Thursday, July 25, 2013

Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News

I used to follow the news carefully. I was invested in the world around me. I even occasionally marched about with protests signs and shouted things at passers-by in public.

I was completely and utterly tuned in.

Then I had three children in four years and suddenly found myself unbelievably tuned out. 

Some of it is a time problem. There just isn't a lot of time to catch up on what's going on in the world, and honestly, after a long day with the kids, I find myself totally lacking the emotional fortitude to face the upsetting news of the day.

I feel like this is one of those admissions that is firmly in the arena of

"Oh, woe is me! I can't HANDLE anything because It is so haaaaarrrrrrd to have kiiiiidddds!!!!"

...which admittedly is super annoying. 

But it is also my honest experience. I had always thought of myself as an anxious person. I was someone who could easily get to about a 14 on a 1 to 10 anxiety scale when things in my life got shaky. Then I had kids and I realized that, unbeknownst to me, my 1-14 scale actually went to, like, a FORTY-SEVEN.

It was as if each of the three births I experienced peeled back another protective layer against the hum of anxiety all around me. 

My internal monologue became overtaken by worried thoughts:

What if the rubber part of the pacifier comes off and chokes the baby in his sleep?

What if the little knit cap comes loose during the night and somehow falls over the baby's mouth, cutting off its air supply???

What if the baby suddenly breaks free of its swaddle and manages despite total lack of arm control to fling itself out of the crib????

I had so much nervousness roiling within at all times. Then I'd turn on the news and find a whole new host of things to fret about. It wasn't helping.

The constant stories of war, crime, and general gloom-and-doom were bad enough, but even worse were the "DO YOU KNOW THESE HIDDEN DANGERS TO YOUR CHILD?" stories that tend to pop up toward the end of every newscast:
  • Do You Know the Dangers of Dry Drowning??
  • Giant Sand Sinkholes that Swallow Children Whole - Could They Happen to You?
  • That Jolly Guy Who Lives Right Next Door? HE'S ALMOST CERTAINLY A DEVIANT SEX CRIMINAL!!!
So it is that I've found myself over the course of these past few years entering near-total news blackout. People talk to me about the goings on in the world and I find myself nodding like a Stepford Wife and saying things like, "Uh-huh," and "You don't say..."

I still inform myself about issues when I vote, I still stay up on some current events, and I manage to learn the basics of what is going on in the world. 

But for the near-future I see the "No News" policy at my house still in maximum effect.

I mean, with the exception of the Carlos Danger thing, of course. Because that craziness is just fascinating...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Big Boy Bed

I was once babysitting for my brother's kids and I peeked in on my nephew, who was about six at the time to ask what he was up to.

He looked up at me from where he was lying in front of a book in the middle of his bedroom floor and responded,

"Oh, you know, just kind of grumping around."

The sentiment kind of sums up what's been going on around here this week. 

We've returned from our Texas vacation and the kids are all off their schedule. They are used to being fed McDonalds daily on demand and are having much angst at being reintroduced to the concept of "vegetables BEFORE dessert". In addition, they remain in withdrawal from having a host of relatives who come running at the use of the phrase "COME WATCH ME!!!" instead of a Mom who is all, "I'm doing the laundry - get your brother to watch..."

Re-entry is always difficult.


We are just about to transition our littlest to the "Big Girl Bed" so I figured this one was worth a revisit.....


Last Thursday, following Snoodie's fourth attempt to launch himself headfirst from the confines of his crib, David and I decided it was finally time for the move to the BIG BOY BED.

And thus, the horror began.

Having consulted a series of internet-based expert advisors on how to proceed with such an epic undertaking, I decided to reveal the Big Boy Bed early in the afternoon to get Snoodie used to the concept. I brought him to his room and began clapping my hands and smiling like a demented used car salesman as I showed him his new digs:

"Snoodie is such a big boy that he gets to sleep in his very own Big! Boy! Bed! It's gonna be awesome!" 

Snoodie seemed completely down with the program. He jumped onto the bed, rolled about enthusiastically, and even pulled Blue Bear close for some hard core snuggle time. I was pretty sure we were in business!

As evening fell (and again on orders from the internet-based advice givers) I ran through our bedtime ritual with military precision. After bath and books and cuddles I placed El Snoodo gently down upon the Big Boy Bed. After dimming the lights, I looked my son deep in the eyes and carefully yet lovingly explained,

"This is your first night in your Big Boy Bed! Now it is time for night-night and I want you to close your eyes and go to sleep. Mommy loves you."

Snoodie gazed back at me as if to say,

"I understand completely, mother darling. I guess this means I'll see you in the morning."

I shut the door and smiled to myself, secure in my stone-cold mothering badass-i-tude... which point I was almost knocked over by Snoodie speeding past me on his way out the door, laughing hysterically. He reached the living room and in his jubilation began performing an elaborate "happy feet" dance. The gleam in his eyes told me that I had made a MAJOR miscalculation.

The Snood was drunk with freedom; the newfound ability to escape the confines of his bed appeared to be coursing through his veins like a drug.

And Snoodie wanted more.

Summoning my inner Supernanny, I blank-faced my son's increasingly complex footwork and hauled him back to bed without comment. I looked him in the eyes, delivered a firm "Night-Night!" and turned to leave.

Snoodie bested his time to the living room on his second escape and was spinning in manic circles by the time I scooped him up to put him back in bed again.

And again.

And again.

CUT TO: 2 and 1/2 hours later.

Snood and I are still at it. His exuberant escapes have become decidedly less exuberant over the course of the night, but still he is managing to go through the motions.

Like any good addict, the Snood seems determined to recapture the magic high of that first escape. He staggers out of bed again and again towards the living room, the ritual becoming increasingly desperate with each repetition.

But still it goes on.

Towards the end of the evening, Snoodie was limping forth from his room, too tired to even walk a straight line. As I watched this sorry display I turned to David and said,

"You realize that in the movie version of this we are the bad guys, right? The kid who just won't go down and keeps on staggering to his feet no matter what the big guys throw at him - HE'S THE HERO!"

David took this in with a concerned look on his face before my sister (who had observed our war of the wills from start to finish) chimed in,

"Not if the movie is Fatal Attraction. Then it's like when you keep thinking Glenn Close is dead, but instead she keeps on rearing back up and trying to kill Michael Douglas and his wife. In that case, you two AREN'T the villains, you're just the terrified victims of a sociopath's unrelenting rampage."

That made us feel better.

By 10pm Snoodie had given up and fallen asleep in bed, clutching Blue Bear lovingly and even snoring quietly. Since then, David and I have attempted to up our game each night in hopes of making the whole undertaking less fraught, but the Snood has matched us at every turn with his seemingly unlimited tactical skill.

When we added a doorknob cover so that he could no longer open the door, the Snood began crashing objects in his room with extreme prejudice until we got worried and opened the door to check on him. When we switched over to a baby gate at the doorway he started pitching his beloved Blue Bear into the hallway and then pathetically begging for his return.

I gotta hand it to the kid - he's good.

Still, we've managed to stay the course. Two days into the Big Boy Bed transition I was literally begging David to let me move Snoodie back to the crib, but my husband held firm:

"There's too much blood on the sand at this point," he explained. "We've got no choice but to hold the beach."

And (husband's favorite phrase alert!) he was right. The nights since have gotten easier. We're getting our time from bedtime to sleep down by about an hour each night. And today for the first time I am proud to announce that Snoodie NAPPED IN THE BIG BOY BED!!!

Ah, Sweet Victory!

Sure, it took two-and-a-half hours, but who's counting?