26 July 2007
12 July 2007
Good Night and Good Luck
Ahhh, I remember the days when bedtime was that pleasant time when Kelly and I would take Locke and Lola into their room, dress them for bed, brush their teeth, read them bedtime stories, lay them lovingly in their beds, and know that after a few minutes of talking and singing with each other, they'd soon be asleep.
Boy, do times change.
Oh, sure, bedtime is still pleasant. In fact, not a whole lot has changed during the first part of our little bedtime ritual. We still have that nice family time getting them ready for bed and reading stories. What's changed is the part after we lovingly deposit them into their cribs.
They've cleverly realized that they can delay their bedtime — or at least their sleep time — by keeping Mommy and Daddy busy retrieving the various items that are clearly necessary for them to sleep.
The negotiation process actually begins before they even get into their beds. Lola usually opens with something like this: "Touch green ball?" The green ball is a small wooden ball that is part of the mobile in their room. She likes it when I hold her up high enough to touch it and make the mobile move. So I do.
The envy is too much for Locke to take, even though Kelly has already managed to get him into his crib. "Lockie touch green ball?" So Locke gets his turn at the mobile.
Then, once Lola is in her bed, clutching Donkey in one arm and a pink blanket in the other, she says "Water?" Like any good negotiator, she phrases it as a question so as not to sound too demanding, but it's clearly a demand.
"OK, I'll go get your water," I answer. I leave to fetch her sippy cup and, because I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I grab Locke's too.
I return with their cups of water, expecting satisfied customers ready to lay down and sleep but, instead of a thank you, Lola responds with "More ice please? Ice water?" I look at Locke, who offers me his cup in a united front against the lukewarm water I've so thoughtlessly provided. I take their cups and head off to the kitchen.
When I return, Lola takes a drink of the icy water, smiles and lies down. "Cover up?" she sweetly asks. So I cover her up with her pink striped blanket, the one she's slept with since she was just weeks old. "Cover up Donkey?" So I start to cover Donkey with another pink blanket. "blue blanket? BLUE BLANKET!" Blue blanket is a hooded towel that we got for Locke when he was a baby. I dragged it out of the back of the linen cabinet to dry Lola's hair one evening and the next day she began to carry it around like a blanket, along with Donkey. Evidently, Donkey has become attached to his own "blanket".
Of course blue blanket was left in the living room so I once again leave to retrieve it. This time when I return, Lola appears to be quite happy, ready to settle in for the night. But Locke has only just begun.
"Thomas?" Locke is of course referring to his beloved train.
"Locke, do you really want Thomas?"
"OK, I'll bring Thomas. Lola, is there anything you want me to bring for you?" She too has a few trains in the Thomas and Friends collection and sometimes likes to sleep with one or two.
"Alright, will you two go to sleep if I bring Thomas and Lady?"
When I return with the trains, Locke says, "No Thomas, Byron." Byron is a bulldozer under the Thomas merchandising umbrella.
"Locke, you said you wanted Thomas."
"OK, I'm going to go get Byron. Lola, is there anything else you need because I'm not coming back in here again after I bring in Byron." At this point I realize I'm sounding like my mother.
I retrieve Byron and Rosie and am giving them their final "I love you"s and kisses when Locke says, "Big hug?"
The big hug is one thing I never tire of handing out. I pick up Locke and he wraps his arms around my neck and says, "Biiigggg huuuugggggg," in a strained voice as if he's getting hugged by an enthusiastic grizzly bear. I kiss him and lie him back down and Lola whispers, "Big hug?" So I go and give her a big squeeze and a "Biiiggggg huuuggggg" in my best grizzly bear voice. Then I blow them kisses as I slowly back out of the room.
Lately, to streamline the process a bit, we automatically refill their water cups with ice and water, and we allow them to choose toys to bring in with them. Kelly and I are slowly learning ways to gain the upper hand in the nighttime negotiations, although we wouldn't claim to be the ones in control.