Baby Talk: Sleep is for the weak

Parental failure alert! Kinneret hasn't slept a full night in her own bed in months.

October 11, 2007 12:55
4 minute read.
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It's 4:30 in the morning and Kinneret has decided to start her day. Not that she actually ended the previous one: Our teething two-year-old tot has recently sworn off sleep. She's taken up wailing instead and would make her opera-singer grandmother proud. All three kids are meant to bunk down in the same room and while she can't yet smash wine glasses, her vocal prowess does tend to shatter her brothers' sleep. And thus begins the game of Musical Bedlam. Like musical chairs, it's all about finding a roost when the music stops. In this case the music is Kinneret's multi-decibal renditions of cats (not the musical) and the surface could be anything from the floor, to a couch cushion, to our bed or anyplace in between. It is a game of chance, one in which children generally have the upper hand. Parental failure alert! Kinneret hasn't slept a full night in her own bed in months. Since my husband and I are so afraid of our tiny dark-blonde banshee in the wee hours of the night, we'd much rather she slept peacefully on a mattress on the floor than slog it out with her midnight tantrums. Kinneret: 1, parents: 0. Originally she'd start in her bed and then move to the floor mattress. Then she began refusing to be put in her crib at all. Kinneret: 2, parents: 0. Eventually her twin brother Yaron wised up to this and also began refusing to start his night in his crib. So we put them both on the mattress where they soon made a sleeping ying-yang and then moved Yaron into his crib during the night. Twin tag team: 3, parents: 0. Then, of course, he clued into that too and took his cue from Kinneret and began screaming when moved. So we left him on the mattress as well. TTT: 4, parents: 0. At the twins' second birthday party last week, my husband casually mentioned our problem to his twin's wife. She was aghast they were still sleeping in cribs and suggested that this is the root of the problem. That was a Wednesday night. I took her advice to heart and on Friday morning set the wheels in motion. My big boy Ya'ir had been lucky enough to receive a bed from a colleague when it came time to clear his crib for the twins. Now my brother- and sister-in-law graciously consented to loan us their son's old bed since he's currently in a bunk with his younger sister. My brother-in-law even brought it especially from Modi'in and put it together. (To make Ya'ir feel special as well, we moved him to his older idol's former bed.) Our master plan is to purchase a bunk bed in a few years that sleeps three. But until Ya'ir is coordinated enough to climb the ladder half-asleep, and until fearless Yaron is smart enough not to attempt it, we needed another "mitat ma'avar" or in-between bed. No excuses. Now that we were two beds up, I scooted down to one of Jerusalem's congested shopping districts and made it to my favorite baby store 10 minutes before it closed for Shabbat. It was having a sale on what looked to be a pretty solid wooden bed, my sidekick Ya'ir approved it, and within the hour we were putting it together. Another few hours and the cribs were disassembled and stored in our building's basement. With a high-five to Ya'ir, by Friday afternoon the cribs were banished and all three kids had their own new bed. TTT:4, parents: 1. IT HAD THE makings of a peaceful Friday night. We'd eaten a pleasant family meal with minimal crying and maximal food intake and now it was time to test out the new beds. Ya'ir was excited, Yaron was willing and Kinneret, having chosen the new bed for herself, deigned to lie down on it. Almost an hour of my husband's Hebrew lullabies later, she and Yaron were asleep. TTT: 4, parents: 2. And then - thunk! She rolled out of the bed and hit her head on the floor, imprinting the pattern of the rug on her forehead. Eventually calmed, she return to sleep in the bed. I added cushioning to soften her blow in the unlikely event it should happen again. And, padded thunk! Out she rolled. But, foolish me, I denied her the mattress she adored. It's become chilly at night and she generally ends up on the bare floor with only her head cushioned from the cold. So I spent the rest of the night lying next to her bed to keep her from falling out. Funny, you never know when a full night's sleep will be your last. Then the teething and hysterical crying began. And now she didn't even want to sleep on her old floor mattress when I begged her last night. Kinneret has simply decided to swear off sleep. Sleep is for the weak. Kinneret: 5, parents: -1. The writer is the mother of twin two-year-olds and a three-and-a-half year old boy.

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