Busy busy

Friday, December 11, 2009
Busyness seems to be all around us these days. The dentist was "busy" (that's what E grabbed onto in his attempt to understand my bizarre behavior, and that's what I let him think), Target was busy, the breakfast food playground at the mall was busy when the line - 90+ minutes! - to see Santa was too busy. The child who till now has had free reign whenever we are out in public, with the admonition to "Stay where you can see me and I can see you" should he venture off a little too far, has had to hold momma's hand because, you guessed it, every where we go is very busy.

D is going to be gone most of next week. Since he decided to go on this work trip, I've been living in denial. There was no way I can do this alone. E requires a constant presence not only at bedtime, but throughout the night as well. And while B is an easy, easy baby, she still requires constant attention - whether it be feeding, diaper-changing or her new favorite activity, having someone bear witness to her "gees" and her ear-to-ear smiles. That being said, up until yesterday, I was terrified. Shaking-in-my-boots-peeing-in-my-pants terrified. Hence, the descision to dethrone E as the nap and bed time tyrant that we let him he's become.

Yesterday at nap time I decided to put the hammer down. That's it. I was confident that E was ready to start sleeping on his own again (it's been weeks since the stomach flu that started this whole thing) so I had a talk with him. I explained that he would sleep in his bed, B would sleep in her bed (in case his nocturnal reluctance had anything to do with the fact that B is indeed not sleeping in her bed), Scout would sleep in his bed, momma and daddy would sleep in their bed and Baci, well, Baci sleeps on the couch.

"Mom, your bed is too busy?" My eyes welled up. I fought the urge to reassure him that my bed would never be too busy for him.
"Yes, sweetheart. My bed is too busy."
He cried and cried as I left. I stood at the top of the stairs, listening as his screams turned to cries that quickly turned to forced hacks of self-pity. Within minutes, his breaths deepened into sleep and my breaths deepened into relief.

High on the success of naptime, we decided to keep the momentum going and be hardasses at bedtime. Funny that I say "we," because I get all the flack for being a push-over, but guess who the real pushover in this household is? Yup. Dad. Anyway, I got volunteered for the job of bedtime meanie. And I embraced the role - the looming business trip being all the impetus I needed.

"Alright, buddy. Remember, you sleep in your bed, B sleeps in her bed..."
"Mom, you want to sleep with me?"
"I do sweetheart, but I have to sleep in my own bed. We all have to sleep in our own beds. I'll come and check on you in a few minutes, okay? Good night, sweetheart. I love you."
"Maw-mah! Maw-mah! Maaawww-maaahhhh!!!"

I ran down the stairs and sat on the couch across from D. He knows how much this kills me and since he didn't have to leave our first born in tears, it's his job to have the resolve that he can see is rapidly starting to crack in me. "What are we going to do? Cave?" D asks, knowing that that's not an option. I don't back down because I never want the suffering thus far to be for naught. No, we're not going to cave. I channeled my inner-21st century president and fortified myself. I had resolve.

So what do I do? I cave. Well, sort of. I go upstairs to check on E, as promised, and as I walk in, he's shaking his head from side to side, crying hysterically.
"I can't sleep my byself."
"Why not, buddy?"
"I can't like it."
"Why not?"
"Because I'm afraid." Oh. My. Goodness.
"What are you afraid of?"
"What do you mean, somebody?" By this point, I'm in bed with him, petting him and trying to console him without showing my hand, just in case this kid is a mastermind and has concocted an entire Oscar-worthy performance, forever cementing his place in our bed.
"I'm scared. I can't like sleeping my byself. Mom, you wanna sleep with me?"
"Listen, pumpkin. Dad and I are here to keep you safe. It's part of our job. And it's ok to feel afraid sometimes, but I want you to know that Dad and I would never, ever let anything bad happen to you, okay?"
"Mom, you want to sit with me?"
"Of course, sweetheart. I'll sit here with you for a two minutes and then I'll go downstairs."
"You can leave the door open a little bit?"

That was all he needed. The door open. A little bit. I sat with him for a few minutes and then reiterated my previous safety talk, reassuring him that we were just downstairs and that we loved him and wouldn't let anything happen to him. And for the first time in weeks and weeks, he fell asleep alone and stayed that way till morning. What are the chances that we got off that easily? What are the chances?

1 comments to Busy busy:

heather said...

My daughter had the same door issue. We keep her door cracked now and she sleeps through the noise I was trying to keep out! Of course, this also means she ninja-like slinks down to our room and scares me by poking me while I sleep, but she was getting good at opening the door quietly too. Glad you were able to stay strong and find the way to help your toddler go to sleep by himself! I am enjoying your blog, my friend referred you due to our common wonder pet interest=)

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