s just us. And now that Chloe is requiring more effort in the evenings than she did before, it’s finally time to make that change.
So where’s my Rocky T-shirt? It’s time to go to work!
To read more stories from this stay-at-home dad, visit www.thegoodthedadandthebaby.com