Friday, August 01, 2008

Clear differences between our parental roles.

On average I can get Mateo to sleep in about 30 minutes. This includes teeth brushing, inhaler, milk, stories, some silliness and a lot of love. Once I know he's pretty much ready to sleep, I lay him in his crib, tell him I love him and to have good dreams, and I leave the room. Most times he's still awake.

Yes, I'm that good.

Well, now I am. It's taken months and months of toughening myself up and getting a solid routine going.

Then there is my husband. For demonstration purposes, I'll explain what happened last night.

Mateo's been sick these past few days, so getting him to bed early is top priority for me. Last night he was showing signs of being over the day around 5:50ish, so I started his routine. By 6:20ish, he was asleep in my arms. I didn't put him down because I knew my husband would be home soon and would want to at least see him, if not give him a kiss or two.

My husband opened Mateo's door, and I told him to be quiet but to come in. Then, like the idiot I am, I started talking to my husband in a whisper, and for whatever reason, this made Mateo open his eyes. To his amazement, his Daddy was standing there, and since he LOVES his Daddy, he wanted to get his little chubby hands on him as quickly as he could.

After we did a Mateo switch, the first thing Mateo did was reach up and touch my husband's nose, waiting for my husband to say "beeeep!" (By the way, he doesn't do this to me because I'm all business, most of the time and won't put up with nose beeping when it's time for bed.)

My husband whispered, "Beeep..."

Mateo giggled. And did it again. And again.

I said quietly, "He's never going to go to sleep if you keep responding to him. Lock up his arm."

Mateo has a favorite blanket, and when it's time for serious bedtime business, I have to cover his arm with the blanket and hold it so he doesn't keep octopus touching everything he can get to. If I let him do this, he would never go to sleep.

My husband put Mateo's arm under the blanket, and Mateo proceeded to cry in distress.

I gave Mateo a kiss and left the two to figure the situation out.

After a few minutes, my husband yelled for more milk. I went in the room to get the sippy cup, and found Mateo sitting up, all smiles and my husband looking guilty.

"You're right, he just thinks it's all fun and games with me," he told me. Mateo smiled.

He said that maybe I should take over because Mateo wasn't settling down.

"I already put him to sleep," I said. "Now it's your turn, good luck."

Then I said I'd be back in 10 minutes to take over.

Around 10 minutes later, my husband conceded defeat and yelled, "Mommmmmmaaaa!"

I walked in to find Mateo looking even more happy and awake than he was 10 minutes ago. We did another Mateo switcheroo, I got down to business, and he was in his crib within 10 minutes (still awake, but ready to sleep, because again, I'm that good.

"What happened?" my husband asked me sheepishly.

"Nothing, I just put him down."

"I tried putting him in his crib and all he did was laugh and clap," he told me.

"Do you leave after you put him in the crib?"

"No...," he said. "I tell him I love him."

"I do too! But when he's down, you need to walk out. Not sit in the chair or stand there, watching him. He thinks you're playing around."

And this is how our roles are defined: I am the no messing around, all business parent (which is why he eats, drinks, gets changed, has diapers, goes to his doctor appointments, etc.) and my husband is the all fun and games parent (which is why Mateo's face lights up so much when he sees his Daddy for the first time that day).

And so that's just how it is.

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