Posted this is Facebook about a year ago:
During the summer of 2009 Sara was rapidly approaching the great age of 3. She was learning to do so many things herself, and was not hesitant in insisting that she do so herself. When she managed the task she was often praised, “Such a Big Girl!”
Her speech began improving greatly. Now almost everyone who were not her parents could understand what she said. Well, most of the time. “I CAN DO IT! I’m a Big Girl!”
Pouring the cereal into her bowl. “I wanna do it! I’m a Big Girl!”
Turning the lights on. Or off. “I can do it! I’m a Big Girl!”
Shoveling compost into the wheelbarrow. “I wanna do that!” Daddy says, “I don’t think so, kiddo. This shovel is awfully heavy.” Sara says, “I’m a Big Girl.” Daddy says, “I know, honey. But this shovel is bigger.” And then the heart wrenching howl into the sky telling everyone within a 30 mile radius just how frustrating it is to be so big, and yet not big enough. For such a tiny person, she can belt out a scream. And tears. If I cried that much I’d be as dehydrated as Astronaut ice cream.
Now for several months every night Big Girl Sara has been waking up sometime between 1:00 am and 3:00 am. She comes running down the hall calling, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” Her feet do not pitter patter. They go whack whack whack whack against the tile floor. She crawls up into bed and blissfully falls asleep next to her mother. At the same time, Mommy doesn’t exactly get a restful night’s sleep. Sara moves almost as much asleep as she does awake. And she has vivid dreams. She cries in her sleep. She giggles in her sleep. She throws Super Tantrums in her sleep. Those are fun. So finally, Mommy says, “I can’t take this anymore. I’m just going to get up when she comes in and put her back in bed. I certainly can’t lose anymore sleep than I am already.” Or something like that.
That night Sara comes whack whack whack whacking down the hall. “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” and crawls up into bed with Mommy. Mommy hugs her close, kisses her all better, and takes her back to bed. She cried. She cried and cried and cried and cried. She cried so hard she woke Zoey up. Zoey is 5 (and a half! I won’t make that mistake again…) and could sleep next to a passing freight train while the high school marching band warmed up and my neighbor showed off his new car stereo system thumping some crap about a rapper killing his baby’s momma and two cops. I digress. So now Zoey is standing in the doorway holding Pancake (her bear). Her feet do pitter patter. “Sara’s crying,” she says. I (daddy) get up and find that Sara is actually standing behind Zoey and Pancake. I take all three of them back to bed.
I remind Sara she’s a big girl and needs to stay in bed.
Mommy reminds Sara she’s a big girl and needs to stay in bed.
It’s not long and she’s back. We knew this would happen, but we patiently take the right steps to start breaking her of the habit. It’s my turn and I pick her up. She hugs me close.
I whisper to her, “You are a big girl now. Big girls sleep in their own beds. Zoey sleeps in her own bed. Mommy sleeps in her own bed. Grandma sleeps in her own bed. Aunt ‘Tina sleeps in her own bed. Aunt Melissa sleeps in her own bed. Katelyn sleeps in her own bed. They are all big girls and sleep in their own beds.” I calm her down and leave her in her own bed.
Five minutes later.
Slowly she returns. Her head hung low, wispy blonde hair obscuring her face, her voice forlorn and in half cry, half sob, she laments, “I’m a Little Girl! I’m a Little Girl! I’m a Little Girl!”
So, she got to sleep next to Mommy for one more night. Hey, it was a big night for us all.
Sara is a Little Girl.