What's wrong with this picture?
The language explosion in the second year of life is amazing. We have video of Sabrina on her second birthday in April, and while she's able to talk pretty well, the last few months have seen her increase her vocabulary by leaps and bounds. Short sentences come flooding out of her mouth now at an almost Sarah Palin level of comprehension. (OK, OK, I know some of you like Sarah Palin and I admit comparing her to a toddler isn't fair. One of them is only now learning about the world and using newly developed language skills to form simple sentences, and the other one is a toddler.) But we've now reached a new level: Negotiation.
Bedtime in our home as I like to define it is the period of time between getting Sabrina's pajamas on and enjoying a glass of wine on the couch. Sometimes it's quick and painless, and sometimes...well sometimes it isn't. On those occasions that period can be filled with crying, screaming, and stomping of feet, and that's just from me and Gregg. When she doesn't want to go to bed, she let's you know it. Last night, however, a different scene was set.
The normal routine is pajamas, teeth cleaning ("Brusha-Brusha"), saying good night to Papa, quiet reading of a bedtime story (or two or three) in her room, lights out, one or two songs, and off to sleep. Since Gregg cooks the dinners, my job is the story-song-sleep bit. I'll usually sit in the room with her for a little bit until I'm sure she's about to head off to sleep and then quietly step out. If you don't hear anything from her within about a minute, you're golden and Malbec here I come. Otherwise, let the games begin.
Last night I tip toed out of the room, shut the door, and headed down the hall. I stopped and waited to see which way tonight was going to go. After about a minute, her door opened a crack and she stood there in her most innocent pose wearing her Frog Princess nightgown and clutching her blanket. Silent.
I walked over and she didn't come out of her doorway but just stood there. I bent down and gave her a kiss and said "What's the matter Chipmunk?".
"Daddy, I can't sleep anymore."
"Well you haven't been to sleep yet, so I think you should try again."
"Um, I can't sleep anymore."
You know how every action movie has that inevitable scene where the hero is trying to diffuse the bomb and it's down to cutting the red or blue wire, and you hold your breath knowing if he cuts the wrong one all hell will break loose? That's what went through my mind as I cut the parental blue wire by taking her hand and saying, "Well let's go back in bed and see if you can sleep some more". I braced for a tantrum, or at least a scream, but none came. Silence as we walked back into the dark room towards the bed.
"Daddy?", she said softly, now sitting on the bed.
"I don't want to go to bed."
"I know that, but everybody is sleeping because it's night time, and that's what we do at night."
"Is Ripley sleeping?"
"Yes, Ripley is sleeping."
"Is Chase sleeping?"
"Yes, Chase is sleeping too."
"Is..." We now launch into a list of almost every person we know and what their sleep status is at the moment. I realize she's stalling, but we're back to cutting the blue wire. Let her ramble and look for a way to get her back in bed, or cut her off and risk her wrath? When we get into inanimate objects, I make my move.
"Is moon and stars sleeping?" A-ha! She messed up--she could have started on a long list of Sesame Street characters and kept this up all night, but instead she asked an open ended question. I pounced on her inexperienced negotiating skills.
"No the moon and stars are up in the sky watching us while we sleep to help us have good dreams. Here why don't you lay back down and I'll tuck you in." Take that! I bet her head is spinning on her rookie mistake. But wait...she's pulling the trump card...the most cliched, hackneyed phrase in the history of the war on bedtime...her head half way to the pillow, she looked up at me and calmly checkmated her opponent by saying...
"Daddy I have a drink?"
Noooo! She's taken this thing nuclear! Before I even realized I'd swallowed the bait she was sitting straight up and I was half way to the door to get a cup of water. How did this happen?
She did lay back down after the water, and three choruses of Winnie the Pooh's theme song, but reappeared at her door several times after I'd snuck out and we had to repeat selected portions of our dialogue. Gregg was laying in bed watching TV, and getting ready to go to sleep early anyway, so all three of us won in our own way. Sabrina got to go cuddle with Papa, Gregg got a quiet night cuddling with Sabrina as they fell to sleep together, and I...I got what I wanted in the first place. An evening to myself with a glass of vino...Hmmmmmm.
Late night shenanigans make for a sleepy breakfast.