Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Milestones can suck it

As parents, we look forward to all those amazing moments when our child accomplishes something new .  We snap photos of the first smiles, document rolling over, first steps, and first words.  We make charts and give rewards for learning to use the potty and following the rules.  We cry over first days at school and first kisses.  Frankly, we're downright nuts about milestones.

You know what milestone this Mama could live without?  Toddler bed.  The toddler bed, and all associated milestones, can suck it.  Mikko first climbed (read:  fell) out of his crib at about 15 months old.  I was NOT ready to move him to a safer, yet more escape-able toddler bed at that time.  I counted myself lucky when he stayed put for another 10 months.  But judgment day was a coming.

A few weeks ago, Mikko decided to try again.  Man, was he successful.  He climbed out and climbed out and climbed out and climbed out again.  I gave up and converted the stupid crib to a toddler bed.  At least if it's a bed, he might climb back in, right?  Not so much.

In fact, not so much that half of Mikko's sleeps have ended with me retraining the kid.  Like for real.  Here's a little taste for you:  Mommy brings both kids to bed.  The method of transportation is often a horsey back ride (sometimes a dually, which frankly this old body can hardly manage with the combined 55 pounds of small people up there).  I plop both kids in one of the two beds and sing lullabies until they screw around so much that I separate them.  Upon separation, I sing loudly from the middle of the room...you know, to keep things fair.  I sing one last Broadway show tune, after I've said "this is the last song" three times, and I kiss them goodnight.  Kaia says, "Mommy, now say, 'Mikko don't get out of bed."  Alright, little mama.  "Mikko, don't get out of bed."  Mikko says, "Okay, Mommy."  Sweet, right?

Here ends all sweetness about nighttime at my house.

Act I.  Minutes after I've been lulled into thinking that maybe the little beasts have just gone to bed without a fight tonight, I hear giggling.  I let it ride for a few minutes, but eventually go in to find all of the lights on.  I forgot to turn the lamp off with the knob instead of the wall switch.  Dammit.  Kaia startles, still sitting in her bed  (she's the good one in this tale) and lays down immediately.  Mikko turns and runs into the attached playroom (closet), which is also bathed in light.  I see that the three thousand stuffed animals that Kaia must have next to her bed on the floor are piled in Mikko's bed.  The kid couldn't lay down there if he wanted to. I toss animals back into their corner, get suckered into one more song, kiss both kids and tell Mikko to stay in bed.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act II.  This time a crash brings me into the room.  Entire collection of Cat in the Hat books lay on the floor.  I pick those up.  I kiss Kaia and remove the books Mikko has tossed in her bed, on her head.  (Now I'm contemplating trying to rhyme this whole blog post a la Dr. Seuss, but I don't have the vocabulary.)  Anyway, Mikko dashes back to the closet.  I put him back in bed, turn off the light, and tell him to stay in bed.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act III.  Big sister upstairs says she just heard Mikko turn on the closet light.  This time he hadn't had a chance to do any damage.  I say, "No.  Mikko, in bed.  NOW!"  By say, by the way, I mean roar.  I notice Kaia's sleeping and shut my yap.  I kiss the boy, tell him not so nicely to keep his butt in bed and get up to leave.  "Okay, Mommy."

Act IV.  I promise this can't go on much longer....  Repetitive banging, so I go in.  Mikko has both tricycles out of the closet and next to Kaia's bed (not sure how he managed that without a sound).  Apparently, he wanted her to join him on his nighttime ride.  Amazingly, she slept through his offer, despite the noise of him ramming the front tire into the bed frame over and over.  I remove the bikes from the bedroom.  Mikko whines for his bike.  I whine for my sanity.  I tuck him in and can't remember if I told him to stay in bed or not.  He probably said, "Okay, Mommy."

Act V.  Okay, seriously, I'm done.  Light's on, I go in, and put the child back in bed.  He will NOT lay still.  Seriously, it starts with kicking his feet, walking them up the wall next to the bed, running them back and forth across the crib sides, bouncing them on the mattress...and that's just the kid's feet.  I lay my right arm across his lower body.  Feet cease moving, thank god.  Then he starts with his arms.  He rubs his eyes, he runs his hands through his hair, he pokes his finger in his ear, he puts his thumb in his mouth and pulls it out with a popping sound, he throws them up above his had, he swings them back down by his sides, he flails them around.  I take both of his arms and hold them still with my left arm.  Then the freakin' hands start.  He went as far as to wiggle his fingers to keep himself awake.  I had to literally stretch my fingers over the top of his fingers to make him be STILL.  And the little dude starts blinking his eyes!!!!!  I swear to god, this might have gone on forever if it wasn't 10:00 at night.  Thankfully, the blinking led to the droopsies.  Those eyes drooped for about 90 seconds before he drifted off to sleep.

Why does my kid hate me and why would anyone want to give their kid the ability to freely get out of their bed?  My darling husband suggested that maybe Mikko will sleep in tomorrow.  I laughed in that way that lets someone know how utterly stupid that thing that they just said is.  Now I have to go to sleep because Mikko's brand of "sleeping in" will include a 6:15 a.m. wake up call, at best.