The process of putting Quinn to sleep was once so very simple. Our scenario after 7:00pm was what every parent wished for and we clearly took it for granted. I would scoff at the poor, desperate, exhausted parents on Supernanny and thank God that I was lucky enough to have a scenario nothing of the sort. Our night time routine began with a bottle of milk, a warm bath, the pressing of the "on" button on the music machine (how has it not run out of batteries yet!?) We would lay our bundle of toddler joy in her crib, give her a kiss goodnight and it was smooth sailing until six or 7:30 the next morning. Some nights we would drink beer on the porch, others we would fall asleep on the couch watching Community or Hell's Kitchen. Oh, the good old days....
AND NOW OUR LIVES AFTER 8:00PM ARE FILLED WITH FRUSTRATION AND DESPAIR! PURE DESPERATION FOR WHAT USED TO BE! WHAT HAPPENED?! OH, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED. WE BOUGHT HER A BIG GIRL BED! WE THOUGHT SHE WAS READY TO HAVE A LITTLE INDEPENDENCE! WELL, WE WERE WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!
Screaming, crying, yelling, random excuses....it's what our household consists of when the sun goes down and when the adult time is supposed to begin. There are rules to getting her to stay in that tiny, good for nothing bed and they go a little something like this.
Step 1: Brush her teeth. HAHA! We'll be lucky if this kid even HAS teeth in a year or two. Usually brushing her teeth requires some creative bargaining. "Who do you want to brush your teeth? Thumper or your cat? Daddy? You want him to do it? Wait, you're not pointing at Daddy. Oh, you want the pillow to brush your teeth? Uhh...okay...let's...uh...figure this out..I think I can make this happen ::insert visual of mom using an adult sized pillow to brush a toddler's teeth here:::" Desperate times call for desperate measures that require inanimate objects to do the job, however, our meager attempts often result in WWF inpsired maneuvers; one parent bear hugging her to keep her tiny, hulk like arms from flailing around while the other one frantically shoves the tooth brush inside of her miniature mouth and vigorously tries to get the job done in 30 seconds or less. How can such little teeth be so hard to brush quickly!?!? The more she yells the easier it is to get the molars. Oh shit, NO! SHE IS CLENCHING HER TEETH DOWN. NO! Someone bring the jaws of life to get the tooth brush out of there! NOOOOOOOOOOO. NOOO WE ARE LOSING IT!!!!!!!!!!! ITS GONE!!! THE BRUSH IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!
Once the "teeth brushing" ends, we move onto..
Step 2: Passy treasure hunting. In the beginning, I was a bit hesitant about letting her use passies. I heard stories from my mom about how I wouldn't give them up until I was four. But eventually we caved in. What was the big deal? They are comforting to her and provide a feeling of saftey and security. She likes them! Hmm, wait...."like" probably isn't the right word. OBSESSED, COMPULSIVE, PASSY HOARDER are more appropriate adjectives. Quinn needs to be holding like 17 passies at all times. And as much as she pretends that every number is the number "two" when we are trying to teach her to count, I know she is just playing dumb. You know that I have more than two fingers, Quinn. You're LYING! We know you can secretly count because if ONE of those passies is missing, all hell breaks loose. She knows where they are at all times! She has specific spots in her bed where the passies live and procreate. Where are all of these coming from!?! I don't even remember buying all of these!! She keeps one in her mouth, one in each hand, three under her pillow, two in the crevices where the bed siding meets the mattress. It's calculated madness! In order for the steps to get her to sleep continue, all passies must be in their correct places, and if they aren't, hahahhaha good luck!!!!!!!!!!!
Step 3: Thumper. She loves Thumper. She can't go anywhere without it. What started as an random purchase at the Disney store in Dallas now turns our lives upside down and inside out. Quinn loves that bunny so much. She NEEDS that bunny. It does everything with her and we can never let anything happen to it! We were so paranoid about something happening to Thumper that we decided to buy her a backup Thumper. BAD IDEA. Now we have to worry about two of these dolls one day getting eaten by a dog, left at a restaurant (Thumper spent the night at Which Which once,) getting stolen by another rabid toddler, the detrimental possibilities are endless! Sometimes I lay in bed at night, anxiety ridden obsessively thinking about what life would be like without Thumper(s). At night time, one thumper needs to be placed in front of her in bed while the other one lays behind her in a spooning position. The patchwork blanket must cover all of them while only one of them can share the pillow with her. Their feet must not be covered either. You should see us trying to get these stuffed animals and child in the right positions. It's madness. It's stressful. Panic attacks are sometimes involved. Mike will leave the room dripping with sweat, his hair disheveled, a 5 o'clock shadow looming atop his sullen face, bags under his eyes...
Step 4: Turn the lights off, tell her good night, pray that she says "night night" back because that usually means she will go to sleep right away. But if she DOESN'T say goodnight right away, GET READY FOR A NIGHT OF HELL! Who needs to work out three times a week when you can run up and down two flights of stairs and wrestle a 30lb toddler into her bed twenty times a night??? THIS GUY!! The excuses that she comes up with are exausting yet hysterical. Sometimes we have to shield our faces and hide our laughter. Here are some of the things that she comes out of her room at night to tell us:
"Mommy, where are passies!?!" (god forbid one of them isn't in the correct location!)
"Mommy, MONSTERS!! Over der!!" (How do you even know what monsters are!?)
"Mommy, I see a window!" (She is very observant!)
"Mommy, I'm a girl!" (Again, very observant!)
"Mommy, I love daddy" (I love daddy too but you are making it difficult for us to uphold a normal relationship which may have long term effects. Just kidding. I didn't really tell her that. Yet.)
"Mommy, I have friends." (No one wants to be friends with someone who is nocturnal, Quinn.)
"Mommy, I pooped." (And...you took it out of your diaper and smeared it into your hair. Wonderful. Just great.)
After this two or three hour process, eventually she wears herself out enough to pass out in a sweet, angelic state, holding her thumpers and her loads of passies while her tiny strands of perfect hair flutter in the cool breeze of the fan. And any hope of spending time with my handsome man has been flushed down the toilet, as by this point, one of us has passed out on the couch, mouth wide open, drooling and snoring.
And although this process is draining, it will result in great stories one day when she has kids who do the same thing. We love her, she keeps us on our toes. Our tired, tired toes.