Monday, January 24, 2011

Why I Love My Toddler... In His Crib.

On my new years post, I mentioned my toddler, C, I and warned you that you would at least see pictures of him. Here it is, not even February yet, and you're seeing an entire post about him.

The other night I came home late from writers group, just in time for my husband to leave for nightshift. I don't usually come home late from anything because of the whole waking up at dawn thing my toddler does, but hey, there are friends there that I rarely get to see in any other capacity and I wrote a long scene that you might see as a #flashfriday post soon.

Anyway, when I walked in I saw that C had woken up and somehow, magically, ended up sleeping in our bed. For those of you who don't know, many families sleep with all the young children in the same bed as the parents. It's called a family bed, and I'm all for that because babies love to be near you and I've read some research that says it can help kids develop better sleeping patterns. We were happy to have a family bed until sometime after 12 months, when C had learned not only how to walk, but how to run, climb, and poke us in the face until we woke up in the middle of the night. In comparison, C now asks to get in his crib at bed time, falls asleep with nary a peep, and usually if he wakes up and doesn't actually need anything, he'll play with his stuffed animals until either he falls back asleep or the sun and I wake up.

I like sleeping, so when I saw the baby sleeping in the bed, I decided I would move him back once my husband went to work. The only problem with that plan was that my husband's alarm wasn't scheduled to go off for another 15 minutes, and I was tired. I lay down. I cuddled my baby and smiled to myself to hold him in my arms. Then C tried to turn 90 degrees and kicked me in the stomach.

That was ok. I would absolutely, positively move him back to the crib after my husband was done waking up and making noise getting ready for work. In the meantime, I rolled unto my stomach to protect my vital organs. After that, I remember my husband's alarm and all the bustle that accompanies it, but by then I was so comfortable, and C was so comfortable, and I hadn't been kicked recently.

Much later, I woke up to a poke. C was sitting up, poking my ribs and grinning widely. I told him to go to sleep, which is what I always do if he's playing in his crib. Poke. I try cuddling him again, but like a flopping fish figting for its life, he elbows me in the chest and sits up again. Poke. This time he giggles maniacly. I see that it's dark outside, but I think to myself that maybe it's close to his allowed wake-up time. After all, he didn't sleep well, or else he'd still be in his crib, right? So he should be tired. He should sleep in.

I check the time. Two hours before dawn. Poke. I might have grumbled some words that toddlers aren't supposed to hear as I got up out of bed and carried him to his crib. I pat his head, put a blanket around his shoulders, and showed him that his favorite stuffed toy was in there with him. He whined a little, but two hours is two hours, and I went back to sleep.

Half an hour before dawn. I think he slept, but now he is really whining because he is awake and knows it's almost time to get up. I tell him to play with his toys, and I formulate a plan to grill my husband on exactly what crisis led to C leaving the crib in the first place. At this point it is not just me being a stickler for the wake-up time rule. I feel morning sickness threatening to rear its head if I even move, and I know that if I can sleep until my regular wake up time, it might reduce itself to a minor grumbling.

Half an hour later the morning sickness is gone and we get up for our regular eating routine, at which point my husband calls, and I'm trying really hard to be mad at him because I can't be mad at C and the only thing I did wrong was wait until 5am to put C back in his crib. But then my husband, perhaps sensing my annoyance, sings to me the ballad of how our wittle baby boy was crying, which in all fairness is different than whining, and his mommy wasn't here to comfort him so he clung to daddy and suckered him into being taken to the family bed. Daaaaaaw.

But still, no family bed for C! Maybe the next baby will wait longer before he or she starts poking us in the face. Like, 18 months. (Yeah, right.)

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