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I'm going Baron von Trapp

Ok, so maybe I'm not quite ready to pack Cole off to military school. And I'm a pretty permissive parent, really. But I've actually turned out to be much more of a disciplinarian than, I think, anybody thought I would be. Certainly, I didn't think I would be and I know Kelly didn't.

Overall, I think our culture is seriously lacking in telling our kids no. I try to keep this in mind in my dealings with my toddler. It does neither of us any good for me to let him run too wild--sooner or later he needs to learn to listen. At the very least, life will present him with things he must do even though he does not want to do them. Sure, I have to pick my battles. And a good part of his current development stage is deciding how much he understands what is being asked of him. Things he is ignorant of I am far less upset about usually. Not his fault. What really gets under my skin is the stuff where I know he can hear me, is cognitive of what the words mean, knows what is being asked and why. Yet the little monsters still refuse. Few things are as frustrating as a parent than looking an 18 month old in the eye and asking them to stop--only to get a smile and running away to continue doing whatever. I know impulse control is difficult and all my developmental psych. Doesn't make it easier. Heh.

Last night was my night on duty. Cole had slept through the night before which left me no doubt I'd be getting up. Of course, I feel a lot less angry about this after hearing that another dad blogger I follow has been up 4-5 times a night with his 19 month old. Yikes. I'll take Cole's one long stretch maybe.

My new stance--at least on my nights--is going to be firmer though. He gets one Get Out Of Bed Free complete with milk (though I did not last night), snuggle, understanding tones, and hugs and gentle back to beds. Then, barring illness or nightmare (these are usually just "awake" wanting to play spells), he must stay in the crib. Lights stay dark. Must be quiet. In fact, I'm finding my new strategy of just taking a pillow and blanket into the bedroom with him to work for me so far. He loves a good 3am scream and giggle. He rolls around and wants to pound on the railing. None of that!

Last night's new tack seemed to do fairly well. My philosophy is making him understand that your sister is sleeping, Mama and Dada want to sleep, it's night and time for quiet. Little boys should not be making noise and standing up. New requirement: you must be quiet. Standing up silently just seems boring so hopefully that means laying down. Little boys who lay down quietly will eventually drift back to sleep.

Then daddies who are grumpy bears when they don't get a good rest can go back to their comfy beds.

Naturally, all this is mostly dependent at this point on the fact that Cole does listen when I tell him to shhh. Don't ask me what happens when he decides this is optional.

Perhaps we'll start keeping shoes near the crib so he can run around the basement and side yard if he's really not tired. Or not. As I told Kelly this morning, at least when I lay on the floor with him in his crib I can just go back to sleep regardless of his insomnia.

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