Usually at bedtime I help Scott (ie: I lie on his bed until he's ready for books and prayer) and R gets Katie into her jammies, brushes her teeth, an so forth. Last night,
R had to run to the store, so I was putting the kids to bed solo. Scott went into his room to get ready while I went to help Katie in her room. That's when things started going badly.
Katie was not interested in getting into her pajamas. Instead, she insisted on playing with the humidifier in her room. She turned it on and told me, "Look at it blowing my hair. See? Look at it blowing my hair again." It was pretty obviously a filibuster technique, but it was so adorable that I patiently waited for the demonstration to run its course before reiterating that she needed to get ready for bed. She said no.
I tried to be firm with her. I said, "Katie, you need to put your jammies on. You need to put them on right now." Again, she refused. Instead, she said, "I want to play with this train."
Usually, when Katie says no to something, you just have to wait a few moments to ask her again and she will agree. That was not happening this time. It's been like this for about a week or two, actually. I just kept asking her and she just kept saying no.
Finally, I said that I was going start counting.
I said I would count to three and if she didn't help put her jammies on, then I was going to do it for her. She just kept playing with the train as I counted, although she flinched a little bit just as I reached 3. When I moved in to take over, she started shouting with a her nose scrunched up on one side and her index finger pointed at me:
"YOU NO TOUCH ME! YOU NO TOUCH ME!"
I hesitated a bit because she was so animated. It's really out of character for her. She's been a bit sick the last week or two, so we figure maybe she's just a bit cranky. Who knows. I told her that she needed to help me change her jammies right now. That's when she pulled the door open to her closet, and then dropped down to the floor, sitting with her back against the closet door. Then she let me have it:
"I AM MAD! YOU NO TALKING TO ME! I AM MAD!"
It was difficult not to laugh at the theatrics that were so disproportionate to the circumstances. I sat down near her dresser and assumed the same kind of posture as her and waited. Eventually she came over and started talking to me about the clothes in her dresser. But once I tried to steer towards the bedtime routine, things went sour. We cycled through the whole routine a second time. I kept waiting for that moment when she would just shrug her shoulders and cheerfully say, "Okay" like she always does. Instead, she returned to her spot at the closet door, telling me, "I AM MAD! YOU NO TALKING TO ME!"
Finally I just started putting her pajamas on. I have hardly witnessed such absolute delirium from this little girl. It was intense and it just didn't stop. We only got finished with the shirt before I tried to give her a chance to settle down, but she couldn't. The magical soothing powers of her blankie were useless. She called for Mom, but Mom wasn't there. Instead, she asked for Scott.
Scott came out of his room in his Incredibles pajamas and gave Katie a hug, kissed her on the top of the head and said, "It's going to be okay, Katie." Any other time, this would have been fantastic. Not tonight. She decided she wanted Mom and that was it.
So we called mom on the phone. That also wasn't good enough.
In the end, the solution was to let Katie go with Scott into his room, where he read her a funny little book about a mouse jumping in successively larger puddles. She laughed. While they read a second book about the mouse catching fish from a pond, she let me finish putting her pajama bottoms on.
Wow. Quite the evening. Thank goodness for Mr. Incredible.