Sunday, June 03, 2007

The ever changing personality of a toddler.



Living with a toddler means waking up each morning (at 6:00) without any idea of what life has in store for you. It means living on the edge. It feels like someone's put me in some weird sitcom combining elements of Fear Factor, 24, and Jackass. The shifting landscape of moods I confront daily makes me feel as though I have a house full of kids to keep occupied.

Oh, wait. I do have a house full of kids I keep occupied all day long.

When do toddlers outgrow the "terrible 2's?" Do they magically become rational human beings at 3? Do they start picking up after themselves, without me making a game of it? Do they eat what's put in front of them without songs? Do they go to bed without an elaborate routine that takes a half hour? Somehow, I suspect not.

Monkey has been a good sleeper and napper since he was nine months old. It was about that time that I instituted firm rules about nap times, bed times, and sleep routines. I faced lots criticism from some, but I held firm, and was rewarded with a kid who slept through the night, napped on schedule, and woke up happy and recharged. After reading countless parenting books, I settled on the advice of Dr. Marc Weissbluth, author of "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I read it cover to cover, and practiced his suggestions diligently. I felt vindicated whenever Monkey willingly went up the stairs as he announced, "Time to take a nap."

Until recently, that is. For some inexplicable reason, he's decided that napping and bedtime are overrated, and he'd rather be doing something else. Like jumping on my bed. Or playing with his bathtub frog. Or racing up and down the hallway while his sister sleeps. He makes it as far as his crib, and then the tantrum begins. With it, the ear splitting screams, the crocodile tears, and the hysterics seen only in the worst B-movie theatrical productions.

Tonight, I convinced him to lay down and sleep after informing him that "everyone else is sleeping." He looked at me, curiosity piqued. Recognizing an in , I continued:

"Mina is sleeping. And Oscar is sleeping. And Grandma H is sleeping. And Grandma B is sleeping. And Grandpa is sleeping. And Uncle Osman is sleeping. And Uncle Riz is sleeping. And Jessica is sleeping. And Aunt T is sleeping. And Azziza is sleeping. And Medina is sleeping. And Samina is sleeping."

And then I moved on to his favorite inanimate objects:

"And the garden is sleeping. And the basil is sleeping. And the garage is sleeping. And the hose is sleeping. And the kitchen is sleeping."

And on, and on.

His response?

"Again ..."

And so, I "read" him my sleeping story again. And again. And one more time for good measure, alternating names and places, people and things. Always ending with, "And now, Jordan is sleeping."

All I have to say is, it's time to consult my sleep training guides again, because it looks like we've reached a new chapter in our saga. And it's not pretty. I have a sneaking suspicion this behavior might be related to the relinquishing of the binky, but who knows? It could be because the moon is in the seventh house, or Jupiter's aligned with Mars. It could be because the days are longer, and his bedtime still shines with sunlight coming through his window. It could be because he knows I'm tired, or because the grass is growing too fast.

I think it's because he's a toddler who's rapidly becoming a little too spoiled for his own good. We'll need to think about this one.

Mommy is sleeping now and I am ignoring Monkey's voice on the monitor as he recites:

And Grandma is sleeping...and moo is sleeping...and Mina is sleeping...and the garage is sleeping...

le sigh.
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