Tuesday, January 15, 2008

3 years or 30,000 diapers

Bedtime has been a battle for many children for many years. Our daughter, Cassie, appears to be no different. I'm not certain if it's as much a struggle for power, or considering the bed to be boring. When you are three years old, life is always full of adventure. I imagine that as a toddler one's imagination is still going full blast.

In the last month, Cassie has been inundated with wonderful new toys, from all sorts of relatives. These range from crayons to cooking gear. All of these things are brand new, and she, like most youngsters is able to use these toys as a jumping off point to keep herself amused. Add this to the fact that reruns of television shows must not seem nearly as dated, if you yourself are still just at the 3 years or 30,000 diaper warranty. Everything being so new and interesting must make the idea of bedtime a remarkable drag.

I remember being a bit older, than Cassie is now, and sitting on the upstairs landing, in my superman underoos, my legs dangling over the ledge, watching whatever my mother had on the television (I always wanted the Six Million Dollar Man). This exercise taught me how to be quiet if nothing else, because the slightest noise could get me shooed back into my bedroom to sleep. It also taught me that women in their early 30s did not necessarily have the same taste in television as 5-year-old boys.

My wife, Elizabeth, has shared stories of her stalling tactics. Whether it was the desire for an apple, or a drink of water, everybody had his or her own style. Cassie is at the bargaining stage now. She always wants just one more minute of playtime, or one more book read. I'm certain that she will be a very successful salesman, if her career in nuclear engineering bores her too much.

So it is quite common for toddlers to avoid bedtime. Now if that were my problem, then I would be your normal, parent of a young child. But this is not the case. This is not the reason (at least not entirely) for this blog. No, in an attempt to make bedtime more acceptable to Cassie, we got an attachable railing for the extra twin bed we have in the house. We even outfitted the same bed with all sorts of Disney related bedding. This fascination with all things "Princess” has now made her room look as if a giant cotton candy machine might have exploded on her bed.

I blame the "Princess" obsession on a friend of hers in nursery school. This girl and Cassie play very nicely together, and get along wonderfully. However, Cassie was not showing a significant interest in all things "Princess", until she met this friend. This little girl is very nice, but I saw her getting dropped off at school recently, and there was a mysterious mouse driving the S.U.V. she was exiting. I also saw her pick up list, and it had an M. Eisner named. Granted, this is all circumstantial, but I've got my suspicions.

Back to the bed.... Both Elizabeth and I thought that most kids liked the idea of sleeping in a bigger bed. Not only is it a sign of growing up, but also doesn't everybody want a bigger bed? Well, we start to put this railing on the bed. We bought it at Babies R Us, the box talked up the ease of assembly. We did not notice the second line that said if you are a master craftsman with 30 years experience and an ability to read Chinese.

We struggled and strained, cursed and grumbled, begged and pleaded, and finally got help. Someone else attached the easily attachable railing. Our 3+ college degrees combined did not help much. A friend of ours was able to put it together without much trouble. Boy, did I feel useless. I can discuss, intelligently, the importance of Kirkuk, to the Iraqi economy, but cannot with any degree of confidence attach a railing to a twin bed.

Now, as I sit here at my computer, there is a bed with pink "Princess" sheets, and a railing for safety. Where does my daughter sleep? Well, she slept on a two-piece love seat when we were on vacation recently. She has slept numerous times in numerous cars. She has slept in pack and plays all over the country. She has to this day never actually slept in two places in this house.
Obviously, she has not slept in this new bed. She still prefers her crib. But, more importantly, she has never slept in our bed all night; she again, prefers her crib.

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