The power of the unicorn
For those of you who haven’t seen the giant bags under my eyes and the giant yawns that happen throughout the day, you might not know how insanely tired I am. You might not be aware that, since August 2014, Matt and I have alternated nights putting Noah to bed which consists of multiple elaborate steps involving anywhere from 5 to 10 readings of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, a wide variety of requests for different (and very specific) toys located throughout the house, different beverages and snacks, and numerous trips to the bathroom where he may or may not need to pee.
Early on in this “adventure,” Matt and I both were able to outlast the kid and tip-toe out of his room some time before midnight (only to be beckoned back at 2:30am on the nose every time because he woke up in a panic because we weren’t there). We would end up going back in there and, instead of trying to figure out how to get him back to sleep and sneak out again, it just became easier to curl up and try to get at least a few more hours of sleep. As the months went by and nothing we tried worked, eventually the lack of sleep prevailed and we didn’t even try to get him to sleep in his room alone. We even moved a second mattress in so that we didn’t have to share a single twin bed with a twisty and wiggly 3 year old.
For the past 7 months, Matt and I have pretty much been working on auto-pilot because we have been so sleep-deprived. We snap at people and at each other over silly issues. Instead of talking to each other when we do have a moment alone (which is rare) we totally zone out and use as little energy as possible. And on the random nights when we could have probably convinced Noah to sleep in his room by himself, we were just too tired to even try to figure out how to go about doing something different so we just figured out whose turn it was and said goodnight.
Then one day, I got a call from a friend saying that she was getting rid of a really nice twin bed frame and she wanted to know if I wanted it for Noah. [We tried the whole twin bed frame thing in September but it was my bed frame from childhood- which was metal. Noah spent all night getting up and rummaging for toys to bang against it to see what kind of noise it made. That bed frame went back into storage with a quickness and we just put the box spring and mattress on the floor.]
We brought the bed frame home from my friend’s house and showed it to Noah.
Noah: “Mommy, I love it!!”
Me: “Do you know what this is?”
Noah: “Yeah, it’s a big boy bed!”
Me: “And, did you know that big boys who sleep in big boy beds sleep in their room by themselves?”
Noah: “Well, let’s just leave it in the garage then. I’m still little.”
So, all of the wind was knocked out of my sails until one day that same week, Noah started asking for a unicorn. Out of nowhere, he began asking us to get him a toy unicorn 3 or 4 times a day. I don’t know where this request came from but he wouldn’t give it up. So, because (as noted earlier) I am exhausted, I went out to the fancy toy store and bought a really cool unicorn figurine. I brought it home and, instead of giving it to him, I tucked it away with a plan.
The next morning:
Noah: “Hey mommy. Can I have a unicorn?”
Me: “You know, big boys who sleep in their rooms by themselves get unicorns.”
Matt: “Oh yeah! I heard that too. Don’t you have a big boy bed in the garage?”
Noah: [In a very whiney voice.] “Yeah. But I think regular boys get unicorns too.”
Well, we kept this conversation going for several days until Saturday rolled around. We put the bed together and let Noah use the allen wrench to tighten the screws. We didn’t let him take a nap so that he would be extra sleepy at bedtime. And, when bedtime approached, we made our way up to the big boy bed. We read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, had a few snacks and some milk, and, before I knew it, he was asleep.
I snuck out of the room more slowly than I have ever snuck before. I dared not to even tell Matt that Noah was asleep because I didn’t want to jinx it. We looked at each other with all of the passion and excitement of newlyweds. And then we immediately curled up in bed and got the best night sleep EVER!
The next morning, the first words that Noah said when he woke up were, “Can I have my unicorn now?” I have never been so excited to give someone a toy in all my life. The next night, it took a little more convincing but, eventually, he was sound asleep in his big boy bed and I was able to sneak out. This morning, Matt looked at me and said, “Do you realize this is the first time we have slept in the same bed for 2 consecutive nights?” In a really sad and desperate way, that is the sexiest thing he has said to me in 7 months. Cross your fingers for us.