We came back after a five day trip to New Orleans (details to come) around midnight on Sunday and landed in real life with the same force and jolt as our plane landed in snowy Pittsburgh.
Grant's parents had been with our babes during our time away and did a marvelous job. The house was clean, the toilet paper was refilled and the fridge was full of leftovers. Craft projects hung from the fridge, the windows, the walls, and there was a snowman enjoying the single digit weather outside.
We decided just to leave the suitcases in the hall and fall into bed- knowing that Monday morning was a few hours away. It came earlier then that...
Purslane has been going through a scared of the dark, does not want to be alone, please sit by my bed until I fall asleep phase. Complete with a very convincing fear of monsters. We had decided to deal with this by both engaging her imagination and teaching her coping mechanisms. We chose not to let her crawl into our bed every night when she came down the hall claiming to have seen another monster in her room, but committed to sitting in her room and talking about what the monster was doing, what it looked like, if it was looking for something, etc. We had actually gotten to the place where we would sometimes hear her chattering away in her room after bedtime, and in the morning she would tell us about the pink monster that sat on her dresser looking for cookies. She informed us that she simply told the monster that she didn't have any cookies and he/she would have to wait until morning. Success, right?? We are amazing parents.
Sunday night/Monday morning around 2am, she came into our room. We were happy to see her and gave her a few snuggles before getting up to take her back to bed. This moment is what the phrase "losing your shit" was invented for. The screams and tears that came out of that child were epic, and because she had been doing so well with sleeping in her own bed, surprising. Of course the ruckus woke up Knox who was instantly also hysterical, although I am not convinced he knew exactly why he was supposed to be crying.
It took most of the rest of the night to calm her down, get her back in bed, and tuck Knox back in his crib. All we could get out of her was variations on Scared and Monsters. She was so distraught when we tried to leave her room that I ended up curling up with her in her toddler bed and trying to get at least a few hours of sleep.
We didn't know what to do. We tried our original tactic but now the thought of talking to a monster was out of the question for her. We offered leaving the light on but that wasn't enough. At one point I tried taking her stuffed animals as consequences for refusing to go to bed, but it had the opposite effect. Now she was terrified of monsters AND not having all her "friends" in bed with her. We were at the mercy of a three year olds very real feelings about very imaginary monsters.
Then my brilliant husband did it. He sat at her bedside and told her very calmly and directly that she could feel safe staying in her room by herself because he would walk the hallway and check for monsters. She immediately calmed down and snuggled under her blankets with all her friends. She said goodnight. And for about 5 minutes I heard him walking up and down the hall and her sweet little voice would call out "Any monsters Daddy?". He would answer "No, sweetie, I'm out here looking". And she laid down, finally falling sound asleep while her Daddy kept monsters away.
Honest to goodness- that is a MAN.