Bedtime’s all haywire again. For a while there I thought we’d cracked it. Just turned three, out of his crib and in a bed for big boys and, for a while, a solid nine-and-a-half-hour schedule. Up in smoke. Now, it’s all about Mama. Deep attachment issues. Attachment like spending half the day clawing at her left calf attachment, and bedtime resembles something we need hockey masks for. He basically won’t go to bed for “mama.” With me he’s fine: a bottle, two books, teeth brushed, down he goes, gets to call out one time and out. All of which only works if “mama” ain’t in the house.
So she’s been doing a lot of yoga. Half the time actually doing yoga and half the time taking the yoga mat out to the car and then heading to CVS to compare shampoo and Dramamine prices. If she’s home, he wants to read six books, plus another three bottles, then water, then, when she finally gets him into bed, he’s calling out every three minutes for his blankets to be fixed or to have Buzz Lightyear closer to his head, or Bear-Bear more precisely at a forty-three degree angle from the wall and exactly an inch-and-three-quarters from Squirrel. The only thing that works, “if you don’t stop this right now, Papa’s putting you to bed.” Cause, you know, Papa’s such a bold stroke disciplinarian with the intimidating physique and the no-nonsense voice. Which I’m not. Except to a three-year-old. For mama, he won’t even stay in his room. Just keeps on coming out like Jack from his box.
The base line for all this: I haven’t been out for months. I mean, we’ve been out as a couple, cause, you know, for a baby-sitter he’s down by 7:30 and the mice don’t even rustle. Nancy’s out all the time cause, well, it’s easier for everyone, but I’m basically attached to the house. Haven’t been for a beer in six weeks. Nobody to talk to my perfect marriage about, my perfect colleagues, my perfect life. Instead, high and dry on the couch every night grading papers on “Heathcliff as heroic: discuss,” cause, you know, I’ve no excuse not to be doing such things–though you would think I’d have more time to come up with better essay questions. The other advantage being the obvious one of a partner who does yoga six days a week.
Of course I know it’s another stage, but they come so quickly. In a couple of days we’re off to England for Christmas and that’s going to throw him into a monster spin, hopefully the kind that realigns his sleep patterns into a neat 7:45 at night to 7:15 in the morning virtual perfect circle kind of thing cause that’s what happens when kids don’t nap for two weeks, sleep in blow-up beds in bedrooms so damp that the ceilings buckle, and eat fruit loops and Christmas cake at every meal cause that’s what their cousins do. The other possibility being that he comes back to Los Angeles and never sleeps again.