I bite my lip hoping that the rustling I hear from the other room will stop. The whimpers grow louder and louder until they become too obvious for me to ignore with a clear conscience. I am too tired to put in my contact lenses and my daughter broke my glasses 3 weeks ago (and I obviously haven’t had the time/am too lazy to get them fixed). So, I am forced to Mr. Magoo my way down the hallway, avoiding the various toy landmines planted along the hallway. I miraculously make it to my daughters room injury-free. At this point the standoff begins…
I stand in the doorway and as my eyes adjust to the darkness I register my daughter’s figure standing in her crib. Damnit, its always harder when she is already standing. For a few seconds we both stand staring at each other, calculating our next move. Can I turn away now, is it too late? If I go in is there any chance that I’ll get her back to sleep? I frantically try to think of the parenting advice that I have read in various books and magazines. I decide to take the calm/in control/soothing approach and make my way over to the crib.
As I lay my daughter down I sing a somewhat mangled version of Mary Had A Little Lamb (does anyone know what comes after the first verse?!) and gently stroke her hair. I watch my daughter’s eyes close and pat myself on the back for my awesome maternal performance and amazing calming effect I have on my daughter. I slowly creep ninja-style back toward my cozy bed. As I am about to fall back into a much needed slumber, I hear an all too familiar noise and freeze. Was it just a cough? Nope. “Maaaaaaaaaammmmaaaaaaaaaa”. Shit. Sleep Attempt #1:FAILED.
After briefly considering hiding in the bathroom and letting my husband deal with our “little” problem”, I decide to suck it up and face the inevitable. This time, I cut the crap and pull out the big guns…the rocking chair. So I rock, back and forth, back and forth until I’ve rocked so much I feel like I need a Dramamine. Lucky for me my daughter is young enough that the rocking motion will still lull her to sleep…or so I thought. I slowly inch my way off the rocking chair, careful to move as little as possible (which is a surprisingly difficult task) and finally reach a standing position. YES! I let out an inaudible sigh of relief. My feeling of achievement is short lived as I watch the corners of my daughter’s mouth form into a frown, the frown turn into a few sad sounding noises and the noises turn into full out wailing. Sleep Attempt #2:FAILED.
To my dismay, it becomes increasingly clear that my bed would be accommodating a party of three. I convince myself that if I kept the room dark and pretended to sleep, that in turn my toddler would get bored and fall asleep. This turned out to be a genius approach, my daughter was asleep within minutes, I am a Toddler Whisperer. Too bad a Toddler Whisper can’t tell the difference between sleep and pretending to sleep. Just as my mind began to wander off into LaLa Land,I was jolted awake by a small hand honking my nose and a little voice saying “beep beep”. Sleep Attempt #3: FAILED.
At about 4:00am I decide to waive the white flag. A Dora marathon? You Got It! Chocolate milk and cereal in bed? No problem, crumbs in bed and milk stains on my pillowcase are insignificant to the sleep deprived. The next few hours are spent in frustration and discomfort. In my experience, when you tell a toddler to “get comfortable”, it results in the most uncomfortable position for whoever is near them. I have never had a mammogram, but I imagine that the feeling must be similar to the weight of a head of a toddler’s head pancaking my boob into by ribs. My frustration hit it’s peak at Dora episode number four and I had to use all my willpower not to scream at the tv and tell Dora and her annoying friends that they could all “Vamanos” straight to hell.
I’ll spare you the details of sleep attempt numbers 5-10, but let’s just say all-nighters were WAY more fun in college. Parenting is a never ending learning experience. So far, one of the most valuable things that has been learned is the importance of coffee.