You know how being a parent is sometimes like being on a game show where you have to spin a wheel to figure out what to do next?
The baby is dry and fed and perfectly FINE yet will not stop screaming. What should you do? Let's just spin that wheel and... woohoo! Looks like a car ride!
The kindergartner who has explicitly been told NOT to cross the street alone has just crossed the street. Alone. With attitude. Is it going to be a gentle reminder for a first time offense or... nope, looks like someone's getting yelled at in front of his friends and having his play date revoked. Big money!!
You just never know with the wheel.
One time, I was babysitting and the baby WOULD NOT STOP CRYING. This was pre-Finn, back when I had very little experience with a baby who screamed for no reason, so I had no choice but to take a chance on the wheel. I was pretty surprised when it landed on, "Put the crying baby in a safe place, dig around in the junk drawer until you find that random pack of off-brand cigarettes someone left at the last party and go out on the front porch and smoke one." Weird, right? I know. The wheel works in mysterious ways.
I've used it at least twice this week. Once I got a major whammy and once it actually worked. Let's see if you can guess which is which...
Contestant number one was scared to go to sleep (he's afraid he might have another bad dream). This is a new thing that, as you can imagine, is no fun for anyone. On his third pitiful trip out to the living room he said, "I just wish I could read all night long!" I closed my eyes, spun the wheel and said, "Dude, you can. I mean, the only reason I know you're awake right now is because you're standing in the living room talking to me. Right? If you kept the door closed and stayed in bed, would I even know you were reading? Think about it..."
Contestant number two went to bed like clockwork but when he was still bouncing in his crib and yelling, "Wiiiummm!!!" an hour later, I consulted the wheel and was beyond surprised that it suggested marching him outside in his pajamas so he could jump on the trampoline and run in circles to wear himself out.
So...whatdya think? Got a guess which one of these hair brained ideas actually worked?
If you guessed contestant number one, I am sorry to say you're wrong. He did go back to his room and shut the door and I guess I assumed he read himself to sleep but to be perfectly honest, I never gave it a second thought. I mean, really, so long as he stayed in his room I didn't care what he was doing (after a few nights of this, my patience is GONE). Around 11:30 he had to pee which completely blew his cover. Had he slept? Nope. Not a wink. Did he go back to bed and read some more? Probably. Then he got up a few more times in the night, woke up early, talked me into a sleepover the next night and then fell asleep in the car on the way to class the next afternoon. I guess the wheel logic was that he'd come to the right decision on his own if I stopped fighting him. But that's just crazy talk. If Mama says you can read all night, why would you do anything else?!
So contestant number two is our big winner this week! I usually try to keep bedtime as chilled out as possible but when I realized all Finny had done between his nap and bedtime was ride in the car and eat dinner, I knew he probably needed to blow off some steam. Plus, his sleep deprived big brother was desperate to get some shut eye and was having a hard time drifting off with all the yelling and spitting (wtf?). Add to that a backed up toilet (as in, it seemed to be backing up into the shower...) and suddenly the back yard seemed like the best place for the loud, unruly toddler. He thought it was hilarious, of course, and was more than happy to comply when I yelled, "Jump, Finny, jump! As high as you can! Now run in a circle! Good boy! Run faster, Finny! Keep running!!!" After about 10 minutes I brought him in, changed him into some dry pjs and laid him back down. He seriously just rolled over and closed his eyes. I couldn't believe it! I think he would have gone right to sleep but a few minutes later Liam got up to go pee. Oh, NOW you have to pee? Really? Well guess what the wheel has to say about that? Whisper yelling! Lots of it! AND a guilt trip!!
What was that, wheel? Oh, you think I need to get out of the house one of these nights? Like, soon? For cocktails with friends? Alright. I mean, if that's what you think is best. I know better than to argue with the wheel of parenting...