Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The rough patch

"What were we thinking?" That's the question Jay and I have been asking each other from about 8:30 until past 11 p.m. for each of the last four nights.

More accurately, he's probably been asking me what I was thinking when I insisted it was time to move Joey out of his crib into a big-boy twin bed. The process that I thought would make our two-and-a-half year old son feel so grown up has turned him into the biggest brat the Arnold house has seen in a while. We've paid the price for his brand new freedom.

He views our commands to go to bed as a mere suggestion. He considers the suggestion for a brief moment, then cackles as he runs laps around our living room. No amount of sternness or voice-raising crushes his spirit. He jogs, dances, skips and whirls through the house while we look at each other helplessly. Our bag of tricks is empty.

I made the decision on our behalf to purchase a used twin bed I saw on a Facebook buy/sell page. I knew the previous owner and was sure the bed had been kept in excellent condition. The transaction went so smoothly that I decided to post the crib for sale on the same page. About 14 hours later, a buyer came to our house, liked the crib and purchased it. The whole series of events seemed meant to be. The bed in which both my babies had slept through their infancy and toddler days was now gone. A symbolic ending to the childbearing chapter of my life.

Oh well, the same day, we took the Christmas tree down and made major accomplishments in our home organization campaign. The new year had officially begun, and Joey was moving on to his new big bed.

The past three nights haven't been easier than the first, especially for Jay who has dealt with Joey's three hour burst of energy then half-hour of screaming before he finally falls in a heap of exhaustion. Yes, my sweet husband has agreed to stick with Joey through all his bedtime antics while I retire to our own bed. But the crib is gone, and there's no going back.

Today we were pretty sure we had the magic solution to Joey's reluctance to stay in his new big-boy bed. Here it is:

When we knew we were buying the bed, we bought Joey a sheet/comforter set with his favorite characters: "Eedee Birds and Bad Bad Piggies." While Joey was in the bathtub, Caroline and I made the bed with his new linens to surprise him. He was thrilled with his bed's transformation, but it didn't make him want to stay in bed and go to sleep.

Here's the little turkey just chilling in his bed reading a book to Winnie the Pooh and his "moomens" (Gru's minions from Despicable Me).

All the problems with Joey's transition have us scratching our heads, asking "Was it really this hard to get Caroline to sleep in a regular bed? It doesn't seem like it."

Further inspection of my memory, however, has revealed that she, too, was no picnic. She didn't want to stay in bed, so we started the habit of allowing her to stay in the living room and watch her favorite video until she fell asleep.  The two-year-old Caroline had horrible taste in children's entertainment, and insisted on watching The Wiggles: Top of the Tots. If you've seen it, I'm truly sorry. Sometimes Caroline needed it replayed three times before she fell asleep.

I guess this goes to show that, when it comes to children, memories of the rough patches fade with the passage of time. Right now, it feels like Joey will never be a good boy and go to bed on his own. But probably in a few years, when Joey's principal calls and says he's in trouble, or when he gets his driving permit, or when I'm moving him into a college dorm ... this little rough patch will be a distant memory.

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