Monday, November 19, 2012
I'm in a dark hallway with my forehead pressed against a crack in the door so I can get the best possible view of the animal. I'm praying and pleading with God to bring the beast to rest. I'm watching so quietly and so intently, I almost forget to breathe. When I do finally take a breath it is inaudible for fear that the animal will sense my presence and lash out with rage in need of immediate attention. Two and a half hours pass and finally, the creature is asleep and I can sit brainless for a few minutes.... Until it is time to wake the wild one for an afternoon snack.
Not a nightmare. This is a glimpse into the last week of afternoons I've spent training Peanut "in the ways she should go" at nap time. She still desperately needs a nap; otherwise I would not be so vigilant about my nap time control. She is literally jumping or running or chasing at every waking minute of her day. She will break for Diego and some times PBS; although even her TV watching is done while she jumps and sings along. My happy little ball of energy has been begging me for over a month now to "Please please sleep in big-gul-bed Mommy?!" Her big girl bed has been set up in her room in our rent house, since we moved to town in June. I mostly set it up because I was hopeful we would have family visitors and we would need an extra bed. I never dreamed I would let my two year old, 13 hour sleeper (with a 3 hour daily nap) move from her cage, to the wild open spaces of her giant bedroom; left to her own devices.
Call it a moment of weakness or curiosity... I call it Divine Intervention. I let her do it. I let her sleep in her big girl bed; for a nap. Sleep is really not an adequate term for what was going on in that room. I explained the rules; the same rules that worked with Bug when she was two and moving to a big girl bed.
1) Stay in bed
2) If you get out of bed 2 times you will get a spanking
3) If you get out of bed 3 times you will get a spanking and have to move back to the baby bed
Lord help me. After 4 spankings, 2 baby bed moves, and one extremely desperate attempt to sing her to sleep; I gave up! The first trial of big girl bed sleeping was an absolute bust! Not only did I not stick to what I said about her moving to the baby bed, I let her "get up" early!
Peanut: 1 Mom: 0
Day two went slightly better. Only 3 spankings and she actually went to sleep after 90 minutes. I was left with a lovely 90 minute break and an indention on my forehead from pressing my face against the door frame, watching her get in and out of bed, uncover, recover, sing songs, talk to her loveys...... and so on.
Day three left me in tears. The good kind. We went through our 1 book, 4 song routine. I tucked her in with all 4 of her favorite loveys, reminded her to stay in bed, and stood there for 30 seconds with my eyes closed praying for sanity, wisdom, peace, and REST. I went to my post to observe.
Not 15 seconds after the door shut, were the covers thrown of and she was sitting at the edge of her bed. She assumed her "get out of bed routine". She inched her hiney closer and closer to the edge, her little toes reaching for the floor. She stopped for a few seconds to look around and she put her finger to her lips and said "shhhhhh. twiet." I was too furious to see any humor there. She set her feet down and stood up, so proud that she made it out of bed, again!
I opened the door and put on my best angry Mommy face. We had a chat about staying in bed and acting like a big girl and I told her that she would get a spanking the next time. She said, "yes Mommy. I love you Mommy." and I returned to my post. Again, 15 seconds into her solitude she was up and at the edge of the bed. I stood there praying "PLEASE Holy Spirit come and give her self control! I do not want to spank that child again!" She sat there for about 2 minutes shushing herself and staring at the floor.
Suddenly, she sat straight up, turned around and climbed under the covers. I watched in disbelief as she fell asleep after 10 minutes of laying down. I was so thankful and exhausted after three days of standing at the door and watching her be defiant that I cried; but only for a minute because I realized I had time to shower AND eat lunch!
I know what you are thinking. "Why is she making such a big deal out of nap time and getting in and out of bed?!" First I will tell you, I am sane because there is nap time, and I worked very hard to get to our beloved 3 hour nap schedule. Also, I didn't have to do this with my first. Bug had one spanking one time for getting out of bed too many times and that was it. Even now, at 4 she is in her room on her bed playing with dolls; simply because it's rest time and she knows she has to be on her bed. Peanut is different. Truer words have never been spoken: Give an inch and she will take a mile. Already at 2 years old, I can see that my parenting must be consistent and constant; backed by prayer and wise counsel. She will leave me weary and wild eyed, but she will also leave me laughing and with a sweet squeeze around my neck as she says, "you a silly billy Mommy. I love you Mommy."
Now we are a week in and she has been sleeping in her big girl bed through the night for an average of 13 hours a night. Nap times are still touch and go. Today was good. No spankings and asleep after 15 minutes.
Stay tuned. I'm sure her school years will be a serious page turner.