Thursday, April 4, 2013

Toddler Rules of Ownership

I should have known that yesterday was too good to be true.

Though it could have been much, much worse, things didn't go terribly well overnight. Abby woke up twice, and had to be attended to both times, somewhere between the hours of two and three am. Thankfully, she then proceeded to sleep in for nearly an hour past her usual time.

Michael woke up once, shortly after her second waking, and then was up for the day by 6:15 am. I can't exactly blame that on the room/crib transition, though. He has had far too many nights like that for no identifiable reason at all (though it can most likely be chalked up to teething, I'd imagine).

The real problems began to reveal themselves this afternoon, though. Michael took his first nap with no difficulties, but Abby refused to remain in bed for hers. Not only that, but she quickly proved that she can, indeed, open doors with no issue, and kept running out onto the landing at the top of the stairs, slamming the door behind her, and then re-entering the room to repeat the same process.

This put Tom and me on edge because we've recently discovered that the gate that Tom installed up there is not working properly. Michael can pull it open relatively easily, even when it is supposedly latched. Like so many things around here, we've been putting off taking care of it, and now we've found that we're in a bit of a bind, being the proud parents of an expert door-opener.Thankfully, it hasn't yet occurred to Abby to pull on the gate, but we can't count on it not happening, so I finally got my fingers in gear and ordered a new gate from Amazon, scheduled to arrive tomorrow (the exact model that we want appears to only be available online, and we don't want to mess around with something not-quite-the-same and end up unhappy with it again).

More immediately, however, we were faced with the dilemma that we now had a toddler who was refusing to nap. Since I had a sleeping Amelia in my lap, it was decided that Tom would go upstairs and sit with Abby until she fell asleep. Over the monitor, I was privy to a spectacular meltdown that seemed unending.

After about twenty minutes, I carried Amelia and led Michael up the stairs to Tom and Abby, because Michael now needed a nap, and I had an idea. So, while Tom took Michael into the nursery, I dragged Abby back into her room with me and shut the door.

I then proceeded to lay Amelia down onto her bed. I'd had the brilliant notion that Abby would jump at the opportunity to snuggle with her baby sister, and that while she nestled in contentedly, tiredness would kick in and do most of my job for me. I was therefore quite astonished when Abby became suddenly angry and screamed, "No! That's Abby's bed!" Switching gears, I then responded, "Well, you'd better get in it, then, or Amelia is going to nap in it instead."

"Not right now..." she wailed (taking a lesson from me, apparently, as it's a phrase I use with her quite often). But she saw that Amelia hadn't been moved, so she reluctantly made her way over to the bed.

I put Amelia down on the floor next to me for a moment, and settled Abby in with her stuffed animals and sheet. Abby was extremely unhappy with me, but she stayed, sniffling and hyperventilating all the while. Occasionally, she began to ramp up again and start screaming, but I was able to get that under control by rescinding her binky each time. She learned quickly to keep the volume of her protests to a minimum, which allowed Tom to get Michael down in the other room.

In the end, I stayed by Abby's side for about ten minutes, stroking her hair and rubbing lightly between her eyes once she was calm. As I heard the pattern of her breathing shift, I snuck out of the room and prayed.

As far as this evening has gone, well... Tom had to go up and sit with her around 8:15 pm, after we heard the pitter-patter of little feet and the slamming of the door. It is now close to 9:30, and Abby is still not asleep. Tom is currently sitting right outside of her door in the hopes that she will make an attempt with him gone from the room, but I can see on the monitor that she is sitting up on the edge of her bed, holding a book.

Lord, help us. Who would have thought that my brand-new baby would immediately qualify as the easiest to put down to sleep? Ever since we got into a routine with her (diaper change, swaddle, feed, placement in sleeper) she's gone down with no problems and given us around three hours for the first stretch. It's the rest of the night that's more of a challenge with her, though her siblings haven't exactly been making it easy on that front for us either, lately.

We'll see what happens overnight, but I've definitely learned one thing in all of this: even Love of Sister is trumped by Toddler Rules of Ownership...


  1. Love the new header photo! So sweet. Good luck with all the shifts in routine and hope everyone settles on something good for you soon.

    1. Thanks! And I hope so, too. This new routine is a major time-suck at the moment. Sigh.