I recently stole Pinkie Pie from Vader. For those struggling with the meaning or semantics of this phrase, let me expand. While on vacation in Calgary we found a small souvenir shop that we popped into in Canmore. It had a lot of those really tacky souvenirs that you’re like “who in their right mind would possibly buy this” but they also had some really interesting stuff. While poking around, Vader stumbled across the Holy Grail of small stuffies (ps I’m still not pleased that we’re all just calling them stuffies…they’re stuffed animals…but anyways). This bin featured, amongst others, Frozen and My Little Pony and after much deliberation, Vader chose Pinkie Pie.
This in itself was a real struggle because Vader actually wanted Twilight Sparkle. For those wondering why my 3.5 year old son has such discerning taste in My Little Pony dolls, he has watched a couple of movies on Netflix and while we’re disclosing things, I actually really enjoyed those movies. They’re a hell of a lot better than that whiny sack of garbage, Caillou. When we got outside, one of the people we were visiting/travelling with asked Vader “why he chose a girl’s toy” which of course didn’t sit very well with my wife or myself but after explaining to both Vader and our friend that people can just like whatever they want to like, we made it out of there.
So Vader decided, upon returning home to Halifax, that he wanted to start sleeping with Pinkie Pie. This brought the “stuffies in bed” count to a resounding 12 but we allowed it on the basis that we will allow virtually anything that might lead to an easy bedtime and a good night’s sleep. About a week in, Vader was becoming incredibly difficult to get to bed. He’d get up 10-20 times over the course of 45 minutes and evenings became unbearable. And so I made a decision.
“If you get up out of bed one more time, I’m taking Pinkie Pie and you’re not getting her back tonight.” Now if you were to give me a list of possible phrases I would use as a parent and that list included such whoppers as “you don’t need underwear to eat your supper”, “if you get up out of bed one more time, I’m taking Pinkie Pie and you’re not getting her back tonight”, and “do not put your bum on my belly again or you’ll be in big trouble” I would think you were crazy. The fact is, I’ve used each of these phrases AT LEAST one time in the course of the last six months.
In the case of my threat to kidnap Pinkie Pie, I’m not sure what I was thinking. But I know this; he didn’t get up again that night. Not once. So I felt pretty proud of myself. The next night, after a few failed attempts to get him down, I made the same threat. And it worked. But like when social economist Stephen Dubner tried to potty train his daughter, my triumph was short lived. The following night, after a threat to take his pony once more, I found myself face to face with Vader when he got out of bed. And so a grown man with a job and a beard and life insurance took his son’s Pinkie Pie. However, I told him that if he stayed in bed and didn’t get up again, he could have her back in the morning for his nap. And this worked. For two nights.
The following night, not only did he get up again but when I went into his room to take his pony…I couldn’t find her. Because he hid her. That’s right. He made the conscious decision to get out of bed and in order to make sure I didn’t steal his stuffie he hid her. Luckily, Vader is quite possibly the worst liar in the world so when I said, “Where’s Pinkie Pie?” he told me that she was under his pillow. What I’ve learned over the past couple weeks of operation Kidnap Stuffies is that kids have the ability to turn anything into a game and so it was with this. Now he would hide it and when I asked where it was, he shrugged sheepishly and told me that he didn’t know. And thus died my plan.
Why do we come up with such outrageous ideas? Simple. Kids are hard and we’re looking for an edge. Parents are like Barry Bonds. There’ll be the occasional home run, and awful lot of strikeouts and we’re almost certainly juicing. To this day, I do not know how to get Vader to stay in bed. Some nights if you tell him an extra story he goes right to sleep. Some nights he’s up and yelling. Some nights he tries to make a deal for extra TV or an additional story. He insists that he’s unable to put his own blankets off so when he purposely kicks them off, you obviously have to take care of this.
Nothing drives parents crazier than a kid that won’t sleep. Nothing. By the time human beings figure out how awesome sleep is, we’re too old and have too many responsibilities to actually enjoy it. Most days I feel like Happy Gilmore yelling t the ball to get in the hole.
So what have I learned? First, kids learn at a rate much faster than normal humans. I hate to mix metaphors here but it’s sort of like the Borg. You can switch your passwords or your patterns but they will quickly destroy you AND the only thing that stops them appears to be viruses.
Second, I don’t have a clue how to get kids to sleep. People marveled at us for a long time because both our kids just went to sleep SO easily. Well, the honeymoon is over. Welcome to the gong show.
How do YOU get your kids to sleep? How do you feel about co-sleeping? Did you sleep train? We’d love to hear from you and if after all this you still have questions or need some advice, drop us a line.