My sister-in-law recently expressed disbelief when Ian told her that Max rarely protests being put to bed, but it's true. Well, kind of. Max hardly ever screams or cries when he's being put to bed, but he does wage a more subtle, psychological brand of war on sleep. For example:
Scene: mid-afternoon, in the big bed. Maggie is sleeping peacefully, dreaming of milk. Max has things on his mind that prevent him from doing likewise. First on the mental agenda: "Mama? Mama! Everyone has eyebrows, Mama."
Max waits to see if I will respond. I don't, hoping that this will discourage further conversation.
"Maggie has really, really little eyebrows, because she is little. She's a baby." Pause. Apparently not.
"Dada has the biggest eyebrows, because he's really big." Pause. Still no response from me, although I privately find this both true and funny.
"It's daytime, Mama. It's not nighttime." Pause. Max is attempting to draw me into some sort of gnomic circular argument about how reasonable people don't sleep in the daytime, because daytime is for playing, and only a barbarian would insist on confining him to his bed during daylight hours. I am wise to his game, however, having fallen into this conversational trap several times in the past.
"Shh," I tell him. "It's nap time." Brief silence.
"My dipey doesn't feel good. It itches me." Pause. Max lets out a theatrical sob and claws at his diaper. I adjust it and reiterate my wish that he succumb to slumber. Brief silence, and just when I begin to hope --
"Mama, Edgar is a cat. He's a good guy. He's not gonna bite me. He's a friend." Max pats an indifferent Edgar affectionately. There is another silence.
"Maggie doesn't like peas, Mama. She's not crying." Pause.
"Mama, are you sleeping? Wake up, Mama!" Pause. "I feel like getting up. I'm not tired anymore. I'll see you in the living room." There is a short scuffle, as I disabuse Max of this notion. We resettle ourselves, with much resentment from all parties. Max is quiet for 45 seconds.
"Mama? You married? You married Dada? I'm not married. I'm a spatula*."
"A spatula?" I inquire, before remembering that I am feigning sleep in order to trick the boy into napping. (A technique that I for some reason continue to employ, by the way, despite the fact that it has a 100% failure rate.)
"Yeah, Mama. I'm an itchy boar. I don't want to get married. I want to get married to you and Dada."
And so on.
Total Time Spent Before Max finally went to sleep: 32 minutes
*I finally figured out, after much amused puzzling, that Max was trying to say that he was a bachelor. He found some pictures of our wedding awhile back, and has been very interested in the concept of matrimony ever since. In the course of discussing who is married to whom within Max's circle of acquaintances, we told Max that he was not married to anyone at present, and that he was therefore a bachelor. This nugget of information seems to have crossed wires with a cooking lesson, mutated into a wild pig with skin problems, and given birth to hilarity.