Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Night Crawlers...

It's all over for me. It's all o-v-e-r.

The Dictator has figured out that, hey, I can just get out of bed. I don't have to wait for my mommy and daddy to come get me. I can just hop out, just like this. Whoo-hoo!

The Dictator has been in her "big girl" bed for seven months. We had ordered her a custom made princess bed. Which is so fabulous that I, in fact, like sleeping in it myself. As soon as it arrived, the crib was taken out, the bed put in.

She had just turned two. I know many parents try and keep their children in cribs as long as possible, for exactly this reason. So they can't just get out whenever they damn well please.

Well, I'm definitely not saying The Dictator is "slow," because it has taken her seven months to figure out she can just hop out of her bed at any time. I just thought we were lucky for having a child who hadn't figured it out yet.

We didn't even put bars up so she couldn't fall out. Are we bad parents? Nah. She has never once fallen out.

Anyway, I hate to admit this, but my almost three year-old does still not sleep through the night. She screams out at least twice, between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. for "MILK. I WANT MILK. WHERE'S MY MILK? GET ME MY MILK NOW YOU ASSHOLES!" (Ok, she doesn't say that - I'm just paraphrasing.)

Which is why I always look like shit. Or at least that's what I tell people. (It has nothing - NOTHING I SAY - to do with the fact I TIVO every reality show on television, including the one with Hulk Hogan and the one with the dude from The Brady Bunch, and watch them until the wee hours of the morning.)

But the other night, after we put The Dictator to bed at the perfectly reasonable hour of 9 p.m., The Fiance and I heard a little pitter patter of feet upstairs. And then a little pitter patter of feet coming down the hallway. And then a little pitter patter of feet coming down the stairs. And then a little voice going, "Mommy? Mommy? MOMMY? MOMMY!?! ARE YOU DOWN THERE? WATCHA DOIN?"

On the one hand, how can you be mad at a little girl who looks so fucking cute in her little nightgown?

But, on the other hand, it was the start to a new stage that I knew would lead no where good (By that, I mean, for the past few nights, it's always the little pitter patter of feet LEADING downstairs, after we put her to bed. Sometimes TWICE!)

The only way to get over this, I think, is to buy her some more nighties. I mean, my god, she looks so cute in them, it's impossible to get mad at her for not staying in bed and ending back up on my lap.

That's the right answer for all of this, right?


Blogger Not Jenny said...

I put a gate across my boy's door so he can't leave his room when he hops out of bed. If he is not crying, we just ignore him and he goes back to bed when he feels like it. Once in a while we will find him asleep on his comforter on the floor.

3:38 PM

Blogger Laural Dawn said...

I wish I could offer a tidbit of advice. But I have none since my beloved toddler gets up at least 15 times most nights.
Good call on the cute nighties. I don't think there's too much else to do. Or maybe I am wrong and there is some solution ...

4:53 PM

Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Oh, the nighties! I have already started putting CJ in them and she's not even 18 months old.

I will pay close attention to how you handle the nightcrawling. Tacy never ventured out, but I know CJ will. And I need to be prepared.

7:50 PM

Blogger owlhaven said...

Maybe I'm a meanie, but when mine hit that stage I camp out in the hall by their bedroom door and sternly and repeatedly stick them back the second they set foot out of bed. As many times as it takes.Varies from kid to kid, but at least one of mine took dozens of returns before he gave up. Finally they conclude mom is more stubborn than they are and they give up..

Mary, mom to many

9:42 PM

Blogger JennC said...

My kids are 7 and 5 and I'm still having this difficulty. As soon as they are tucked in and I head downstairs, they are in each others rooms and usually driving each other crazy.

I generally don't put up a fuss if I can't hear them, what they do in their rooms is their business, but when heavy objects start shaking the house, I go upstairs and start knocking heads together...

Girls have the best p-js

3:02 AM

Blogger Heather said...

I've always wondered what you do when that happens. I always think about what they might do in the middle of the night while you sleep. I sort of like Not Jenny's advice. Perhaps you could stick a cup of Milk somewhere and she could take it on her own without calling for you.

4:10 AM

Anonymous Naomi said...

I can see The Happy Boy doing this. He's still in a crib, but we have a bed coming, just need to get a mattress (and clear out the boxes from the room that will be his).

He's stubborn. He loves playing with Mummy at night. Oh yes, this will be fun.

Good luck. No advice though, just smiles!

4:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca,

I hope you don't give in to her requests for milk during the night, that can be really bad for their teeth (a mouth full of cavities at 3 years old = not fun).

6:53 AM

Blogger Mom101 said...

New clothes are the answer to everything in life. Don't you know that by now?

6:57 AM

Anonymous chelle said...

Becca did not figure out the leave bed thing for a while too. When she did we marched her right back to bed. One cool thing is she comes to our room to wake us up!

8:22 AM

Blogger Jezer said...

Yes, nighties are definitely the answer!

And now, I'm beginning to rethink my idea of moving Al from our bed straight to a "big boy" bed. Whew-boy.

8:51 AM

Blogger Ashley said...

I am sure I was a problem like this as a child lol. Put a gate up. That's how we used to keep the pets out of our room as kids hehe.

What did you end up getting as a Father's Day gift?

10:15 AM

Blogger bubandpie said...

The Bub did exactly the same thing - stayed in his bed for about eight months before figuring out that he had the power of departure. Solution: the bulby-thing on the doorknob. It is incomparably lovely to be awakened by a sweet little toddler padding into the room and announcing "I'm awake!" - but not when that takes place at 4:45 am.

12:53 PM

Blogger Jen said...

My daughter is just over 18 months. She wanted so much to go into a big girl bed. So we bought her a Dora one. And she loves it. And that pitter patter of little feet you speak of - I hear it every night too. I think that's why they make kids so cute.

9:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! Stop yer whinin'. Our now happy, well adjusted nine year old scaled the wall of his crib long before his second birthday, and climbed out in the middle of the night. (Yes, the mattress was at its lowest level, and the gate was at its highest. No match for monkey boy.) We of course had to abandon the crib and put him in a "big boy" bed, from which he crawled out whenever the spirit moved him. Lock him in his room until he falls asleep, you say? He would just lie on his back and kick the walls -- once he did it for over an hour straight, kid you not. We eventually won the battle of wills, but only after a long, protracted struggle.

11:43 AM

Blogger pam said...

oxrI hate to break it to you, but my ELEVEN year old son still wakes me up almost every night. None of my kids slept through the night, ever. Would I be less mad if he was in a nightie? Not sure. But he might end up in therapy because of it.

Worth a try, I guess.

2:47 PM

Anonymous Nancy said...

I agree with Mom101. New clothes ARE the answer.

We've been lucky with our oldest, who at 4 still will not get out of bed by herself -- she'll call us to come get her. It's lovely. I don't think we'll be so fortunate with our toddler, though. Once she moves to a big bed I think we'll be toast.

9:45 AM

Anonymous MOTP - mother of the pants in the family said...

Our almost 4 year old is very capable of getting out of bed on her own during the night, but in the morning, she just yells and yells until we go and get her.

The night time thing - I say, as long as she stays in her room -she's ok - sometimes I listen in at the door - wonderful conversations are going on!

but it's the morning yelling - yikes! I look forward to that ending

12:50 PM

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6:14 PM


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