Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bribery v. Threats

Today you both woke up around 5am. The heat is shut off in our building, so our apartment is pretty cold. Andrew, your room is a little peninsula into the courtyard, so your room is probably 10 degrees colder than ours. So you wake up. You would probably wake up anyway, but at least now you have an excuse.

While we are on the subject, I thought I would let you know about your dad's tactic v. my tactic to getting you to sleep through the night.

When your dad was out of town last week, I knew that I had to rule the Nights. Well, Baby Will is really the King, but I had to at least have dominion over you.

Around midnight, you went into this weird screaming fit you had been experimenting with the preceeding few days. Locking you into your room doesn't solve the problem: you bang on the door as you scream at the top of your lungs, awakening Baby Will (and, oh yeah, probably everyone else above and below us). It is not even close to being as charming as I have described. I am a little surprised no on has complained or called the police. Visions flitted into my mind of how I could get you to sh** up (you were begging me to use those words against you, just begging me!).

I envisioned a humane strap that would secure you to the bed. This is my way of gently saying that I wanted to tie you down.

One inviolable rule of Parenting is that if Mommy Dearest did it, you really can't do it yourself. So, my mind moved on to other ways to achieve my ends.

I knew it had to be something that would contain you and keep me and Will from being disturbed by you, and something I could actually carry out. This is what I thought of next, and I think it was brilliant:

"If you keep screaming like this, tomorrow I am going to the store. I will by a baby crib and I will put it far away across the apartment in the computer room. I will put you in that crib and you will not be able to get out and I will not be able to hear you scream. You will sleep there from tomorrow on if you do not stop screaming right now."

I thought that I would really do it. In the light of day, it might not have been a good idea, since you would probably break your neck climbing out of the crib and I would be too paranoid to us a crib tent. You would have been on a mattress in the computer room.

Well, my will was not tested, since luckily the threat was enough. I did not hear another sound out of you for the next few nights. When your dad returned, so did your midnight banshee routine. This was Daddy's approach:

I found a crudely drawn chart. On one side was a stick-figure bed, on the other a series of boxes. If you slept through the night for seven nights, Daddy would buy you a Doc Hudson car.

The Bribe Approach was also successful. You were so excited to get underway with acquiring Doc that you jumped right into bed. You have failed to sleep through the night on occassion since then, but no more screaming.

Happily, right now you are drugged. You are sick so we had to do it. Hopefully you will be better tomorrow. I would sure hate it if you slept from 9am to 1pm and then lay listlessly on the couch for the rest of the evening again.

Actually, when the Tylenol was working its evil magic, you were in a great mood and back to your bubbly self. We took two baths, you played basketball with Daddy, you went to McDonalds with Papa (while I took Will to the dr) and even thanked Papa for playing with you. You swam the goldfish crackers into your mouth while you watched your shows under the influence of a 101 degree temperature. You are the cutest little thing. Just please stay asleep at night.


lynne said...

i love that picture, alexandra. i am sure that if lily were to draw me it would look quite a bit like that. i miss you!

Tat said...

Yes, hilarious photo. Sleep deprivation, I think, is the hardest thing about being a young parent. My heart really goes out to you. (And have you asked A's doctor about his sleeping patterns? They seem way on the abnormal side of the range.)

Monica Merced Rich said...

You've probably thought of it already, but could he possibly be experiencing night terrors? Abby had those when she was younger and we found a relatively easy way of helping her overcome them.

Michelle said...

I'm glad Andrew's doing better than he was last week. The poor thing, and you too...poor thing. I'm glad Brig's back. Damon had gone through phases of waking up...he always gets over it.

Lyndsay said...

So which will it be: threats or bribes? I'm terrified that I'll always be the mean(militaristic) parent and Erik will be the softy (briber). I kind of think it's unavoidable, actually.

Paul & Sarah said...

I think that picture fits me too if my sleep is ever disturbed in the middle of the night. I hope Andrew figures out soon how great sleeping is. If bribes work, then all the better! It's always nicer with two parents anyways.

Lauren said...

Sounds brutal - it's hard when you are in an apt and you can't let your kids cry it out (I've had nights were I let the kids watch Dora at 2 am to calm them down)!

I hope Andrew is feeling better and you get some sleep!

Audrey said...

The sticker chart is working for us too. Owen is trying to earn a bicycle and one of his daily tasks is to go to sleep on time (which includes sleeping all night). As he starts in on his nightly shenanigans we gently remind him are you sure you don't want your bicycle??