I didn’t want to be over confident after yesterday’s episode. However, I was feeling hopeful that with my new authoritative side, I could rule nap time with an iron fist. I lowered her crib mattress giving her no escape route and I went in with a concrete plan. I had two fights and one win under my belt. I knew if I stayed focused, I could win this without a major disaster like yesterday. But we both knew what the other was capable of, so who knew what was really going to happen.
She woke up in the morning in a good mood, but she was getting fussy earlier than usual. Needing a distraction, we went for a walk down by the river for her to burn off some steam. The weather was perfect; sunny and in the low 60s. I walked, she ran, we played, we got some sun and we’d be home just in time for lunch. During lunch she started yawning and rubbing her eyes so I started the routine about twenty minutes earlier hoping it’d be a quick knock out.
I decided that for today, I would start with the leaving when she stood up, and staying when she laid down method. This method seemed to work yesterday so I figured it’d be my first strategy. For about ten minutes we did the dance of stand up, leave, cry, come in, lie down, sit, and repeat. But after the first ten minutes, she actually stayed lying down. She was crying, but she was lying down. And the crying was getting weaker and less frequent. As I sat in the chair across from the crib I looked at the clock. Was I going to win this in the first fifteen minutes!? My confidence went through the roof. I was going to have a knock out round in fifteen minutes! No jumping, no crib prison, no mind games, just a baby falling asleep in her crib, alone. Was I that awesome!? NO. No I wasn’t. I forgot who I was dealing with and what she was capable of.
Knowing she couldn’t jump, she went with a different strategy. She stopped crying, and starting playing and giggling. What? She would look over at me and smirk while grabbing her toes. At one point she even started barking like a dog. “Woof, woof!” Was she trying to win with cuteness? She was still lying down, though. She was playing by the rules, but this seemed like cheating. I could leave, but then I wouldn’t be playing by the rules. No cheating for dad. So I decided to stay. It became a battle of will power. Who was going to crack first?
Eventually, that little smirk turned into whining, and then crying. So we went back to the dance. Back and forth for another ten minutes. I was getting discouraged. This was going nowhere. And then she made a new move. She stopped crying when I left her room. “Go on…just go. I’m fine. See ya!” This wasn’t supposed to happen. Even when I returned to lay her down again she looked at me as if to say, “I thought you left? What are you doing back? I’m still standing, you said you’d go. Now leave.” Every plan has a hole in it. Kate had given me detailed step by step suggestions for the ‘crying it out’method that would get me through the week. And then Ellie jumped out of the crib. Obviously, not part of the plan. Haniyyah gave me detailed instructions on how to carry out the stay and leave method. But then Ellie started playing while lying down and not crying when I left. Again, not part of the plan.
To make matters worse, she had taken a big stinky dump in the middle of all of this. And on top of that, all of her cloth diapers were in the dryer and we were completely out of back up disposables. (Yes, I admit, this was poor planning on my part, but when she was to wake up from her nap, the diapers would have been dry.) So we took an intermission from operation naptime while I put an 80% dry diaper on her. It was better than a 100% poop diaper.
When I put her back in the crib, I realized something. She kept making the first move. What happened to my iron fist that I was boasting about earlier?I’m the one in a position of power around here. Not her. I don’t need to play by any rules. I can change the rules at any time and without telling anyone. It was time to put some offensive moves into play and finish this. You want a fight Ellie, you got one!
So with a fresh diaper on her, I put her in the crib and walked out. She cried for about seven minutes and then fell asleep for AN HOUR AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES.
In the end, I had spent an hour trying to get her to sleep and she slept almost double that. The tables were turning, and in my favor.
She has to be running out of ideas by now, but we’ll see what Round Four brings
To continue reading to Round Four, click here.