I‘ve noticed something recently, a kind of harsh mathematical truth about the Little Miss: as she grows increasingly adorable, she also grows increasingly willful. It’s not a direct proportion either. I’d say her willfulness factor increases to the cube of her adorability, which, from an evolutionary point of view, makes a good deal of sense, I suppose.
Take the other night, for instance. We have a pretty solid bedtime routine. It usually ends with Kelly getting the Little Miss into her sleep sack, and then the Little Miss stands on our bed and shouts to me (she shouts because I am usually writing and wearing my noise-cancelling headset), “Daddy, I’m ready!” But on this night, when Kelly said it was time for bed, the Little miss replied, calmly but firmly, “No.”
Various things were tried, various bribes were made, but to no avail. The Little Miss had taken a position and she was not going to give up the high ground. More warnings were given. More bribes were made. Quid pro quo was in full force. Eventually, satisfied she’d gotten what she wanted, the Little Miss acquiesced and I put her in her bed.
Usually, as our routine goes, I lie down next to the Little Miss and we listen to “rain music” on my iPhone for the 10 minutes or so it takes for her to fall asleep. The one significant variation to this routine comes when we listen to rain music for 30 or 40 minutes, not because the Little Miss won’t sleep, but because I have fallen asleep. But this seemed to be an ordinary night. We had figured out some way of getting her into bed quietly, mostly by distracting her from the fact that she was going to bed, and now, we both laid quietly in her room, the Little Miss in her bed, me on the floor, listening to rain music.
I was drowsy, but I kept watching her. Sometimes, I watch her as she falls asleep. On this particularly evening, she lay on her back looking at the ceiling, and I could actually see her mind working. It was eerie. But she didn’t stir. She simply stared at the ceiling, quiet, while the rain music continued to play.
My eyes had closed and I had nearly fallen asleep when I heard her speak suddenly. She didn’t shout or howl. She said, as if in sudden realization, “I am in my bed.” She paused and then followed it up with a vehement, “Oh man!“
I am not a mind-reader so I cannot say this with certainty, but I believe that in that moment, the Little Miss realized that, despite her protest, she ended in her bed anyway, and by her own acquiescence, and was expressing her own utter frustration.