Do you ever have one of those thought which you just know is a horrible and rotten idea, the kind of thing which no one in their right mind would do or even condone, yet the idea persists nonetheless? My latest experience with such thoughts centered around my daughter.
Tuesday and Wednesday nights were not exactly quiet and peaceful in the TheMikeDuBose household. The progeny unit, for reasons which will remain a mystery until she learns how to talk (which should be some time next week, right?) decided that sleep was for chumps. Furthermore, she also decided that if she had to sleep, there was no point falling off unless she had spent an average of six hours, seventeen minutes actively fighting sleep...mostly by screaming and flailing. Now, for the record, I love the little bugger wholeheartedly, but the sleep ... um, difficulties ... did not have a positive effect on household morale in general.
Wednesday night, we gave her the supposedly calming and soothing bath, and by 9:30, my darling spousal unit went to put the progeny unit to sleep. I was catching up on chores, so I don't know exactly what was happening. Enough was clear, though, to realize that whatever was going on in the nursery, it didn't involve slumber, rest, or anything else we parental units might actively desire.
A half hour till midnight, I took over get-thee-to-rest duty so the spousal unit could lay down. The progeny unit, however, had no intention of doing anything of the sort, and she made this very clear in an extremely voluminous manner. She's a darlng girl, but if she's not happy or doesn't want to do something, she will let you and your ear drums know. Things got incrementally worse if I had the gall to, say, try sitting or even leaning against something. Somewhere after an hour of holding my darling, wonderful girl who insisted on flailing, screaming, and generally acting like a stunt double for The Exorcist, I had an idea.
What, I pondered, would happen if I matched her scream-for-blood-curdling-scream? If every time she yelled in my face, I yelled back in hers? If every time she flailed her body, I did likewise? It would, I decided, be tremendously stress-relieving (and, by this point, I had more than a little stress). It would be therapeutic in that it might take my mind off my tendinitis-weakened shoulder and inflamed back, both glowing after a few hours of pacing and rocking the little bundle of hellion-esque joy. Moreover, it would, to an outside observer, probably be pretty funny...imagine walking into a room and seeing a father holding his screaming daughter, leaning into her face, matching her scream-for-scream, decibel-for-decibel. Kid lets out an "EEERRRGGGGHHHKK?" Parent leans over, looks on in pride, and then lets out an even louder "EEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!"
Even in my mentally weak state, though, I realized such an action, while cathartic and possibly entertaining, very well might not be in anyone's best interest. Luckily, somewhere around 1:47, the progeny unit calmed down on her own and fell asleep. I kissed her, laid her down in her crib, and told her that I loved her in spite of any demonic fits she might display. I then crawled into bed for some blissful, restorative slumber, my thoughts of screaming directly in my daughter's face receding.
In case you're wondering: the benefit of this particular struggle/yelling session? A little over an hour sleep on each side.