Jan 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Bed Times

I don't know if I've ever fully explained this before, but Truman and Amelia are different in every possible way. How they walk, what the play with, how they play, their volume, their demeanors, their personalities, their tempers, their needs, their tastes... anything. You name it -- they fall at opposite ends of the spectrum.

They're especially different at bedtime. Take the other night for example. Dad is the official baby bedtime handler. (This task can't be performed by Mom because under no circumstances will either of them take the option of going to sleep in their crib over curling up in bed with Mom.) They are already in their cribs when I walk into their room. This is how it goes from there...

T: Truman is standing in his crib, peering at me over the rail.

A: Amelia is beet red. She's clenching the crib rail and doing some sort of half-bounce while screaming at the top of her lungs. The snot is flowing freely. No one in the house will be sleeping as long as this racket continues. I pick up Amelia.

T: Truman stares. Expressionless.

A: Even in my arms, Amelia initially thrashes and screams. Copious amounts of snot are rubbed all over my shirt.

T: Truman looks like a statue. I'm not even sure he's blinking.

A: Amelia finally calms down. But she's resisting putting her head down on my shoulder. She makes it perfectly clear that she is not going to the Land of Nod willingly.

T: Truman, without taking his eyes off of us, lies down.

A: I sing to Amelia. This both calms her and reminds her that she'll soon be falling asleep which triggers several mini-outbursts.

Side note: Unfortunately for my children I: a) am not a good singer and b) have a very limited repertoire. In fact, my bedtime set list primarily consists of Row Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and singing the alphabet (which is essentially a cover of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star anyway). I occasionally try to throw in a little This Old Man, but I don't really know the words. When I'm really desperate I might even break out On Top of Spaghetti or Jingle Bells. Yes, that's right -- I sing Jingle Bells to my children. It's sad, I know. It's not completely unappreciated, though -- I switch to the Jingle Bells, Batman Smells version for Jameson and he loves it. I don't know why I can never think of anything else at bedtime. It certainly doesn't make for the idyllic scenes I imagined when I first became a parent. If you have any suggestions, please share them -- I'm sure my kids would appreciate it. (I must admit, my constant dependence on the alphabet song did, I think, contribute to Jameson's ability to recite his ABCs well before the age of two.)

T: Truman's eyes look heavy.

A: I plop the now somewhat calm Amelia face down in her crib. This sets off a brief but ear piercing scream followed by her complete collapse on the bed. Inevitably this gets my hopes up that she will simply lie there and drift off to sleep. Not a chance.

T: Truman is out cold.

A: For the next fifteen minutes Amelia is like a wild squirrel caged. Stand up. Sit down. Lie down. Butt in the air. Butt down. Spread eagle. Curled in a ball. Like an over caffeinated inchworm she covers every square inch of her mattress. During that fifteen minutes I get no less than a dozen kisses from her. Her teddy bear gets at least a half dozen as well. I contribute countless back pats and rubs. There are a few squeals and an occasional growl. The whole routine is making me restless.

T: Truman never flinches.

A: Finally, and I mean finally, Amelia starts to slow down. It's like watching the final ticks of a wind up toy exhausting the last of its potential energy. Even when she finally seems to stop, I sense that a slight nudge could release a few more gesticulations. And then comes the best part... right when she's on the verge of actually falling asleep, and she knows it, she starts to yell "NO!"  I am not making this up. It's one of the funniest things I've ever heard. It's an escalating "no," muffled by the fact that she's face down on the mattress. "Nooo-OOOO-OOOOOOOOO!" After three or four of these final personal protests, she's asleep.

To top it all off I get to walk out of the room with a huge amount of guilt. Wild child Amelia throws a fit and gets all of the cuddling, carrying and caressing while angelic Truman gets the cold shoulder as he drifts off to sleep. The squeaky wheel does in fact get the grease.

But the guilt doesn't last too long. Like I originally said, these kids couldn't be more opposite. After all this hubbub, Amelia will sleep like a log the entire night. Truman however will be up every two hours demanding visitation rights with Mom. Squeaky wheel indeed.


Charity Donovan said...

You mean you don't desperately grab for 100 stuffed animals, a blankie that you are trying desperately to convince them is their FAVORITE, 200 lovies & a promise to buy every Barbie on the shelf as long as she just goes to sleep this time??? lol! I totally agree the squeaky wheel does get the grease...in our house it is usually the ear infected one getting the grease...lol! Do your friends Jim & Liz have any idea what they are in for??? lol! By the way...don't feel bad...I'm a mother of 5 & most of my lullabies consist of Tom Petty tunes! No joke!

Jim said...

The running is helping. Bravo.

And yes CD, we have no clueski.