Tuesday, January 10, 2006

We're all on the edge of our seats here.

Quinn rolled off our bed on Friday and we've been suffering through a little chaos since. Madeleine's room is now Quinn's, which means it has a crib and a bunch of other randoms (including my desk and computer, a stack of framed pictures that I think are ugly, Christmas decorations that I've been too lazy to bring downstairs and books). The old spare/guest/computer room is now Madeleine's, but also holds all the other junk that didn't quite make it to the garage or basement. (What do you people in apartments do, by the way? How do you contain the shit-sprawl?)

The problem we're having with the transition is not the strewn-about contents of our home, but Madeleine's reaction to it. She's terrified in her new room. During the day it's a large, bright, south-facing, fun center. At night, it's the room of horrifically scary shadows and bumpy scritchy noises. Jim's convinced she'll get used to it, but she's not easy to distract. In fact that parenting method has never worked with her. She really gets fixated on things and is willful to boot, creating this kind of Rainman response to my nighttime soothing. (I just wrote then erased a sample conversation. It was too dull and repetitive. Rainman.) I'm having a hard time with this, because I remember being scared to death in bed all the time as a child and an inordinate amount of time as an adult. I'm still afraid of the dark area under my bed and have never bought a bed skirt because that's just covering up the scary stuff, which makes it way scarier. I sleep with the closets open so nothing can ever hide from me, and closed shower curtains scare the shit out of me in the middle of the night. I think this is the beginning of a lifetime of scary nights for Madeleine and I'm worried and sad for her. Hey!! Did you just hear that ding? I just had an idea... Nightlite! We'll see - I'll keep you posted.


Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I almost always peer behind the shower curtain to make sure Jason Voorhees isn't lurking there when I get up to pee at 3 a.m.

Good luck transitioning!

1/10/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger The Queen Mama said...

Nightlights are a beautiful thing. I bet it will help.

I thought I was the only grown woman who was still scared of what might be under the bed! Blame it on some creepy damn TV show I saw when I was about 8 or 9...or maybe a movie, I really can't remember...but I still remember the image of this nasty critter (looked a little like a bleeding albino 9-week-fetus)crawling under some lady's bed with obvious intent to do her harm. *shiver*

1/10/2006 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

We have a serious nightlight in Big-A's room -- one of those wall-mounted moon lamps from Ikea. Hey, it helps her sleep and gives us peace of mind when she stays in her room all night without interruption.

1/10/2006 4:47 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Oooh, we call my youngest Rainman and always joke about "go ahead, throw down some matches!" behind his back.

Nightlights, music, and do not acknowledge the existence of monsters. We always insisted over and over that there was no such thing. Instead of doing the whole look under the bed, closet etc. and act like there really could be one. Be lovingly consistent and follow thru.

1/10/2006 6:17 PM  
Blogger DoctorMama said...

That picture is cute and funny in a sort of terrifying way.

What DO you do with an undistractable child? Does she wear out and stop eventually?

As for the shit-sprawl, our last house was 750 square feet, with no garage OR attic OR yard. What we did was throw away, donate, throw away, throw away, throw away. Felt wasteful at first, but ultimately liberating. (Who says you have to keep the ugly pictures?) Also we didn't buy (and refused to let anyone else buy) almost any baby stuff, poor thing. Now we have twice the room (though still no attic or garage), but we're trying to maintain the less-stuff mentality. Our garbage men hate us, but it's a trash-picker's paradise every Friday.

1/10/2006 6:19 PM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

I probably should save this for one of those "Weird things about me" memes, but when I was little I was afraid goldfish would come up from under my bed & get me. My mother tells me every night she would have to put pillows all along the space where the bed meets the wall so they couldn't slip up the crack. Why goldfish? I have no idea. We didn't have a fishtank, but I did have a goldfish shaped pillow, bought at the Pepperidge Farm store. I'm not sure if the pillow was good or evil.

1/10/2006 6:26 PM  
Anonymous 1 of 2 Dads in DD said...

Our daughter usually expresses fears of the wolf or the fox coming in at night (see what those classic fairy-tale stories will do for you). We have shown her the lock on the door to the apt. and told her that only daddy and papa have a key to the door, and no fox or wolf can get in the house. So far, so good… but she's only 2 & 1/2.

This Christmas she was afraid of the Weihnachtsman (= Santa in Saxony) coming into her room. We let her know that he would go straight for the cookies and milk left by the tree, and not come in to her room.

So far there is no nightlight, but we leave the door open a crack "as long as we go to bed quietly". We've now taken to playing a CD of ocean waves at low volume in the hall for an hour or so after bedtime.

But our little girl has been a very good sleeper since ~2 months old. We had it easy, and I don't know what we would have done if things were very different.

One of the best things here is a TV show from former East German times that comes on at 6:50 every night. The "little Sand Man" (Sandmänchen) animation introduces a short cartoon or nature feature geared for little kids and then afterwards he returns & blows the magic sleeping sand out into the TV audience while a song plays telling the children that it's time to go to bed and sleep, and that their parents will also now go and rest.

1/10/2006 11:07 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

Oh poor Madeline. As we both know an overactive imagination can be too much of a good thing. Do you think music in her room along with the nightlight would help?

I love the picture of Quinn, but I missed something in how the rolling is connected to the moving of the bedrooms.

1/11/2006 7:33 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Nightlight, absolutely. Also, some kind of protective stuffed animal.

My shitsprawl generally gets thrown into closets until I can no longer open them without taking my life into my hands. Then, I take a deep breath, make a cup of tea, play music, and organize and clean and throw away ALL FUCKING DAY.

That baby is SOOOOOO cute.

1/11/2006 7:42 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Try glowing stars on the ceiling too. I'm not scared of the dark, but shadows still creep me out. When the neighbors light shines just right at my smudged up glass door it looks as if something has pressed its distorted face and hands into it. *Shudder* ((Madeline)) It's tough being a kid.

1/11/2006 7:45 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

The damn room only has two electrical outlets. One behind her bed. One behind her dresser. I plugged one in behind her dresser, and the thought of it being there seemed to make her feel slightly better. Plus we left the bathroom light on, which shines directly onto her face. Plus she was out-of-her-mind tired. So not as much scared last night.

I like the idea of music - my first thought was Peter and the Wolf, but yikes! Scary wolf! And unfortunately she's not as scared of abstract monsters as she is of real live wild animals. Any recommendations for good, soothing classical for kids?

And the glow stars are another good idea! Plus they're neat!

Thanks guys!

1/11/2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I love the music idea...and that picture is just too damn adorable!

1/11/2006 2:26 PM  

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