For her third birthday, my sister and brother-in-law sent Nora a stuffed turtle nightlight with a hard shell that projects constellations on the walls and ceiling. It is so cool. I am completely jealous of Nora’s room. She has a white noise machine that plays ocean sounds and stars all over her walls. It’s like a sleep spa in there.
Except she won’t sleep. She has devised a stalling technique for each phase of her bedtime routine. She can’t decide whether to read stories or poems. Once she decides on poems, she pretends her copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends is her laptop, and I’m not allowed to touch it. She hems and haws about kissing her daddy goodnight. She claims she does not need to go potty. Or that she has to poop. She takes an inordinate amount of time applying toothpaste to her toothbrush. She keeps me in her room for snuggle time as long as possible. She needs water. Different socks. More blankets. One more hug. When I finally escape, she thrashes around, talking and singing songs. She calls to us at ten minute intervals. She wants underwear (she’s already wearing some), she has to go potty again, her socks fell off. Her stars turned off.
The turtle has a forty-five minute timer. This means, from the time she is tucked into bed to the time she yells, “The stars turned off!” she has fought sleep for forty-five minutes. On Saturday, there were two rounds of no stars. An hour and a half of bedtime shenanigans. I’m tired.