As I type this I have about forty-five more minutes of a six-hour babysitting stint: my good friend Abbi’s almost-four-year old Liv. Right now the girls (having beachcombed, coffee-shopped, pizza-dined, trampoline-jumped, kiddie pool-splashed, and bathed) sit on the couch under the kitchen fan, reading stories to one another. Nels is sleeping. I’m planning on tidying up and tuning up my sewing machines and getting a break.
I am especially proud of my feat with Nels: putting him down for a nap without the use of a cage. See, Nels is a party animal. Not only can he stay awake for almost as long as he wants to, he can do so sporting a great mood and in a state of high energy. Add this to his very sweet cuddling desires when you actually do get him horizontal, and you’ve got a tough nut to crack when trying to convince him to lay down and go to sleep. But since the first night of his toddler bed I have lucked out, usually having either Ralph’s help (Ralph reports on his first night that he got out of bed eighteen times, only to be ushered back over and over) or a car nap transfer to keep him from escaping out his free-standing bed. Still, we have been determined to get him in that bed. We know more than a few parents who kept their child in a crib until the kid was bulging out of it; we know even more parents who lay down with their kids for however long it takes reading, cajoling, and arguing. Not for us.
So today, even “handicapped” with an extra child and with more than a few bathroom calls and naked kids in the pool and naked kids on the trampoline, I determinedly keep The Boy at bay, back to his bed. It only takes a couple iterations before he gives up the ghost, cries piteously (though sleepily), and falls asleep.