Uttered by Caye (27 months) this week, while trying our new approach of a
"snuggle" after lights out at bedtime (due to recent major bedtime "I
don't want to sleep!!!!!!" issues):
"I want to snuggle."
"Why you going to pee?" (on night #2 as I rose to leave the room, after
successfully making an exit on night #1 by citing a need to use the
"I like Granny's/Mommy's/Daddy's/Grandpa's/others' glasses." (one full sentence per person)
"Do you love
"I love [all of the above, in turn]."
"Jesus loves me."
"I trying to rest (whilst attempting to strap velcro loop on musical mobile plush lion around her ankle)!"
"I trying, I trying, I trying to sleep (whilst rolling around
attempting to unfasten velcro strap around ankle, and then starting
directly at me)."
"(tearfully, after one of my attempts to leave her room) I can't find my blanket!"
"(ragefully, after my return to assist with blanket) I don't want my
blanket. No....!!!!!!!!!!! I don't want it!!!!!!! I no want my
"[screaming & yelling - opening door on her
own, standing briefly in hallway screeching, then returning to room
& closing door]." (I was pleasantly surprised that opening the door
did not lead to an attempt to fully exit and avoid returning to room).
"Bip-bip-bip-ba-ba-do--bip-bip-bip...etc...[sing-song-ish] - Do you like this song? [repeat]."
"Round and round the garden, goes the polar bear....wee-wee-wee-wee, home."
"[tongue clucking] Do you like this song?"
"I love your/Daddy's ears."
"I love your/Daddy's other ear."
"I love your/Daddy's/Titchie's/Mookie's/Grandpa's/Granny's/Jimmy's[Granny & Grandpa's dog] body."
"I love my body."
...and a random story about Kitch and his underwear.
For the record, she is currently bustling around the living room at 9:45pm (our kiddos have a pretty consistent 7:30ish bedtime), doing acrobatics on a magazine rack while wearing too-big flip-flops, drawing, etc. This after she followed me downstairs wailing.
For over a year, we have had few bedtime issues (a couple of short streaks of crying after we left the room, but nothing too intense or lasting. She also has occasional restless nights, where she fusses a couple of times between her bedtime and mine). My instinct is not to let her fall asleep in distress (and I can't imagine the screaming hysteria helps her brothers go to sleep across the hall), and I still remember last summer when my presence with her in the night was not a comfort, so I guess I still find something meaningful in her wanting me with her at bedtime. Last week, I managed to leave the room a couple of times by letting her look at books until she fell asleep (she was up for quite a while one night with that approach). We have also had success a couple of times with one of us lying with her for a while. However, the past few attempts to stay with her have not worked out well, as she has been very active and chatty with us in the room.
I wish I knew whether she simply has a new awareness that the day goes on for Geoff and I after she goes to bed, or a realization that she can choose whether or not to sleep - and who would want to do that??, or whether her sleep needs (e.g., bedtime, nap span, etc.) have changed, or whether she is having bad dreams (we hear a lot of "No...I don't want to sleep!"), or...something else.
I am feeling a little too unstructured in our efforts to come up with a 'plan' - I tend to be pretty consistent with expectations, and that is easy enough for me to do with the boys in particular, who arrived at ages where that kind of follow-through seemed to be generally do-able (well, with great effort). With Caye, though, I still feel stuck in transition from the baby stage of loading up on instant response and comfort and soothing, toward delivering a little clearer message about boundaries and expectations (while still being nurturing) - so hard to know when to let her live out the distress of coming up against a firm limit, and when to flex a bit to relieve that distress and provide comfort. And with bedtime, there is the added layer of not really knowing how much her sense of safety/security is involved with the reluctance to let us go at night, and not wanting to ignore that possibility.
Anyway, at least there is some amusement to be had while hanging out in her room. Bedtime #2 is about to take place - Geoff will attempt this one, after prying her away from the book she is currently perusing with lots of commentary, such as "Oh, Man!" and "I want to have my green apple."