i have spent countless hours in the past year and a half trying to convince lincoln stibbs to go to sleep.  and the little vampire fights it like i’ve never seen anyone fight.  i once witnessed him slapping himself in the face in order to stay awake.  not kidding.  then i saw him once hide all his bottles, as if him having to nap without a comfort object would punish ME.  lately we have turned a corner and i almost hesitate to talk about it for fear that it will fall apart. 

at night after we run the gament of bath, pjs, book, goodnights, and everything that falls in between i simply do one thing.  i take him by the face and look into his eyes, i tell him it’s nighttime.  i tell him i will see him in the morning.  and that i am going to leave.  and then i run like hell.  kidding.  kind of.  i leave.  i really do, i don’t pretend leave like i used to by hiding near the closet ( i seriously used to do that) or stand outside the door.  i really truly walk away.  and he whimpers, but usually he nods off fairly quickly-only once did my jumping rope in the living room wake him up and i had to start over.  yes jumping rope. 

somedays it works and everyone is happy, other days he goes down swinging and fusses and fusses until i end up back in there patting and patting until my arms are numb, my eyes are blurry, and my back is aching.  makes me think about myself and the fact that i HATE going to bed alone.  i almost always make matt come in at the same time.  matt insists that it’s because i am scared.  but that’s not it.  just for some reason i don’t want to lay in there alone.  so i can’t fault  lincoln for wanting me to stand there until he drifts off.  he will periodically peek to see if i am still there and when he sees me i see a little smile glint across his face and he shuts his eyes with glee.  to all the ‘cry it out’ advocates, it’s those moments that make me pat backs until i get carpal tunnel.  i tell myself that it’s these moments, the really hard bedtime ones, that i will miss the most when they are 16.  or 6.  what age do they stop needing you to stand there while they sleep?  i hope i never find out.