Sophie has always been our Little Girl with the Curl. When she's good, she's very, very good. And when she's bad, she's horrid. There is no in-between with Sophs. No so-so. No sort of. It's all or nothing. Add to that aspect of her personality a hearty dose of mule-headedness, and there you have it: A child who either is the sweetest blessing ever - helpful and determined (in the best possible way). Or one who makes you shoot whiskey in the closet.
Our latest issue has to do with bedtime.
The reason Sophie remained in a crib until a few months shy of her fourth birthday is because I knew how she would react to her emancipation. Since birth, Sophie has always been a child who when she can't get out of bed (or thinks she can't), doesn't try to. She stays snug as a bug, snoozing like a little blanket-sniffing angel the whole night through. On the flip side, when she knows she can get up, she does. Sometimes sneakily. Sometimes blatantly. Over and over. Until her mother and father are just this side of mental.
When I say we've tried everything to curtail this behavior, I mean we've tried everything.
-She's lost privileges.
-She's had her favorite blanket and buddies taken away.
-She's participated in discussions about how God would be displeased by her disobedience.
-She's had her fanny tanned.
-She's been put back in the bed, without us saying so much as boo to her - no attention, even negative, extended. Just marched silently back to bed.
-She's even had a very unpleasant date with some cayenne pepper. The "bad association" thing worked for a few weeks, then it wore off. Now sometimes when she gets out of bed, she has the audacity to request the cayenne pepper. Last night when she appeared before us for the trillionth time, she said, "Um, maybe you should just cayenne me." (Jen, it reminded me of Katie's "I eat salsa!" comment.)
On the other hand, we've tried positive reinforcement for nights spent in the bed. (There haven't really been any of those lately.) Short of duct-taping her to the headboard, I'm pretty much at a loss.
(*Look at the dark circles around her eyes! She's exhausted, for Pete's sake!)
Admittedly, it bothers me more than it does Russell. For one thing, that's just the way I'm built. Maybe it's the Drill Sargeant in me; I'm more frustrated by bad behavior than he is. But really, it's that I just despise spending the ONE quiet, kid-less time of my day wrangling a child back to bed. Getting all angry and sweaty and pop-a-vein-in-my-forehead-y, when I should be relaxing on the couch. Spending time with my husband, watching my fluff tv on the DVR and drinking a cup of hot cocoa.
It's the principal of the matter. Submit, child!
Russ is more laid-back on the subject. On most every subject, for that matter. He agrees that we need to nix this belligerence in the bud, but really, he's able to tune most stuff out. And, when he goes to bed, he goes to sleep. BAM. Lights out, about three seconds after his head hits the pillow. Complete oblivion to anything that might be occurring around him. Booming thunder, tornadoes, children shredding toilet paper in the bathroom - zzzzzzzz.
I'm a light sleeper, always have been. And try as I might, I just can't relax and drift off knowing Sophie is trolling the house - turning on lights, opening doors, gathering up pillows and blankets from every room, rearranging the cans in the pantry, and "gluing" broken things back together with Chapstick and toothpaste (you think I'm kidding).
I'm not able to zone out and pretend she's in bed when I know she's not.
So, what do I do? Take some Ambien and, SURPRISE!, behold with splendor the new wing added onto the house in the morning?
Seriously, do any of you have any Night Creepers, and if so, do you have any advice for keeping them safely PUT during the night? We've tossed around the idea of locking her door (and then unlocking it as soon as she falls asleep), but her room is attached to a bathroom with a slide "pocket door", which doesn't lock. We'd have to barricade that exit with something heavy, which would probably cause us (and by "us", I mean Russell) to pop a hernia every time we had to move it back and forth.
Aye-yi-yi, I'm tired.