As a first-time parent, there are a lot of things we just don’t know. Sure, you can read the books, talk to your friends, consult with Drs. Google and WebMD, but that’s not always the answer. And so, in parenting, I have learned three valuable words: figure it out. Becoming a parent gives you a special set of skills, sort of like the dad in “Taken”, except your skills aren’t so much in murder, terrorist negotiations (well…) and hostage situations (WELL…) but more in deduction, problem solving, blankie locating and grape slicing. Your prime skill will still be figuring “it” out. We all know “it” could be a host of things, and when the glorious day comes that you actually do figure it out?! You will request a ticker tape parade in your honor, because you are now a national hero deserving of speeches and champagne and confetti and cookies and a Federal holiday in your honor.
Earlier this week I briefly mentioned the two year sleep regression. I even wrote a post on it, although it sits in draft status because a). I’m not sure it’s the most interesting reading for you all (even if it is entertaining) and b). I like to hoard posts like that for days I’ve run out of thoughts. “Writers” like me tend to squirrel things like that away so you think we’re still “working”, when we really just spent four hours surrounded by Legos, covered in granola and speaking only in a Grover voice (aka “running out of thoughts”).
This particular post is about my triumphs this week – TWO OF THEM. A record in toddler parenting!
Sleep… So, the two year sleep regression. It’s like all other sleep regressions, although “regression” isn’t the best term to use as these occur during periods of rapid physical and/or mental development (aka my kid is becoming a genius overnight and therefore is having trouble getting to sleep). There are three regressions before this one; I’m a follower of this stuff because we’ve experienced all but one, but the two year is a little different because now your kid is smart. Like, S-M-A-R-T. You can’t just help them get back to sleep and you’re all done; you have to figure out why the coveted act of sleeping eludes them to begin with. After a week of 90+ minute sessions of rocking, books, songs, lights on, lights off…I realized something. This wasn’t really separation anxiety, as some of the books will tell you (one of the signs of the two year regression). This was Miles understanding that after he goes to bed, his parents are still awake, which is unacceptable (yet another sign of the two year regression).
Suddenly, Miles was on to us. He realized we could be having ice cream cupcake parties, and he’s in bed?! HELL TO THE NO. I knew he was playing us after Miles and I had a lengthy discussion about fish and how they sleep; Miles was not upset and clingy once we were IN the room, just when we were gone. As soon as he saw once of us, he instantly smiled, requiring no consolation, and then began requesting stories, songs, games, etc. And so, after a week of not figuring it out, we decided to put him to bed. I gave him the big boy pep talk, lots of hugs and kisses, and scooted on out. Sure, he got pissed off the first night, but I left his door cracked so he could hear that I was having a TOTAL BLAST DOING DISHES, and that was comfort enough. He fell asleep in 15 minutes. Choirs of sleep angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus. Night two? No tears! He would occasionally yell, “MAMA, COME IN!” but that was it. Night three, same result. After four nights, I finally put the words in writing to my best friend and claimed my victory over sleep protest. Parents, is there no greater feeling than figuring something out?
Of course, we’re moving to not only the big boy bed, but the big boy ROOM in a few weeks…because there’s nothing I love more than throwing a monkey wrench into the progress we’ve made.
Green Foods… Then, as if this week couldn’t get any more miraculous, the child ate THREE SERVINGS of green beans on Thursday night. This, after a month long protest of all green vegetables at home (because green vegetables at school are apparently far superior to green vegetables at home). I didn’t really do anything except continue to serve the vegetables, assuming one day, possibly before his 16th birthday, he’d pick one up and eat it.
We sat at the table, eating dinner and talking about the day. Miles picked up a single green bean and put it in his mouth. This isn’t uncommon; he will frequently taste the green food, only to spit it out, hand it to me with a reminder of “no mama, no green beans.” But then, something amazing happened: HE CHEWED. OMG. Then? THEN?! HE SWALLOWED! I said no words; I looked at my husband to see if he’d witnessed the event, and he had. We continued our conversation about holding hands when crossing the street. And then? ANOTHER GREEN BEAN. But still, no words…you cannot acknowledge the consumption of a green vegetable until Miles realizes it was, in fact, a green vegetable, and that he actually likes it. When he finished all of his green beans and then grabbed two fistfuls from my plate, I celebrated, and gave him ALL my green beans (sorry, Kid Two…we’ll take an extra prenatal vitamin to cover that nutritional loss). WINNER WINNER GREEN BEAN DINNER.
This will probably change in the next 36 hours, but for now, we celebrate! These are the small accomplishments that give parents not only a great sense of pride, but also the affirmation that we actually do know what we’re doing sometimes. Even better? That we’re actually good at it. We must celebrate the little things, because they turn into the big things.
I declared myself Queen of Green Beans and Bed Time, and requested birthday cake ice cream in celebration.
This week, I win. WIN!