It started a couple of days ago, when Celia didn’t want to go to sleep. I put her in the bed, tucked her in, said, “Goodnight, Sweetheart. I love you,” kissed her, and went downstairs. A couple of minutes later I heard quiet footsteps on the stairway. I turned my head to see my little daughter grinning at me from the bottom step!
I looked over at the baby monitor in shock. It’s one of those “noise activated” systems, so it’s completely quiet unless there’s a significant noise on the other end. I turned my head back to my grinning daughter. I had absolutely no clue that she’d snuck out of her bed and come downstairs. And in all honesty, it scared me.
All sorts of “what if’s” started racing through my head. What if she wakes up quietly, then starts going downstairs but she’s wearing those silly pajamas with no grips on the feet and slips down the stairs? What if she wakes up, goes downstairs, opens the refrigerator, and leaves the door open all night? What if she moves a chair over to the kitchen (which she could do if she tried hard enough) and stands on it so she can reach the knives?
As my mind played out seventeen preposterous scenarios, Celia lost interest and began walking into the living room.
“Oh no you don’t,” I said, scooping her up. I walked her upstairs and began explaining things to her. “I’ve always said you have a choice between the bed and the crib. You’re showing me that you’re choosing the crib, because you’re not staying in the bed.”
I walked into her room, plopped her into the crib, kissed her as she started to cry, gave her the green blanket (the one she can’t sleep without), and walked out.
Let the wailing begin, I thought. And of course, she did cry for a minute or so, but she really was tired, just protesting bedtime, and she quieted down and slept rather quickly.
As I sat downstairs and thought over what had just happened, I shook my head. “Too bad,” I thought. “I guess she isn’t 100% ready for the bed yet.”
The next night went better. She went to bed and slept through the night. My morale went up. Perhaps she just had a little hiccup?
The night after that she went to bed just fine, but sometime in the middle of the night I awoke with a start. Even in my sleep, I had the feeling that someone was looking at me. I just knew it.
I turned my head and looked straight into the eyes of my daughter.
“What are you doing here?” I asked her (I was confused myself).
“Daddy and Mommy’s bed,” Celia said.
I blinked my eyes. Okay, this is one of those parenting moments they don’t tell you about in the books. I lifted her onto the bed. Celia instantly looked up through the skylight and said, “Wow! I see stars!”
By this time, Michelle had woken up. “Yes, Celia. Aren’t they beautiful?”
“Les,” Celia said. She’s still having trouble pronouncing her “Y’s”.
We snuggled her and started telling her about the constellations.
It was a funny thing, in the end. We had an impromptu family time engaging in 2am stargazing, which really, when I look back at it, isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, it’s kind of cool, the kind of idea I wish I’d come up with myself.
But it also makes me think this bed training may not be all smooth riding. So far, it’s brought me more tension, surprises, and angst than even the move into a new house. I guess it’s probably because there are so many unknowns involved. We just don’t know what to expect next. But, come to think of it, maybe that’s just the kind of spice our lives need.