Sunday, November 09, 2003

I am so proud of Youngest. She has adopted the time-honored tradition of the Bedtime Water Stall.

I find it amazing that all of us as human beings, independent of any organized plot or intention, have at one time used the Stall on our caregivers. It works every time, and yet no adult can resist it.

Step 1. Refuse to go to bed. Wail, scream, beg, whimper, kick, and plead in an effort to avoid going to bed.

Step 2. Stand in your crib long after Mom has kissed you good night and closed your door, and howl without mercy.

Step 3. Suddenly stop crying, sniffle plaintively, and call out with sincere earnestness, "Mom? Mommy………?"

Step 4. Give Mommy a second to wonder if the cessation is some kind of trick, and then call, "Can I have a drink of water?"

Even the most steadfast and resolute Ferber parents find themselves weakening at this innocent request. They ask themselves whether their own rest or sanity at the end of a long day is worth denying their sweet child a simple drink of water, and the answer is always Of Course Not.

We can ignore requests for Oatmeal the puppy, Emily Baby, another blanket, a lullaby, a hug, and even one last kiss goodnight. But not water. It just seems so cruel to leave a small child all alone in a dark room without even a sip of water.

And maybe part of us remembers being that child and feeling relief wash over you when the door to your bedroom opened and your mother appeared with a small cup of water, backlit by the bright hallway light. She'd help you to sit up while keeping the covers tucked tight around you, perch on the edge of your bed and put one arm around your shoulders while you gratefully took the cup and leaned into her warm motherness for one last stolen cuddle before sleep.

I can't help it. The little voice calling "I habba dink of water?" will probably get me every time. Good for her.

No comments: