I am very close to uncovering the mystery of whether natural blondes go grey.
In 2005 I went into labor on my due date after a lovely pregnancy. I gave birth to a sweet, patient, adorable baby boy.
He grew and went through phases as every kid does, apologizing for any transgressions while blinking his innocent bright blue eyes in earnest, hoping for forgiveness.
Then I had another kid, not quite 2 years later.
She shot from my loins, and in front of a crowded room she raised her head and scowled at every single person in there like each of them personally pissed her off.
At the time, everyone laughed her unnatural ability to lift her head as a moments-old newborn and spew Attitude.
I am not laughing now.
She is quickly approaching her 4th birthday.
I am quickly approaching my wit’s end.
She is feisty, clever, fast, strong, contemplative, creative.
At the meeting I had with her Preschool teacher last fall – keep in mind she wasn’t even 3.5yo yet – the teacher said she was at or above her age level in everything. The only issue was that she was exceptionally skilled in reading people, and used it to manipulate them.
Example: if the kids in class wanted to play Dress-Up but she wanted to play Kitchen, she’d go to the kids who are easily distracted, bring them something to get them more interested in playing kitchen. Then she’d fake-cry to the ones who respond to that, to get them to go play kitchen with her. Then she’d barter with the kids who respond to that, and get them to head to the kitchen. She worked the crowd until she got her way.
A useful skill as an adult? Absolutely.
A frightening skill in a 33lb Preschooler? You betcha.
She is manipulative, crafty, opinionated, and stubborn as hell.
She is also really, really funny and undeniably adorable. She makes people fall completely head over heels in love with her, charmed and blinded with adoration. Which means she sometimes gets away with murder.
Which is really annoying.
She has been challenging me in one way or another* almost every day of her life. One thing that hasn’t been an issue?
* Such as her Crawling Into Hot Ovens phase and Needing To Be Carried All Day phase
It seems, my friends, those days are over.
For the past month or so we have been At War.
She suddenly decided she did not want to sleep. And it’s killing me.
She literally went from happily sleeping from 7:30pm-7:30am with a 1.5-2hr middday nap to getting up around 6am and refusing to nap.
It changed her from Sassy to Psychotic.
She went from funny, stubborn and independent to fresh, frustrating and practically bipolar in her rushes from clingy to hiding from me.
The sleep deprivation was even affecting her ability to know when to use the potty.
I would understand a natural weaning from needing so much sleep. But I just knew that wasn’t it.
It took a lot of time watching her on the video monitor to realize this, but what she was doing was simply keeping moving so as to not fall asleep.
Once she stopped moving, she literally passed out. And slept the typical 1.5-2hrs she’s been napping midday for ages.
So I know she physically still needs the sleep.
Every time I’ve gone into her room over the past month, I’ve been the unfortunate witness to a new activity she’s discovered to keep her busy. Such things as:
– Let’s Empty The Entire Contents of The Hairclip/Ponytail Hold Bin on the Rug Game
– Let’s Empty The Sock Drawer And Put As Many Little Socks Into The Big Socks So They Look Like Feet Game
– Let’s Empty The Underwear Bin And Try To Put Them On Our Dolls Game
– Let’s Empty Every Single Baby Wipe From The Three New Unopened Packaged Mommy Left In The Closet Game
– Let’s Put All The PullUps On Our Dolls Then Hide Them In The Garbage Because The Dolls Imaginarily Peed In Them Game
– Let’s Rearrange All The Wall Decals by Standing On A Chair On The Bed Game
– Let’s Put The Little Chair on the Little Table And Try To Climb Onto The Armoire Game
– Let’s Climb Up The Shelving In The Closet And Rip All The Clothes Off The Hangers Until The Room Is Littered With Sharp Broken Hangers And All My Clothes Game
As you can see, these games have been getting progressively more and more dangerous.
Her room once contained a cute little table and chairs, a toy box, the pink bed you see above, a little collection of books, a small garbage bin, and a few toys.
I have had to strip it pretty much bare to keep her from accidentally breaking a limb and/or neck in her Let’s Not Sleep quest: the tables and chairs, trash bin, gone. The toy box is now in the closet.
So she just made new messes.
I put a lock on her armoire door (it has 2 bottom drawer, 2 high shelves and a door to hang things in).
She complained her bed was too small, so I moved it to the side and dragged the queen-sized mattress from the guest room in.
Once she started tearing hangers out of the closet while precariously balanced up on the toybox or shelves in there, I ran to babies R Us and bought those stick-on babyproofing door locks.
She manged to rip them all off, then celebrated by jumping off her ‘old’ bed until I thought she’d come through the floor.
After perusing images of insane asylum room setups and seeing if eBay sells child-sized straight jackets, I got my power tools out.
I grabbed metal hook-and-eye locks and my crazy glue. I drilled into the lovely white molding on her closets and put the locks permanently in place.
I removed the old bed, excess toys, whittled the books she can access down to 4.
I glued more child locks on her sock drawers.
Her room is now bare and boring as hell.
Yesterday, 24 hours after I remodeled The Room Of Doom into something just short of a padded cell, she simply went in for her nap, slept 2 hours, and woke up fresh as a daisy.
She was in a better mood yesterday afternoon than she’s been in for a month.
Which goes to show me that she just needed to be forced into boredom so she could get the sleep she needed.
Does she know why she decided to put up this fight? I doubt it.
Do I? Oh please. I have no frigging clue what’s going on in that pretty little pony-tailed head of hers.
All I know is that the last piece of this puzzle is getting her to wait patiently in her room for me to tell her when she can come out**.
**Stop laughing. This has to be possible, right??
By “patiently” I mean Stop Hammering On The Door Like The FBI Trying To Break Into Criminal’s Lair An Hour Before It’s Time To Get Up So I Don’t Leave You On The Curb Next To A Bin Of Empty Wine Bottles On Recycling Day.
She loves stop lights, so I just ordered this – rush delivery, of course – in the hopes it helps:
The Red light means
shut up and sleep it’s sleepy quiet time, Green means I’ve had my coffee and am almost ready to deal with you it’s okay to get up.
These battles wear me down. They eat away at me, the ups and downs and trying to stay one step ahead of her.
It is exhausting me.
You should know that I could leave a set of Ginzu knives, a Ming Vase, a small burning fire and castle made of playing cards in my son’s room, lock the door, and 2 hours later come back in to him happily reading Star Wars books on his bed, my pile of weapons and fragile items left untouched.
The fact that my kids are so different boggles the mind.
My only reprieve from these battles with Crazy Girl is school.
Luckily PreK & Kindergarten are 5 days a week.
Unluckily it’s only mornings, so she’s back up in my grill by 11:30am. Not to mention the bazillion snow days, endless holidays, and countless Professional Days when school’s closed.
It’s just not enough for me. Sorry, I know it sounds selfish but I’m not made for this.
So I’ve been counting down in my head, silently, the countdown until she’s in full day school. (The fact that Kindergarten isn’t full day in this town makes me weep on a regular basis.)
I know so many moms just loooove the special time they have with their wee ones this age.
Good for them.
I love my kids, absolutely, but I need more Me Time to be able to cling to my sanity in between bouts of battling this girl.
Barely 2 hours a day is not enough to do a Target run and regain sanity.
I need her to flourish with the structure school gives, to busy that mind with learning and playing and listening and trying.
I need her out of my hair for more than a couple hours a day.
At least I only have 929 days left until she starts full-day 1st Grade.
I just have to figure out what to do with her til then.
Or at least win this sleep battle. Though I’m concerned I’m running dangerously low on supplies, and there’s no rescue helicoptor in sight.