I don't understand how anybody's 'baby,' that is to say their youngest child, is ever anything but rotten.
I marvel at my husband's brother. In addition to being one of the sweetest people I've ever met, Zack is the youngest of five, an accomplished musician and former Marine, putting himself through college. I stare in wonder at my younger sister's sweet disposition and self-discipline. Blair is the youngest of my siblings and yet she is not a raving lunatic. And I pray that somehow, someway, Blair and Zack are not freaks of nature or flukes. Because I'm finding in myself a deep seeded weariness in raising my 'baby' that wasn't there when the other two were staying at home.
I'm just so freaking tired. All of the time. I tell her to clean up but she knows I don't mean it the first time. I send her to bed but she knows I'm a sucker for 'one more kiss and a hug.' I referee fights between Sadie and her two older sisters but don't follow through every single time like I would have with Aubrey and Emma. I can't. I simply don't have the energy.
Recently, I was collapsed on the couch after returning from a work trip. Emma came running into the room crying, 'Momma! Sadie bit me!'
'I'm sorry.' Lame. I am so lame.
'Do something about it. She bit me.' Emma wailed. I will say she was having to work really hard to produce tears and there were no teeth marks that I could see. 'Put her in timeout. Do something.'
Moving off the couch seemed nearly impossible. 'Okay. Will you go get her?'
Sadie, the unsuspecting baby that she is, came on the first attempt where I did actually get off the couch to put her in the corner.
This week brought a new parenting low. I'm not as young as I was when I started this whole parenting debacle eight years ago and I just want to sleep. For the love of God, I just want to lay down and go to sleep without anyone yelling at me. Sadie knows I am weak and can drag out her bedtime monologue for hours. She cries, she fake cries. She uses the toddler 'Get Out of Jail Free' card - 'I have to go potty.' But her favorite complaint at bedtime is, 'I don't wanna be alone. I don't wanna be alone.'
Now before you start feeling sorry for her, you need to know that both of her sisters have offered repeatedly to sleep with her. Not only have they tried to let her sleep in their room with them, at one time or another each of them has crawled into Sadie's bed to comfort her at night. And we have all learned the same thing. Sadie is a scam artist. As soon as someone gets into the bed with her, it's party time. She jumps on the bed, sings at the top of her lungs and acts like a total lunatic. Every co-sleeping adventure ends the same way - with one of her sisters coming to me and saying, 'Sadie is driving me nuts. I just want to go to sleep.'
Last week I put Sadie down for a much needed nap and she started up the same song, 1000th verse, 'I don't want to be alone. Wah. Wah. I don't want to be alone.'
At my breaking point after several weeks of travel, some with my kids and some without, I stuck my head in her bedroom door and snapped, 'I'll give you a quarter if you quit saying that.'
Then, magically? Silence.
I'd have been appalled by the very idea of purchasing sleep from my older kids but at this point, I'm willing to do what it takes. At least if she turns out completely rotten, she'll have enough money set aside for bail.
(Robin O'Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is 'Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.' Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter or visit her blog at robinschicks.com.)