After yesterday’s naptime fight, I knew what to expect. This made me very confident, almost cocky. I was ready. I could handle it. If she was going to cry for an hour and half again, bring it. Let’s do this! I was developing a thicker skin. I could feel it. I didn’t need to wear a Rocky T-shirt or listen to the movie soundtrack to pump me up. I was already pumped up. While she was eating her breakfast I had a little bounce in my step. I felt like how Apollo Creed did just before he was going to fight the Russian. But the same as he did, I drastically underestimated my opponent.
The first half of the day was completely normal. She had breakfast, we went to story time, and then we played in the backyard. She burned a lot of energy and then she ate lunch. And then, just as we did yesterday, we proceeded upstairs for our pre-nap routine. Everything was the same. I did everything exactly in the same order as I did the day before. The only difference was putting her in the crib would be no surprise. She knew it was coming and apparently she had time to put together a strategy.
I gave her the same pep talk as I did yesterday before I put her in the crib. And then I walked out of the room. She wasted no time in going directly to that screeching, torturous scream cry that hurts your insides. The kind where you can feel your soul stabbed. I kept on moving though. Block it out, it just means she’ll fall asleep quicker, I thought. This is part of her strategy. She is okay. She is fine. It’s okay.
Not more than five minutes later I hear a loud THUD! As I ran towards the stairs I could hear the crying getting even louder She had climbed OUT of her crib, FELL on the floor, OPENED the door, and started coming DOWN the stairs. AAAAHHH! I almost called the fight right there. Maybe I’m not cut out for this? She jumped because of me. I endured an hour and a half of crying yesterday and today, she beats me in the first five minutes!? She was like the Russian. I could hear Rocky in my ear saying, “stop the fight, you’re getting killed out there!”
After the initial shock of her jump and realizing she was okay, I sat there holding her while she whimpered and huffed. I needed to gather my thoughts and develop a plan. This was definitely not in my playbook. I can’t put her back in, what if she jumps again. But I can’t go lower the crib now. By the time I get the tools and do it, I’ll have missed the napping window. Do I just throw in the towel and let her sleep on my lap for today? Do we try again tomorrow? I went back and forth for awhile and then I decided I was going to keep on fighting.
I read her the books and she was starting to get heavy eyes again. I then put her in the crib and left. This time I stayed outside her door and listened to her cry. I figured I deserved to sit and listen because of what I was doing to her. And then 30 seconds later, THUD! AHHHH! Again! She’s not even tall enough to climb out, how’s she doing it!? It wasn’t even fifteen minutes into this and she was killing me! When I picked her up she laid her head on my shoulder as if to say, “I’ll sleep dad, just don’t leave me, not like this… see, I’m good… I’m asleep.”
So leaving the room is not an option today. I decided I was going to put her in the crib while I stood there. I’ll still be in the room and she won’t jump. She cried and cried and pulled on my shirt and begged me. “Pleeeaaaase dad! I’ll sleep, I promise, just pick me up. Don’t do this to m I’ll love you more than mom. Whatever you want I’ll do it, just not this!” Thick skin? Whatever I had I lost. This was killing me. I needed to think fast. I needed to improvise So I decided to get in the crib with her. Yes, I did just say that. And I did it too. I laid next to her and she fell asleep on my arm inside the crib within minutes. I figured this was better than her sleeping on my lap or in the car seat, right? She was asleep in her crib. That was the goal, right?
Well…now that she was asleep, my problem was to get out. She was on my arm. I immediately thought of that Friends episode with the “hug and roll” maneuver. Yeah, it didn’t work. So I went into ninja mode. I was trying to climb out of the crib without making a sound and without disrupting the balance in the mattress You know those mattress commercials when one is doing jumping jacks and dropping bowling balls and the other person doesn’t feel anything? Do they make those for cribs? Every time I moved, she’d wake up. She was holding me hostage. I was trapped in her crib. Me and Raggedy Ann. It had only been a half hour and so much had already happened. How did I get stuck in here and how do I get out?
She ended up waking up so I climbed out. I wasn’t going to quit, though. I was going to fight this till the bitter end. I just didn’t know what to do next. So I decided to use another friend’s method. I would make her lie down and then stay in the room, but I’d leave if she stood up. Obviously I wouldn’t leave for long when she stood up, otherwise she’d jump. I’m not a very aggressive person. I’m pretty laid back. I don’t get upset very easily. I’m always “understanding.” I still deal with things, but I do it very delicately. And because of that, I’ve always been worried how I’d be when it came to being a disciplinarian. Did I have it in me? But today, I surprised myself. I wasn’t mean or angry with Ellie, but I was firm. Instead of being Apollo Creed, I became the Russian. “I will break you.”
We did the back and forth dance for about an hour and I didn’t back down. Lie down, sit down, stand up, leave, come back in, repeat… And finally, she stayed lying down. She stared at me, and eventually fell asleep. This nap time took me an hour and forty-five minutes. I really thought she was going to win. I thought she beat me many times, but I kept fighting. It was an extremely close down and dirty fight. Yes I did end up in her crib, but in the end, she fell asleep, in her crib, by herself.
She slept for an hour with a monster poop waking her up again. I don’t know folks, I think that makes me the winner. What do you think?
To continue reading to Round Three, click here.