Monday, January 14, 2008

Return of the Banshee

A while ago, I wrote about how Girlchild (she who is most definitely two) had started a freaky new trick that involved a someone-is-sawing-my-arm-off kind of screaming at bedtime and naptime. You can read about those good old days here.

It was, as predicted, a fairly short-lived phase. Once groom-boy and I stopped running into her room breathlessly fearing the worst and ready to bludgeon some armed torturer, she got tired of yelling. After about a week life returned to its non-shrieking normalcy - whatever that is.

Well, guess what? The banshee's back and she's as bloodcurdling as ever.

Bedtime used to be my absolute favourite time of the day because I knew I would soon have some quality time to spend with my computer - I mean with myself or with groom-boy. Seriously, though, as fine as the quiet time is, I love bedtime for the ritual of it. We started developing a good routine with both kids when they were babies and it is a lovely time featuring a nice bath, cosy PJs, a bit of milk for Girlchild, brushing the teeth, a few stories, tuck in, kiss kiss, good night. It's all so warm and sweet and innocent and aw shucks hot chocolaty.

I miss those days.

We're at the stage with Girlchild where she bucks every routine. She doesn't want to get into the tub and then she doesn't want to get out. She sometimes struggles over donning her diaper and fights the PJ choice. If there's time for two stories she'll pick six. Now she insists upon reading them to me (which is actually kind of cute). Then we struggle over brushing teeth. Then we have to decide which books and friends will join her in her crib. Oh, did I say "we" and "decide" in the same sentence? Silly me.

By the time I dole out hugs and kisses, say goodnight and close the door I feel as if I have run a mile while having an argument, which actually isn't saying much since I'm so out of shape. You get the idea, though.

Then the screaming starts. (Not mine, hers - although I'm tempted.)

It can be for various reasons - a drink, another hug, to retrieve dropped books, to "snugaminute" (which is hard to resist), but it sounds as if she is being hung upside down by her toenails. We usually end up making at least a couple of return visits. Our responses have varied from complying with her request to merely peeking in the door and telling her "goodnight" again to doing the old timer trick (waiting five minutes, ten minutes and so on before going in).

That girl has stamina, though, not to mention lungs, and the sitting-it-out strategy isn't working so well this time. Groom-boy and I have often commented - rather - shouted to each other over the noise that we expect her head is spinning around in circles and perhaps we should have the exorcist on speed dial. She is LOUD! And a bit scary, too.

Her brother, Vern, who is a newly minted six-year-old, says we should go in, tell her we're going to get what she wants and then never come back and she'll fall asleep while she waits. Uh huh. I'm afraid to try it due to the psychological implications: "And they NEVER came back," she'll be telling some therapist in 20 years. "I waited and waited for my sippy cup, but they NEVER brought it." I also suspect someone this fiery is unlikely to just drift off to sleep while waiting. You never know, though. Sometimes Vern has her pegged. He also has to try to sleep through the Din That Never Ends, so I feel for him and applaud his efforts to find a solution.

Hopefully this little bump in the bedtime routine will iron itself quickly like the last time - and before we all go deaf.


Mama P said...

The banshee's back! ruuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steph said...

Mama P! Nice to hear from you! Where've you been? For the love of God, please save me from the screaming!