Few let downs compare to the feeling of a child coming out of their room when you’ve already declared victory on bedtime.
Our toddler has become the consistently good sleeper in our family, but it hasn’t always been that way. She grew from a troubled, easy waker as a baby to a heavy weight champ, sleeper as a toddler. As long, as she actually goes to sleep. Our second baby has graciously accepted the title of terrible sleeper, and is making sure we get just enough to not go bat shit crazy. “Don’t wake the baby,” is a way of life these days.
Both kids sleeping, or so I let myself believe, I’m sitting on the couch enjoying some post bed time relaxation when I hear the familiar creak of my toddlers door.
Our new house has a cat walk type situation upstairs where you can look down into the living room. And to my horror, there she stood. Definitely not asleep. Looking at me.
“Mommy!” she called out to make sure I was really looking.
“Go back to bed.” I demanded.
“Moooommmmmy!!” she continued, louder this time.
“Yes,” trying to keep calm and in charge.
“I can’t find my pink band aid!” she informed me.
“It’s ok we’ll find you one tomorrow, go back to bed,” I replied.
“No my pink band aiiiiiiid,” said in a tone that would make the cries of an injured antelope sound pleasant.
She’s become obsessed with anything pink, and, sadly hit her forehead the day before her second birthday resulting in stitches. She rocked a bandaid for a week or so, and I honestly don’t think she even remembers it. However, sure enough, every time she comes in contact with a bandaid it goes straight onto her forehead. Whether the behavior is habit or memory is still up for debate; regardless, she rocked a pink, Hello Kitty bandaid that had been found somewhere in our house for most of the day yesterday. With no boo-boo!
At this point, I’m terrified she is going to wake up the baby. I had thrown that nasty, tattered, pink band aid away when I was cleaning up earlier so I knew I had nothing to offer. I sprang up from the couch and was about to run upstairs when I realized my husband was already up there and going to her.
I hear them going back and forth about the flippin’ pink band aid and then I hear two sets of footsteps coming down the stairs.
You know that look your kid gives when they just got what they wanted after you said no? Like a satisfied eat poo look? At only two years old, she was sporting this look, trying to look unsatisfied but obviously very pleased with herself arriving at the bottom of the stairs.
“I’m hungry,” she claimed.
“You ate plenty of dinner you don’t need to eat anything,” I responded.
“I’m thirsty,” she continued.
“Ok, here’s some water.” I offered.
“No, juice!” she demanded.
“No, you already brushed your teeth,” I reminded her.
“Juiiiiceeeeee….!!” again with the dying antelope shriek.
“Ok,” screw it, I think, and give her a little juice.
She happily chugged some watered, down juice and now surely she’s going back to bed.
“Pink bandaid,” she persisted.
Dang! She remembers! “We don’t have anymore,” I muttered, fearing the wrath I would receive with this news.
At this point, my intuition proved spot on, and all hell broke loose. She’s falling and flailing all over the ground. She started on the octave of a single, injured, dying antelope and now stepped it up to sound like an entire herd of dying antelope. I decided it’s better to think of a solution than to try to explain the rationale that she does not have a boo-boo and so therefore did not need a bandaid at all. My anxiety is starting to really rise as I’m facing the reality she is going to wake the baby up.
Maybe just maybe, if I search through our medicine cabinet there will be a pink bandaid somewhere. A unicorn. A bandaid for a toddler without a boo-boo. I dive into our medicine cabinet; quite literally. We moved not long ago and this is one of the areas that could use some organization. So, as I’m fighting my way through bottles and medicine boxes, I spot it! The unicorn, pink bandaid I had been searching for.
The joy on my kids face when I found her heart’s ultimate desire was wonderful. She took that bandaid and stuck it as quick as she could to her boo-boo-less forehead. I took a quick look very proud for deescalating the situation. Just as I am about to usher her back upstairs I notice the band aid is stuck mostly to her hair. Ok, no big deal I think, I’ll just take it off, push her hair back, and stick it on, right?
I inform her of my plan and with major hesitation from my toddler and some of her hair too off goes the pink band aid. I proceed to pull the hair off and notice one side was a little folded and stuck together. Probably from the velocity at which she stuck it to her head in the first place; so carefully, I try to pull it apart.
Frantically, I assessed the quickly deteriorating situation. What just happened?! One side tore off?! No! Am I Hercules?! Why did I pull so hard?
Then she saw it. In a split second, an entire dying antelope herd was back in our kitchen.
I look at my husband and the look on his face said only one thing, “what the actual f*** have you done?” He has learned better than to bring the words from his mind and deliver them to my ears at certain times. This was one of those times.
Now what? The awful whining continues. I’m just so tired. I’ll do anything to make it stop.
Tape? No! May stick too hard to her skin if she tries to sleep with it.
Will it stick with just one sticky side? No! It’s a total loss.
I return to the frantically picked through medicine cabinet thinking I would find another four leaf clover. Ha! Who am I kidding? No one could ever be so lucky.
I proceeed to find anything, anything to distract from this meltdown.
“Do you want quarters to buy new bandaids tomorrow?” She’s gonna choke on a quarter if she accepts this offer, why did I offer quarters?
“Pink bandaid” she cried, maybe even half asleep at this point. She continues falling to the ground, probably from pure shock that this bandaid-less existence was in fact her destiny.
I grabbed an old gift card sitting in our catch all drawer in the kitchen. “Do you want this credit card to buy more band aids tomorrow?” But, then if she does want it, is this is actually the “old” one not the one with money on it? Dang! Bad idea.
“Wahhhhhh ah ahhhhh,” she wailed.
“Ok tomorrow we could try to get Elsa band aids,” I offered one last thing before waving the white flag and carrying a screaming toddler to her bed. Sometimes, when the moon is right Elsa and Anna will speak to her, almost, like the color pink does.
Hardly able to catch her breath and through tears, she whimpered “Elsa?”
I’m in, this is it, this is the cease fire!
“Yessss! Elsa, tomorrow!” I exclaimed excitedly so she too would feel excited for our plans tomorrow.
And just like that she calmed down and went back to bed. I know this can’t be claimed as a victory; we did everything wrong. But the fact the baby did not wake up counts for something. There will be many unknown battles ahead but one thing I know for sure is, Elsa, you’re my girl!
Updated 24 hours later: The first 24 hours we had no mention of any bandaids, proving she was actually sleep walking through the whole ordeal.
Updated, again, 48 hours later: We had a catastrophe earlier, an actual booboo occurred. It disappeared by the time we showed daddy but there was a booboo nonetheless. We finally, made it to the store and got that booboo a bandaid so all is right in the world again. My toddlers world, atleast.