As we speak, Ryan is wrestling Norah. And Norah is winning, as far as I can tell. It's bedtime, and this is one area that we definitely get an F in.
First, let me describe our friends Ralph and Kim to you. They have a little boy the same age as Norah-- Little Ralphie. We were at Ralph's parents' not too long ago for our other friends' child's birthday, and bedtime neared. Here's how it went down:
The time is 7:30 pm.
Kim: I think it's almost bedtime.
Little Ralphie is put into his pajamas.
Ralph: Ok, goodnight, little man.
Kim goes downstairs, places little Ralphie-- still awake-- into the pack 'n play. She comes upstairs and turns on their video monitor.
Ryan and Heather look at each other, wide-eyed.
Now, here's how it goes in our house.
The time is anywhere between 8:00 and 9:00 pm.
Heather: I think we'd better try to get her to relax.
Ryan: I'll go get a blanket.
Ryan brings out a blanket to the couch.
Heather: Let's turn on a cartoon.
Ryan: They all suck.
Heather: Tough; just pick one.
Some time passes as Ryan and Heather browse through the on-demand cartoon offerings, which have remained the same for weeks.
Heather: Norah wants a ba-ba?
Norah: Ba! Ba!
15 minutes later.
Ryan: All right. We need to do a black out.
Norah: Dibba dibba!
The TV and lights are all turned off. All is quiet for a moment.
Norah: A-ya ya! Ba ba ba ba BA!
Ryan: No-no, honey. Shhhh, nigh nigh.
Norah throws Bear Bear ahead of her and crawls to Heather on the couch.
Heather: Shhhhh, nigh nigh.
Norah wrestles. Pulls Heather's hair. Throws her Bear Bear back over to Ryan and starts to make her way to the other side of the couch.
Ryan: Can we get a little juice, Mommy?
5 minutes pass.
Ryan: Ok, honey, shhhh, nigh nigh.
Norah points to Ryan's nose, eyes, and mouth.
Norah: No, eye, mo.
Norah looks over to Heather and starts to wiggle again.
Heather gets up and leaves, as she feels Norah is too distracted by having the option to crawl back to Mom.
10 minutes pass. Norah falls asleep on Ryan. Ryan brings Norah to the crib and lies her down.
As you can see, we have slightly different approaches. And ours sucks. And we're both well aware of it. So, you're probably wondering, why the hell don't we do something different? Good question.
I loathe CIO (Cry it Out). I can't stand to hear my baby scream desperately, not understanding why her mom and dad aren't coming to her side to comfort her; only knowing that she's upset and no one is helping. She's standing in her crib, shrieking for MA MA MA and DA DA DA, and is only answered by silence.
Dramatic much? Well, I am. But, honestly, I don't like it. Ryan, on the other hand, would prefer to give it a shot. I don't blame him-- it gets old. And it's a good thing to teach children how to self-sooth. I know all this logically. And I don't judge CIOers (much). But I can't do it.
So, we are going to sort of compromise. We're devising a new bedtime strategy. Operation: Be like Ralph and Kim. More details to come.