January 23, 2013 by Katia
If you’re sleep deprived and decided to stay at home with 2 kids when you’re solo, remember YOLO. – Wise Man.
So it happened again today. 3 Year Old is on to something. If he calls me in tears on his way to nursery school with dad, asks me come back home and sobs ‘but I still love you’, it’s gonna work, you know what I’m sayin’, ladies? I had a great vision for hours 48-72 of my day. It did not include saying “please do not hang on the floor lamp”. It did not include instructing him to crawl to the door in 5 Month Old’s room so the latter doesn’t notice him and not fall asleep all over again. It did include an episode or two of Californication on Netflix and some key lime pie. And a post about optimism. This is not that post.
Some background info: We’re Ferberizing. From the word Ferber. Which is like a combination of Furby and terror. Furby terror. A totally cute smallish thing’s reign of terror.
Remember how I used to joke about 5 Month Old thinking that he lives in his Baby Bjorn? Well, the joke’s on me. 5 Month Old totally did not think that. He th(inks)ought that he and Baby Bjorn were sharing this fantastic location – me. As his cheeks inflated and his thighs grew robust, hosting his naps, jolly jumping and head butting attempts became more physically demanding on location location location. When one night I was a witness to him trying to crawl in his sleep I’ve decided to move him from our bed to his crib. Motivated by this post, I did it. Which brings us to sleep and key lime pie deprivation and 5 Month Old + 3 Year Old and their mom creating a unique group in which almost everyone plays a dual role: sleep depriver and sleep deprivee. Guess who is the odd one out.
Parenthood is all about readjusting your expectations. When 3 Year Old was on his triumphant way back home I accepted that my vision had to be put on hold but I did not expect to be co-Ferberizers and I did not expect to be talking so much about a vague concept called ‘mommy’s rules ’ that made its first appearance today but behaved as though it was always there. It seems like the unexpected freedom from daycare and successfully playing hookey unleashed the rule breaker in 3 Year Old. He very playfully, almost never obnoxiously, challenged every single instruction I gave. And perhaps under normal circumstances I would have been amused, but there was no me there to speak of. Zombie was there instead. Wikipedia: Zombies do not require sleep (check) or nourishment (check). Note to self: update entry: Zombies do not get amused. So zombie and 3 Year Old were in charge of sleep training. It’s like rain on your wedding day, you’re probably chanting , but FYI pal, 3 Year Olds are far worse sleep training partners than zombies. They will barge into the room with you and when you give a perfectly reasonable instruction like “either hide behind the crib or crawl out of the room so he doesn’t notice you” they will start dancing in front of the crib. After you’ll threaten to send them back to nursery school and give your most blood chilling stare they will eventually hide behind the crib. You won’t be the least bit surprised when on this day of incessant rule defiance and incessant infant yelling and crying, that day that more than anything reminds you of a horror movie the next thing you’ll notice is a little hand appearing behind the bars and grabbing them silently, then heavily landing on the mattress and feeling it repeatedly clearly eager to grab onto something, then comes the cheerful commentary “I’m looking for 5 Month Old”.
After 5.30 hours of wakefulness 5 Month Old finally does fall asleep. When he wakes up there is a lot of jolly jumping – the only activity he agrees to switch locations for – and more rule breaking. In the state of the mental daze I’m in I delightedly laugh when in a display of beautiful brotherly love 3 Year Old shouts encouragingly “Higher! Higher!” to which 5 Month Old abidingly jolly jumps.
Then there is more rule breaking and at one point there’s a balloon stick in my eye. 3 Year Old asks if I am mad and I say yes. Then he asks me to remind him of my rules again. Now that he is not screaming, 5 Month Old, on the other hand, is beginning to seem more and more like the good cop until he head butts me and laughs.
The constant bringing up of ‘my rules’ especially by 3 Year Old after the stick in the eye incident is starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable, like some sort of a Soup Nazi, but rules just keep gushing out of me. ‘On days that you stay at home with mommy you have to listen to My Rules. One of the rules is that there will be times that you have to play by yourself. OK?’
-OK. And he immediately engages me in a dialogue. – I want to be a scary knight. I heet everything! (looks at me) I heet lunches.
– OK, what else do you hate?
And just like that the day is salvaged. At night I apologize to him that I was at times impatient. He tells me ‘but you were patient. I was not patient’. I’m not sure he understands what patient means but he is definitely a knight.
A word of advice: If you haven’t slept properly in days and your older child has a daycare solution, as tempting as it is, don’t make spontaneous decisions to let him stay home. I wasn’t the patient parent he deserves. Schedule some special dates with your child and make them count. Do you feel like you’ve made some bad decisions when you were sleep deprived?