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The night stalker

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Jan. 9, 2008, thehive.modbee.com

One hour, 11 minutes: A personal record tonight for Little Guy.

Not a household record, however. Big Guy once fought sleep for three hours. That was a special case, though – the eve of his third birthday, plus one of my sisters was visiting, so he had someone new to entertain.

We’re in week two of Operation Sleep Deprivation, with Little Guy showing far more stamina than I’d previously given him credit for. It’s just a phase, I keep reminding myself. It can’t last much longer. Can it?

I thought last night was rock bottom, when he bounced out of bed three times to lie in front of his door and cry. To make it worse, I was trying to cook tonight’s dinner at the time. Every tried to make broccoli soup in the middle of a tornado? It turns out great, if you like overly salty, thin soup.

But last night’s bout only went on for a half hour.

Tonight’s session, in addition to being more than twice as long, escalated to mournful weeping and out-right lying. “Budder keep me wake,” he wailed.

Except Little Guy doesn’t know what Big Guy clued in to long ago: Our baby monitor features the most powerful microphone this side of the Watergate bugs, and I can hear every whisper, every hushed song, every squeak of the mattress springs.

I knew Big Guy was innocent, and Big Guy knew I knew, greeting me with his “I’m your good kid, Mommy” grin every time I shuttled his brother back to bed.

I realize I’m making my own misery. Let them cry, the experts say. It won’t do any long-term damage, and giving into tantrums inspires longer tantrums the next time.

Yes, I hear you. I also hear Little Guy’s ever-climbing decibel level. At least I don’t totally screw up by poor-babying him back to bed.

First visit gets sympathy.

Second visit, Serious Mom says, “It’s time to go to sleep.”

Third visit, Stern Mom appears. “Enough of this. It’s time to hush and get back in bed.”

And in a half hour – or 71 minutes – he gives up. For a while at least.

The next round comes between three and four in the morning. Little Guy, you see, now knows how to open doors. And knows that my door is a scant yard from his. He has no trouble climbing into my two-foot-high bed, and that’s often where I’ll find him when I wake a few hours later.

He’s a sly little boots, that one. He’s figured out that if he creeps out in the dead of night, no one will be awake send him back to jail. This never would have occurred to Big Guy – for all his railing against authority and the injustice of bedtime, he’s never left the cell block while the guard slept.

And I’m sure the victory is even sweeter to Little Guy because he’s made it to the promise land of Mommy’s room, while his poor schmuck brother sleeps on in ignorance in his room.

It’s just a phase, right? It can’t last much longer? Can it?

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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