August 23, 2006

Bedtime Blues

"Wow," Party Girl whispers, as I set a bowl of spaghetti in front of her. "Wow," a little louder. While it is impressive that it's being served in a (plastic) bowl with a baby-sized fork (since she's become semi-responsible with dishware) I feel as if I'm serving her filet mignon. She digs in.

It's late. We've spent the day at the zoo where she tried to climb into the tortoise exhibit, got chewed on by a goat, and rode the train three times. She's slightly less inclined to wander off or crash into things than last month, so I let her walk much of the way. When her dad came home, he took her and her sister out and she spent an hour chasing our cats around the backyard and falling off the slide. It's been a big day for a toddler.

After dinner, I clean her up, change her clothes and sweep her up to bed. We sit in the rocker looking at books. First comes Moo, Baa, La La La. PG calls it Baa! No No No! She loves to let me read it through the first time, then she reads it backwards recalling the animal sounds she knows. Next comes Time for Bed and finally, Goodnight Moon. We say this one quietly, pointing out all the pictures. Party Girl gets quieter and quieter and when the old rabbit-lady makes her appearance, PG whispers Hush.

I tuck her back into my elbow and reach for her bottle. She sucks down a couple of sips, then sits up.

"Ni-ni." She squirms in my arms.

"Don't you want your bottle?" I ask.

"Ni-ni!" She demands.

"You don't want to rock, sweetie pie?" I plead.

"Ni-ni!!" Insistent now.

I lay her in her bed and she turns her head and ignores me. I tiptoe out.

I know, I know, I should be happy. But my mama's heart hurts a little. Doesn't my baby need me at bedtime anymore? Just a few nights ago we were singing Twinkle, Twinkle together, her singing along with me in her high-pitched voice, trying to form words to match my own. I nuzzled her under her neck and she patted my cheeks, her baby blues looking up at me with love. Now suddenly she was demanding to be put in her crib without any of that. What's a mom to do?

As soon as I hit the last step coming downstairs, I heard it: a wail. Mah-mah!!

A-ha! She does need me. I ran back up, swooped her up and sat in the rocker.

"Book!" She insisted.

"No, PG. No more books tonight."


"No, books went night night. Let's rock."

She sat up, looked around and pointed to her basket of dolls in the corner.


I realized her lovey wasn't in her crib, so I went and got it from her basket. I snuggled back in to the rocker, ready to sing.

"Book." She looked at me again.

"No, honey. Books are all done. Rocky time."

"Ni-ni." She said, and squirmed in my arms.

I'd been played. She had no intention of giving me my cuddle time, it was just a ruse to get another book out of me, or maybe some playtime in her room.

Tonight we tried again. Jammies, books, cuddle.

"Ni-ni!" She exclaimed.

"Okay, Party Girl. Night-night. Mama loves you." I kissed her cheek and put her in her crib. Then I walked out, but turned to peek back in.

She laid on her tummy for a minute and seemed to consider things. Then she sat up and looked around the room. She rubbed her hair, checked out Blue on her hand-me-down jammies, then stood up.

"Mah-mah!" She shrieked, as if Blue herself had jumped off her shirt and bitten her. "Mah-mah!"

I waited a minute. She popped her paci back in her mouth and almost seemed a little smug, like she was congratulating herself on a great yell. I waited her out.

She sat down and started fussing a little. Mama. Mama. Bay-bee ki! Bay-bee ki! Indeed, I heard the baby crying, but baby didn't seem to be in much distress, so I stood a minute more.

She laid down on her tummy. Book? Book? She asked the bunnies on her wall.

Within a minute she was asleep.

As the president once said, fool me once...or something.

I may have one-upped her tonight, but really? I want my cuddling time back.


Blogger Margaret said...

Ouch. Looks like you're going to have to find a way to do some cuddling in between books or something. PG knows what she wants and when she wants it. But then again, bedtime needs come and go... the cuddling might come back yet!

August 23, 2006 7:38 AM  
Blogger Jenn (formerly gibby23roarof84) said...

Little A, who steadfastly has refused to cuddle with me for her entire little life, has now figured out how to get me. When I walk back in there to pick up her paci that she gleefully tosses on the floor each night, she holds her arms up and when I pick her up, she snuggles right into me. Like she knows I can't put her down...her little finger is going to start hurting from me being tied there so tight.

August 23, 2006 10:14 AM  

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