According to parenting books, advice online, and live feedback from others, I’ve done a disastrous job at forming good bedtime habits for my daughter.
I admit, I took the lazy approach to bedtime, and did not stand my ground when Georgia began to protest right around the time she turned 2, mostly due to us taking away her binky. Before that, putting her to bed was a dream most of the time. A story and a smooch, she was good to go! We never really had that sleep deprivation that people speak about when discussine new babies or newborns. Yes, the actual newborn age was hard, but it was not because we were not getting enough sleep.
So anyway. back to my lazy mom story. In March/April right after Georgia’s second birthday, we decided to quit the binky cold turkey…it was hell for three days. Like seriously. My fist mistake was telling Georgia that I lost it.She frantically started searching under couches, in her toybox, in cabinets. “Mommy, please! Help me find binky!” she desperately cried while looking under the couch. I couldn’t take the pathetic, sad look on her face. I LIED to her and she was asking for my help. Me. Her mother. The savior of all things gone wrong.
My heart broke with guilt, and I desperately looked around for someone else to blame.
“Georgia, it is not lost. Buckley ate it. I did not want to tell you, because I did not want you to be mad at Buck”
She stared at me, and I swear a moment of almost relief came upon her face..as if maybe there was a chance for her to find it!
She marches over to poor clueless Buckley.
“Buck, why you eat my binky? Hey Buck, get my binky out of dere!”
Buck just licked her face, and she sort of gave me the side eye. I could tell she was mad at him. Oh brother!
“Mom why Buckee do dat?”
“It was an accident,” I say.
“Member when I had accident I pooped in the bathtub?”
Great! An out to this binky conversation!
We being talking about how accidents are okay, and how they happen sometimes…blah blah blah…binky was forgotten for the day.
But not at night.
Oh. My. God. The SCREAMING.
Georgia has never been a screamer. I can think of about 3 times where she had a real honest to god toddler temper tantrum. Usually when she is grumpy, she just TELLS me she is grumpy and asks “to relax on the couch”
Relaxing on the couch consists of pillow, milk, and blankie, and mickey mouse clubhouse. We’re good to go from there.
So anyway, Chris and I were not used to this kind of behavior. We brought her in bed with us on the first night without binky, and just held her while she screamed and screamed, and screamed for hours…and hours… and hours…
“I’M GOING FOR THE BINKY RESERVE!” Chris yells at me over the wailing. I’m like crying at this point because I don’t know how to calm Georgia down and I could tell Chris was really upset which was making me more upset.
“NO!” I yell back.
‘ DON”T DO IT! JUST HOLD MY HAND!! WE’LL GET THROUGH THIS!!!”
Chris nods and we both just close our eyes and try to drown out Georgia’s horriffic screams. ““MOOOOMMMMYYYYYY MY BINKKKYYYYY PLLLLEEEEASEEEEE MOMMY MOMMY HELP MEEEEEE HEEEEEELP MEEEEEEEEE!”
hiccup hiccup, violent cough from crying so bad.
Jesus fucking christ? Where is the goddamn binky?
I jump up. Chris grabs my arm.
“Stay down! We’ll regret it in the morning! JUST STAY DOWN!”
“DAAAAAAAADDDYYYYYY MOMMMMYYYYYY AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” ‘ AHHHHHHHHHHHHH” “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH HEEEEEELP……….!!!!!!!”
Now it is dawn. Birds are chirping.
I peek open one eye. Georgia is sleeping.
I look at Chris.
He looks at me.
We survived the first night without binky! Yippie.
So anyway, this exact same scenario happens for the next two nights. Ungodly screaming. It was never like this when she was an infant. It totally sucked ass.
On the fourth night, when I am rocking G and reading her story she puts her hands on my cheeks and says ” Mama, can I sleep in your green room again?”
I tell her yes, but remind her that there are no more binkys in my room.
“No more binky. Buckley ate dem”.
Humm…this seems promising. I take her in my room and we fall asleep together.
And now, almost four months later, to the horror of good parents everywhere-my child sleeps in bed with my husband and me.
Now I can see where people are like WTF, she never slept with you and now you’ve gotten her into this bad habit at 2 years old. I’ve even had a NON MOM shake her head at me and tell me this was “not good”
Here is the thing. What was really ( because let’s call it what it was) a lazy attempt at parenting-I was too tired to deal with the binky sadness, and screaming, has turned into the sweetest part of my life.
I love having Georgia in my bed at night. We pretend we are getting on a spaceship, we put on our pink space suits, we hide from daddy under the covers, we sing songs, we butterfly kiss. She seriously looks at me and goes, “mom, lets talk” and demands that we share a pillow. We pretend we are birds, we pretend we are butterflies. One night I told her to close her eyes and use her imagination to see Aunt Nancy’s farm, and now she loves to “use her magination” to go to the beach, the farm, Grandma’s house.
She is only two. I am NEVER EVER EVER going to get these years back. I have no idea what our future holds, and I cherish every freaking happy or sad minute I have with this girl and I want to desperately to remember it all, I wish that she could remember it all, but I know she won’t and I know I won’t.
What I CAN hope for is that she remembers a feeling. A feeling that I am lucky enough to remember. A feeling my mother gave me when I was REALLY little, probably around two or three. I don’t remember specifics, but I remember lying in bed with my mom and feeling safe, and loved, and snuggled, and warm. Jill and I would fight over who was snuggling better, who she was looking at, who’s arm she was rubbing. I remember loving my mom SO MUCH, and she was right there next to me, and it was the BEST FEELING EVER.
I can’t force Georgia to remember any of this, or to think it is special, or to cherish it.
But *I*do. And the “experts” and internet are really missing out.
When Georgia is 15 she is going to beg me to go to sleepovers, she is not going to want to hang out at our home or with me, and I am thankful that my decision to co-sleep with my daughter came out of my laziness and need for sleep.