Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life goes on after 8 PM

Ava discovered this week that Mommy and Daddy stay awake long after her 8PM bedtime. How? She never went to sleep. Actually, as I write this blog, she is up in her room stomping around and yelling that she needs toilet paper to wipe her eyes (I've already given her about half a roll), because she's crying... because I closed her bedroom door... because she kept sneaking out. It's a snowball effect, really.

It all started Sunday night. I put Jax to bed a little after seven. Then, we started the routine with Ava: bath, jammies, brush hair, brush teeth, read scriptures, pray, read a book, sing, lights out. We've been doing it the same way since she was a baby. However, I think, until this week, she thought we went to bed soon after she did. Little did she know, we stayed up for several more hours working, reading... and sometimes, yes sometimes, eating ice cream. She was none-the-wiser and we were okay with that. This week, she's the-wiser. The past two nights she's come up with every excuse to come downstairs: she has to ask me something, she needs a hug, she needs a Care Bear, she wants us to tell her something (nothing in particular, just something), she wants to know about planets, I forgot to give her an Eskimo kiss, there's a tag in her jammies, does Daddy have to go to school tomorrow?, etc. There's so much more. Each time, we march her back up to her room, explain why it's so important she go to bed (you need energy, you don't want to get sick, it's time for all little girls to go to bed, Mommy and Daddy are going to bed soon, are you going to make good choices?) And each time we explain that if she didn't stay in bed we'd have to close her door (she prefers it open, I think, so she can see us if and when we come upstairs). Eventually, we close the door. Little stinker can open it! Sunday, she didn't go to sleep until almost midnight. Monday, 11. Tonight, who knows?!

However, I must give her credit for ingenuity because tonight after her normal round of excuses and our normal marching her back up to her room routine, she came downstairs naked. Andy was worried that maybe she'd had an accident. Nope. Turns out she didn't like the way her pull-up (she wears them only at bedtime) felt, so she needed to take it off... and since said pull-up was under her jammies, those came off too. So, I take her upstairs, re-pull-up and re-clothe her, tuck her in, explain once again why it's so important she sleep and give her a kiss and hug. She promises to stay in bed. Five minutes later, she's downstairs. So, we do something we've never done before and have only read about in parenting books. Put the gate up. Ugh, I feel terrible! She's not an animal in need of a cage, just a stubborn (read: smart) little girl. But, all the parenting books say it works. I'm not convinced yet. I went upstairs a few minutes before I began writing this blog and she was standing in her doorway (behind the gate) with a microphone in one hand and a maraca in the other. Apparently, she's performing in protest of the gate.

It's gonna be a loooong night...

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