We're going through a little bit of a bedtime rebellion these days.
It's not all the time, but more often than not in the past couple of weeks somebody's stubborn little daughter will "go to bed" just fine. Obviously it can't be my daughter, it must be Jason's daughter, as I have absolutely no stubbornness in me whatsoever. None. It is in no way the defining characteristic of my life.
She'll have her bedtime drink, get her teeth brushed, maybe play quietly for a few more minutes, then go right to bed after our bedtime song.
Approximately an hour later, the crying commences. Sometimes it's half an hour. Sometimes fifteen minutes! She likes to keep us on our toes.
It doesn't even sound sincere half the time, the half-hearted sort of good-natured wailing of a toddler who absolutely knows that sooner or later she's going to have to go to sleep.
Lately, she's been adding a truly pitiful little "Moooooommeeeeeee" or "Daddeeeeeee" at the end, her unerring child instincts telling her how much it physically hurts not to immediately run to her rescue.
She won't stop there. At first, she'd push herself up to a sitting position. Eventually, though, she'll end up laying down and falling asleep anyway.
Now she's gotten clever.
She forces herself to stand, arms draped over the side of her crib to keep herself that way, managing to do the one thing she knows will keep her awake.
After so long, of course, we do go in. We count the minutes or the amount of times she cries our names as though about to eaten by ravenous wild beasts, and eventually we go in.
Sometimes, if we don't go in fast enough, she switches things up and attempts to take her clothes off. She can't figure out how neckholes work right now, though, and ends up with one arm sticking through it and the other stuck halfway through the wrong sleeve.
Then she'll sob extra dramatically until we come to fix it.
Which we eventually will.
Because we are suckers.
Of course, then she needs some milk to drink to calm back down. Oh, and snuggles, and maybe a few more minutes of playtime.
Last night, rather than do the general dance of turning off all the lights and the TV in the living room and having one of us sort of hide so she doesn't know that we're still awake and have the temerity to be interacting with one another without her presence, I just picked her up and took her straight to our room to lay down in the dark.
In a span of about seven minutes, she cried piteously, sat up on top of my stomach, bounced until I was about to throw up, laid back down and snuggled, sang along with me, cried again, sat back up, rolled over to lay down next to me, kicked the blankets off of both of us somehow, cried some more because now she was cold, pulled the blankets back up but somehow over both of our heads, climbed back on top of me, attempted to stick her finger up my nose, and finally rolled back off and laid down next to me again.
Then she sat back up.
"Mommy mommy mommy," She said cheerfully.
"You are obviously sleepy," I said, I thought reasonably.
"Are you sure you don't need to sleep?"
"I'll give you a choice. You can lay down in here next to Mommy or you can go to bed in your room. Which one would you like to do?"
She was lost in thought for a long time.
"Audra? Do you want to lay down with Mommy or go to bed?"
So I picked her up and said, "Nope, that's not one of the answers, so you're going to bed."
I carried her into her room, laid her back down, and sang one more song.
She had a cheerful conversation with her stuffed animals and then went to sleep a few minutes later.
It was 8:30.
I was exhausted.