Monday, November 10, 2008

Diamonds in the rough

Saturday night Cora fell asleep before 7pm, which enabled me to get the last 20 papers graded (whew, and ack). She woke around 11pm, and again around midnight when I came up to bed, but all in all a really good night.

Then came Sunday night and the two-hour bedtime battle. Now, I know that there are many mamas out there who would love a bedtime battle that was only two hours, and many who would love even more the way things usually go in our house, but last night really almost broke my patience.

Okay, it did break my patience, and eventually even the duct tape was starting to look a little fragile. We had stories, we had songs, we had wailing, we had weeping, we had more songs, we had flailing about, we had clinging. It was a miserable affair that ended with us just sitting in the chair under a blanket, in the dark, quietly, waiting to see who would fall asleep first. Thank goodness the papers were already done, because I had zero energy afterwards for anything more than boiling water for a hot buttered rum.

But in the midst of all the angst, there were two especially memorable moments for me. At one point Cora insisted that before she could go to sleep she had to fix my hair - or, as she would say, "I have to make you a haircut!" This basically consists of her telling me which way to look while she lifts up my hair and lets it fall in my face. This went on for about three weeks. Then she looked at me, holding my face in her little hands, and said, "Now you look so beautiful!"

Earlier in the day we had watched most of The Nutcracker Ballet - did I mention she is also now a ballerina? - and so, once we had moved on to the sitting quietly in the dark phase, she kept putting the blanket over her head. Finally, I had to ask her what she was doing. "I putting on my mousie mask, but you no worry Mommy, I not real mouse, I just pretending for my ballet dancing."

With each of these moments I felt a pang of regret that the rest of bedtime had been so miserable, for both of us, and a foolish wish to encourage the sweet moments to last longer, and a little chagrin about that last one. But most of all I felt grateful to be reminded that underneath the wailing, whining, crying, flailing, and screaming that surfaces once a week or so, there is still my sweeter-tempered, imaginative baby.

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