Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Selective memory, new beds, and sleep deprivation. (re-write!)

April 17, 2006: I know it's probably breaking some laws on blog-dom, but I simply have to edit this and clean things up. Forgive me, oh gods of blogger-space, but I'm just not happy with this original draft.

My friend Chantel of the Yucababy blog wrote a sweet post about the unexpected realizations that come with motherhood.

I had to smile as I read it. She hit the nail on the head.

The words that come to mind, though, when I think about those first few months as "shock and awe." Thanks to the combined experiences of having a preemie and reflux (what they now call "colic"), I barely remember the first five months of my son's life. Somewhere in there I slept, ate, and ran my household, but damned if I can recall when I did all that. My main memories are of the nights I semi-slept on the couch with Gavie on my chest trying to get him to sleep while I stared mindlessly at "Nick at Nite's" re-runs of 80's sitcoms, of wrangling with the mysteries of powdered formula/rice/oatmeal, and of marveling at how someone that small could go through so many diapers in one day.

She's right: there's nothing more amazing then that little creature.

Even at "almost three," there's a host of new tactics out there, guaranteed to twist your life into gigantic pretzel, foul up your deadlines, and cause you to nearly bite your tongue off trying not to laugh.

Gavie's finally into his "big boy bed." Unexpectedly, that long-awaited milestone's presence has robbed me of sleep from the moment we said "time for bed!"

Sunday brought both clear weather and the opportunity to borrow my brother-in-law's pick-up truck, so we took full advantage and, by 7 p.m. that night, had Gavie's new room ready to go.

When we brought him home from Ga's, which is what he calls my mother-in-law, he was beyond ecstatic. This was IT! The bed we'd been promising for some time now, talking about it, building it up, making this seem like the greatest event ever!

Gavie climbed right in, and we read eight books or so, sang our usual bedtime songs, and pretty much went through our nightly ritual without pause.

I tucked Gavie in and kissed him good night. We waved night-night to Pap up in Heaven, and said our usual prayers. Then I turned to go, pleased as could be with his acceptance of the new bed. (Oh, when will I learn?)

I'm pretty sure that the whole neighborhood heard him bellow in protest. Apparently Mommy leaving the room was not in his plans.

Somehow, don't ask me how, I managed to reason with my son. "If I'm in my room across the hall, will you be okay?"
He nodded.
"I'll be right there if you need me. Got it?"
Another nod. Another kiss and hug night-night. I made it the ten paces to my bedroom. Silence. Glory be and saints be praised! I was going to have an excuse to go to bed early!

I wasn't in my room two minutes when I heard the thump of two little feet hit the floor. A peek revealed Gavie sitting in front of his bookcase reading his picture books. (He is so my kid!)

Obviously that wouldn't work, so I got him back into bed with a stack of them, giving the order to read all he wants but to stay in bed.

Toddlers are incredibly interesting beasts, you should know. They have this painfully honest yet really skewed concept of reality. Apparently, Gavie didn't know if he was being punished or not. After all, the only other time he's told to stay put is when he's in a time-out.

(Incidentally, when he does get to sit on the couch and think about what he did wrong, he protests with these really pitiful cries of "mama." The only reason they don't tear my heart to shreds is that they are so obviously fake that I spend most of his time-out hiding in the dining room trying not to laugh out loud.)

To handle this new confusion over being in bed but not being punished, he did the only logical (!) thing he could: alternate between peacefully reading his board books and periodically emitting the high-pitched wail of "maaaammmmaaaaa!"

The tenacious one finally fell asleep around midnight. I fell asleep thirty seconds later.


Tonight, incidentally, is the first night without the drama. He's in there playing with his 873 bajillion toy frogs. It sounds like he's telling them a story. Methinks I might get some sleep tonight.

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