Last night Gwyneth was screaming about how much she didn’t want to go to bed and how she needed Mama, which then transitioned into how much she didn’t want to go to bed and how much she needed Daddy when I came and swapped with him. I lay down next to her, and started telling her a story.
“Once upon a time there was a little girl named Gwyneth.”
She paused in her yelling, looked at me, gathered her breath, and screamed for Daddy again.
“She had a good friend named BaBa who was a little blue dog.”
“And Gwyneth and BaBa decided to go on an adventure. They decided…”
Heaving breathing, but no more yelling.
“…to go find dinosaurs.”
Never underestimate the power of distraction, I thought. Once Gwyneth and BaBa had journeyed down the river to the jungle and into the big valley and seen the tyranosauruses and stegosauruses and ridden on the velociraptors, we did a solid 20 minutes of her thrashing and rolling and kicking and twiddling and twisting and basically not falling asleep. And I realized she was 100% distracting herself from sleeping. She was in zombie mode; when she walked into the living room earlier to protest that she was attempting bedtime without a parent (which she had requested ten minutes earlier), she literally was leaning on the wall in order to stay upright. Tired. Zombie. But distracted.
So I started the litany. “Close your eyes.”
She closes her eyes.
She thrusts her legs out straight and stops kicking.
“A big breath.”
She whooshes a breath in and out.
“Nope, close your eyes.”
They snap shut again.
“Now, snuggle BaBa.”
She tucks him under her chin. Within moments her eyes are open.
“Close your eyes.”
Then she starts waving BaBa in the air.
Toes start kicking me.
Five minutes later, she was out. And I thought, “I could get up and go do stuff. Or I could just hold this little bundle and …” I closed my eyes. Took a big breath. Relaxed my shoulders. And snuggled my daughter.