I am a mean mommy.
Just ask my four year old daughter.
Earlier this week, Sophia was downstairs watching TV before her bedtime. I had left her in the living room while I went upstairs to change Tallen's diaper, put on his pajamas, and read him a book before I put him down in his crib. When I left the living room to go upstairs, I told Sophia that she had to go to bed once her show was over. If I give her a warning, she usually agrees and life goes on as normal. This night she agreed and she even SHOUTED up the stairs to let me know when her show was over.
Then I turned really mean.
I asked her to come upstairs AND to bring her bunny and blanket with her. Bunny and blanket were the same two items that had been in her arms the entire time she was watching TV, but had been discarded on the couch when she walked across the room to the bottom of the stairs to SHOUT at me that her show was over. When I asked her to bring them upstairs, she crumpled into a ball on the floor and started crying because, get this, she was too tired to go walk three feet back to the couch to get her bunny and blanket.
"You do it!" she whined as she flopped around on the floor. "I'm too tired to pick them up."
"No, Sophia" I replied. "Mommy is not walking downstairs. I am going into your room to pick out your pajamas. If you want to sleep with your bunny and blanket tonight, you are going to have to bring them upstairs all by yourself."
"I can't do it," she says as she spins around on wood floor, refusing to look up at me.
"Sophia, I told you to pick up your toys. I need you to walk over there, pick up your toys and come upstairs to get ready for bed." Hearing the stern sound of my voice, I start to waiver and actually consider walking downstairs to pick up her toys. If I try to put her to bed without them, it will cause a bigger tantrum and then it will take even longer to calm her down.
"Ohh-kay," she huffs and picks herself off the floor. I am actually amazed that she finally agreed, but the battle is not over yet. I watch as she slooowly tiptoes back to the couch. If she can't make her mommy come down and get her beloved bunny, at least she can delay her bedtime by another 30 seconds by moving as slowly as possible.
We are having another issue with Sophia's bed. Once we actually get her into bed, after the protests to read one more book or complaints that she didn't get to tell mommy/daddy (insert the parent who was not responsible for bedtime duty here) goodnight, we can't get her to actually STAY in her bed all night.
Over the past two weeks, Sophia has been getting up sometime between 2 AM and 4 AM and coming into our bedroom. I usually hear her coming down the hall, followed by the creak of the bedroom door as it opens and the sliver of light from the lamp downstairs spills over the covers of my bed. She quickly zeros in on the easy target - her daddy. She knows that if she asks him to sleep with us, he will willingly pick her up and plop her down between us in the king size bed.
Last night when I picked up Sophia from daycare, I turned into mean mommy again.
"Sophia," I said, "We have to talk about you sleeping in mommy and daddy's bed. You can come into our room in the mornings, but not until it gets light outside. You have to wait for the sun to come up before you can get out of your bed, do you understand?"
"But I love mommy and daddy!" she replies.
"We love you too sweetie," I say, "but mommy and daddy are not getting enough sleep with you waking us up in the middle of the night. If you come into our room tonight and it is still dark out, I will make you go back to your bed, ok sweetie?"
"I just want to bis-it you mommy, I love mommy." Her voice is sweet but I stand firm in my role as mean mommy.
"I'm sorry Sophia, but you can't sleep in our bed."
She doesn't reply so I glance towards the backseat and see her slumped down in her booster seat, defeated at the thought of sleeping in her own bed alone. I don't mention it again, although it crosses my mind as she is getting ready for bed.
In the middle of the night, I am awakened by the sound of her bedroom door opening. I turn over and look towards our doorway. After about a minute, the door slowly creaks open and I see her blonde curls silhouetted against the light shining in the hallway behind her. As she walks over to her daddy's side of the bed, I sit up.
"Sophia, it is still dark out. I need you to go back to your room and sleep in your own bed, sweetie."
She stands still for just a moment, then turns and walks out, closing the door behind her. About 30 seconds later, I hear her bedroom door close and the squeak of her bed as she climbs back in. Then a low, pitiful moan as she starts to cry... "Mommy and Daddy," she whimpers. "I want Mommy and Daddy."
My mean mommy heart breaks. I lie still and after a few minutes she is quiet. Soon she is back asleep, in her own bed. I glance at the clock and it reads 4:21 AM. In less than two hours, I have to get up for work but at least I have a chance of getting some sleep without a wiggly little four year old in the middle of my bed. I fall back asleep quickly, because it is exhausting being a mean mommy.