Monday, January 16, 2012

In Which I Failed As a Parent [But Don't Really Care]

There was a death in our family last week.

Lucy's pacifier, or nukie, as we call it, broke. She has this habit of chewing on her nukie every once in a while and the nipple part finally ripped off.

The thing was pretty disgusting as it was anyway. It really had been through the ringer. She had had this nukie since she was an itty bitty baby. Sure, I could have bought a new one. But being that she is two, going on three in April, I declared that this would be her last nukie. Once it was lost, or broke, that would be it. No more nukie.

I put my foot down. I wasn't giving in. I'm the parent. I say what's what. Sometimes kids need a little extra shove when it comes to growing up and this was all part of it.

Well that Lucy. She turned right around and showed me who's boss. And it's not me. Or Brian. That's for sure.

We bloggers have a funny way of portraying ourselves in our best light. We've got it all figured out. The best parenting strategies. Touched-up photos. Angels for kids. Even bad situations turn out good in the end. Am I right?

Well lately I've been trying to keep it real here on the ol' blog. Hence the post on the faith I live. Sometimes everything really is coming up roses. (Her name is Katherine.) But sometimes it's not. And this weekend is a prime example for me to tell you how I had a big fat fail. How I turned away from what I know I should have done and instead took the easy road.

The easy road includes things like the baby swing instead of her crib because she sleeps longer and television to keep the five-year-old quiet because I just can't answer one more curious question. Keepin' it real.

The easy road also includes going out and buying your two-year-old not one, but two new nukies even after you declare that there shall be no more nukies.

What happened as a result of the dead nukie was simple: she wouldn't sleep. For naps she wandered around her bedroom and tore it a part. At bedtime she cried for her nukie and most nights didn't fall asleep until close to ten o'clock. And in the morning she awoke much earlier than normal especially considering how late she fell asleep.

All that adds up to a whole lot of sleep loss. And when Lucy is sleep deprived you best get out of her way. If you look at her sideways she will not let it go unnoticed. There are five people living in this house and each day Lucy set the mood for all of us. And it wasn't a good one.

I waited it out through Saturday. I wanted Brian to experience a full 24 hours without a nukie. He was the biggest advocate of getting the nukie out of our lives. On nights when we thought the nukie was really lost for good, he was ready to throw in the towel much sooner than me.

"Can't this just be it? Can't we just say we're done with the nukie?" He would ask as I crawled around on my hands and knees looking in every nook and cranny for the damn thing.

He got his answer on Saturday.

"Yeah, this sucks," he said, "We need to get her a new one."

On Sunday morning Brian needed to run an errand at Walgreens.

"See if they have the same n-u-k-i-e-s," I shouted as he left. (Lucy, being the stubborn child that she is, is quite particular about her brand of nukies. I had already tried to offer her the many other options we had on hand for Katherine. "No, not THAT nukie!" she would yell at me.)

Operation New Nukie was a success. Walgreens had exactly what we needed. When Brian handed the package of two nukies over to Lucy she screamed in delight.


I've never seen a toddler cry tears of joy but I'm almost positive I saw it that day.

And since then? Not a peep at nap, not a peep at bed. And her mood? Pure bliss. Well, I wouldn't go that far. She's still Lucy, after all. But it's leap and bounds better than before.
How did I fail as a parent?  Oh let me count the ways.  But ask me if I care. I dare you.

And that, I believe, is the best way to illustrate that fancy term I learned in psychology known as cognitive dissonance.  You're welcome.

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