Friday, December 30, 2005

The Battle of Wills

Oooh, I've had it! I want my own bed back! Is that too much to ask?? Here's the scene: about a month ago Lauren started climbing out of her crib. We're all set to move her into her "big girl" twin bed.... once we move. Which has been filed under the category of "soon" and "any time now" for months [sigh]. So until then, she's still in the crib. We simply lowered the side rail to make it easier and safer for her to climb out. Because, once the crib climbing starts there ain't no going back. Better to adjust than fight it.

Except now? I'm totally fighting it. Or rather, fighting to keep her sleeping in her crib instead of in our bed. You see, at some point during the night - usually betwen 1am and 4am - Lauren wakes up, climbs out of her crib, and comes into our room. She used to come to me, because a) I'm the mama and b) I sleep closer to the door. But I'm also the one to take her back to the crib. She caught on real fast and altered her plan of attack. Now? She goes over to Mr. Chick's side of the bed and snuggles up to Daddy. Daddy, who rarely remembers her coming into bed at all. He just sort of slides over and makes room for her in his sleep. So she totally gets away with it. And I get crunched. I end up teetering on the edge of the bed because Mr. Chick is now in the middle, having made room for Lauren, the biggest space hog ever. It blows. It blows big. Sometimes, with enough elbows to his ribs, he'll take her back to her crib. Sometimes not.

Well, last night I reached the end of my rope. This sleeping in my bed thing has played out. It's a bad, bad habit that must be broken, and sooner rather than later. And so, The Battle of Wills began last night in earnest.

Mr. Chick was out of town last night so the bed was MINE! All mine! But by 12:45am I had a little visitor who completely ruined the joy of having the whole bed to myself. I'm a scooch more lenient when a kid(s) is sick - I'll allow some sleeping in Mama & Daddy's bed when you don't feel good and just want some comfort. I'm down with that. We did that all last week. Kids are feeling better now, so GET OUT, I say. At first, I caved. I let her snuggle up and fall back to sleep [which she's able to do almost instantly, unlike me]. At 2am-something Nicholas started pitching a fit crying about his knee hurting - ?! And I of course had to tend to him. When I got back to my bed and saw my daughter, sprawled diagonally across my bed, I said NO MORE and took her back to her bed, vowing to hold firm for as long as it takes until Lauren starts staying in her damn crib all night long. Like she's supposed to. Like she used to do. I had hoped for a slumbering transfer. The kind where you can move a kid and they never wake up? Yeah - didn't happen. She had her bed-moving radar on and woke up instantly as I was picking her up, and was immediately pissed. "no no no no no Mama no no NO NO NO!!" as I'm putting her in her crib. There was no way in hell she was going to lay down. She crying and carrying on and having a royal fit of mammoth proportions because she's back in her crib. I go back in bed and listen as she climbs out of her crib and comes back to my room. As if I'm going to just let her get back in bed with me. Riiiggghhttt. I take her back to the soothing screams of "no Mama! Bed! NNNoooooooOOOO!" and she gets back out again. Oh! This is FUN! I take her back a 3rd time, attempting miserably to use logic, "Lauren, you have a nice bed with cozy covers. You sleep HERE, ok?" Um, she didn't go for it. But - BUT - she stayed there this time. Standing up, clutching her enormous blankie, and pathetically calling "mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama.... ", varying her delivery between rage and sorrow in the tone, for at least 15 minutes. Do you have any idea how long 15 minutes of "mama" repetitions is in the middle of the night? It's a freakin' eternity is what it is. Torture. But I was engaged in a Battle of Wills with a 2 year old. I picked this battle and therefore COULD NOT lose. I had to endure. And endure I did.

At one point, during a momentary lull in the mantra, I went to check on her. I was envisioning her exhausted and crumpled in her crib and not under her covers properly. I didn't want her to be cold. Mad, yes. Cold? Never! Big, big mistake. She wasn't even close to being done with me yet. She saw me and lunged at me (going for my throat maybe?). I held her, rocking, and told her again how she needed to sleep in her own bed. She still wasn't buying it. But she stayed, like a tortured, obedient martyr, and started up with the "mama" chant some more. Eventually she crashed and slept. I'm a faster learner than she is because I did not go back to check on her and make sure she was all tucked in. I didn't need a 2nd sucker punch.

I don't know if she got cold or not, but I do know that I got to sleep in the bed all by myself for the rest of the night. I have no illusions that this nasty little habit of Lauren's is over yet. One night does not a trend make. Oh no, I'm sure I'll be doing more battling in the nights to come. The biggest trick will be to get Mr. Chick to engage and go along with my program or I swear this child will be sneaking in to sleep with us after she gets home from dates. I gotta nip this one in the bud.

Let the battle begin. May the best woman/girl win!

My daughter went through this too when we moved her to a toddler bed. one thing that worked was threatening to shut the door, then actually doing it when she would come out of her bed. I have a toddler handle on her side of the door that she can't open and she is terrified of the door being closed. It took maybe 2 times of closing the door (and leaving it closed about 10 min) and she knew that she was to stay in bed. They are only allowed to get out of their room if they have to go the bathroom or are sick. Good luck, I'm sure you can win this battle!! :)
What has worked for us is insisting that no child is allowed in our bed during ANY sleeping hours. Not even when they are sick (one of us will sleep with them in their tiny twin beds before we let them in our massive king-size bed again). This has helped immensely. However, our three year old still wants to come in in the wee wee hours, so her only option is to nest on the floor next to our bed. Ta DA! It only took a couple weeks of that before she realized her own bed is far cozier. Now when she comes in, I say - get in your own bed and she whines a little, but then drags her pillow back to her room and snoozes until the sun comes up.

Hope you're the "best woman"!
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