It has been a while since I put words to the page in this blog, and the break has been nice. A gap of another kind was momentous enough to bring me back. My daughter lost her first tooth. There has been growing excitement in the house as the tooth became more and more wiggly. She was cautioned not to wiggle it too much before a scheduled family portrait outing, but once that was over it was full wiggle ahead. Today, it finally came out.
I packed an apple in her lunch, not thinking that it would be a good tooth extraction device but more because we didn’t really have much else to put in the lunch. As it happens, when she bit down, the apple held onto her tooth harder than her mouth. A nice lunch helper tucked the tooth in a lunch receipt envelope, and my daughter probably won’t remember much of anything else that happened today.
When my wife asked her about the tooth fairy and what she was expecting, my daughter thought that she would save up money from the fairy to buy a book at the spring book fair. She mentioned the Sneetches, so we are ordering the book (no store nearby had it). In place of the money or the book, I made a card with an attached poem:
To Rose whose first tooth has come out,
The Sneetches give a big shout.
You have a hole, a gap, a place that once was,
You’ve shared your excitement and there’s quite a buzz.
You can poke out your tongue as you give a big smile,
Your grin grins a grin with a whole new-fangled style.
So for this first tooth, I’ll just have to look
and find you a copy of a favorite book.
The Tooth Fairy
With all of the trauma and fuss around bedtime recently with my son, I knew something had to change. An idea came to me today, and I passed it by my wife before bedtime. Since our son got very upset but then got quiet and went to sleep after we removed our daughter each of the last two nights, I figured we could start bedtime with her out of the room and tell him that she could come back when he had been quiet. We did all of the other things as normal except when it was time to go to bed, my wife put my son down, and I took my daughter into the next room. Predictably, after a short period of quiet, he came to the door crying and wanting his sister in bed. We told him again that he had to be quiet and stay in bed. He did that for a short while and then started making noise again. I went in and fixed his blankets, and told him what a good job he did staying quiet while my wife settled my daughter in her bed. All was fairly quiet and we headed downstairs. A short while later, he was at the gate at the top of the stairs crying, but this time it was because he had pooped. I went up and changed him, and he has stayed quiet for a good while now. This might have solved the getting to sleep issue tonight. It is a short-term solution, but it might grow the habits for a sustainable long-term solution of my son falling asleep with my daughter in the room.
My daughter, every the cautious rule-follower, has been able to open the gate at the top of the stairs for some time, but she wouldn’t do it because it was a rule to keep it closed. She has hit a developmental level that when my son is pestering her too much as they go to sleep, she will now open it to come down and let us know. My son recently gained the ability to open the gate, too. This promises to make bed time even more interesting as he does not have any inhibitions about getting out of bed and doing what he wants if he is not tired.
My son gave up his pacifiers for his third birthday. This is certainly not a decision he would have come up with on his own, but he bought into it for the most part. His nap ended up being pretty late, and then bed time pushed the concept further. After putting him down, I hung out in the next room. He quickly popped out of the bedroom and tried to engage me in conversation.
“Um, Daddy? I just need to tell you…”
I gently let him know that he needed to stay in bed. I also let him know that I understood he wanted me to stay in the next room, but I wouldn’t be able to do that if he kept coming out. That worked until my daughter started whispering loudly to him and got him worked up again. I then stepped in and told her that I was disappointed in her choices and that she was not supporting my son’s transition in letting go of his pacifiers. I let my son know that I would have to go downstairs if it got noisy again in the room. With those two conditions surrounding my staying in the next room, things got quiet, and he fell asleep allowing me to go downstairs. That worked great.
In the morning, he awoke well before the allotted time to exit the room. He popped out and woke up both my wife and me on two different occasions. I had to head downstairs to get ready to go, and it sounded somewhat loud.
It appears that my son, two days from being three, may finally be dropping his nap. This is a sad day, indeed. However, this morning I walked the kids to and from the grocery store in the cold weather, so he is conked out upstairs in his bed. I will hold to the nap as long as possible!
This is post #700 for Dadding Ideas. I don’t actually know what to think of that except that it has been a discipline to do this. I hope it has helped me focus on my parenting, and I hope it has shared things with readers out there.
In the last few weeks, my son has come to the gate at the top of the stairs about half an hour after being put to bed. There, he screams at the top of his lungs. When I open the door and inquire if something is wrong, he tells me, “No.” I ask if he needs a change, but that is not it. He resorts to, “I want a hug.” This is hard to resist, but after a couple of weeks of it being repeated a few times, it has become so much easier to resist. I was standing at the bottom of the stairs and asking him politely and firmly to go back to bed, but now my wife and I have reached the point of deciding that it is time to stop responding. I hope there is no real emergency, but I am sure my daughter would actually open the gate and come downstairs as she does when there is something really the matter.
I do remember falling out of bed as a kid, but more often I would either get myself wedged in between the tucked sheet and the side of the mattress or just mummified in my own sheet as I spun around and around during the night. I would awake in either case completely trapped and have to slowly work my way out of my self imposed straight jacket.
Both of my kids don’t do it often, but it is spectacular when they do fall out of bed. Sitting downstairs and working in my office, I hear a thump followed by the inevitable scream. Tuesday night, this happened not because my son fell out of his bed, but because he was trying to climb into my daughter’s bed to snuggle with her, and she wanted no part of it. She shoved him out, and then thump…