Monthly Archives: September 2014

The big big bed

It was only a few short months ago that our youngest boy was falling asleep each night securely behind the bars of his cot. I say securely because he had not quite figured out a method of egress and was as such, a captive.

Today, things are different. The little guy now sleeps in a double bed in his room that has been shoved into a corner with a barrier on the open side to prevent the roll, plop, cry trilogy of children in big beds from playing itself out. It is a temporary arrangement because he caught us a little by surprise one night refusing to go to sleep in his cot and we had not yet found a new ‘big bed’ for him. But there was the guest bed…a comfortable place to pass the time while we, as very tired parents, waited for him, the not so tired toddler, to go to sleep.

The little guy has claimed this bed in much the same way a prospector in the old west would have claimed a vein of gold, by simply occupying it.

Now our reality has shifted. He can easily get out of the bed and come find us if he happens to wake up alone or decides he’s had a good forty winks and doesn’t need any more sleep. To be quite honest, that’s not really a plus for the mommy and daddy. In point of fact, it has several obvious downsides, chief among which is that we can’t make the child stay in one place at bedtime and the cot was literally the last place we were able to contain the little guy in. He has long since figured out internal doors and the car seat is really an honesty-based restraint system now, given that he can free his arms anytime he wants to. So that’s the end of the proverbial lollipop.

Now begins a period of negotiation in which we’ve been with his older brother for the past two years where, in order to get the child to go to bed and stay there long enough to fall asleep, you need to have excellent negotiation skills and an above average level of patience. For the next two years (at least) we’ll be chasing the little guy around the house to make him go to bed and then stay there.

That said, when he’s in the bed, the little guy looks like Tom Thumb and is quite simply the cutest little imp imaginable (one of a pair actually). We still lie with him most nights while he winds down, but now we share the bed. Sometimes I let my weariness get the better of me and try to rush the onset of sleep by barking orders at him. Close your eyes. Go to sleep. Quiet. But he usually ignores me completely. In these moments, on the nights when all I want to do is go to bed and start my own dreams, I have to remind myself that in no time at all he’ll simply outgrow the need for either of his parents to lie with him while he drifts off to dreamland.

And at that point, we’ll look fondly back on those long nights we spent waiting for him to drift off to sleep and we will gladly trade a year of sleep to have even a single one of them back.

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The building blocks

So after a lengthy hiatus, I’m back and have a little yarn I’d like to spin.

Our eldest has developed a hankering for Lego of late and having always had a small collection of the stuff, clobbered together over time, he started to build creations of his own design, veering away from the step-by-step connect-the-dots structures his pieces were originally made for.

So that’s great, but the issue one faces very quickly when going off plan like that is you don’t have enough pieces to build much of anything other than chariot with a couple of knights on it or a small formula one race car. In short, you need more pieces.

So we headed off to our local Lego outlet. A word of warning, do not go there without an exit strategy. There, we found a starter-kit of sorts containing around 600 mixed pieces of Lego which were varied and duplicate enough to build just about anything the heart desired. Sounds like a lot of Lego doesn’t it?

It is not.

You see, the moment you have more pieces of Lego, you cross a magic line in the sand where you almost have too much. With a limited supply, you build one thing, admire it for a short while and then dismantle and build something else. When you have a large bucket full of incredibly tough and unbelievably sharp and inexplicably invisible (until you stand on them without shoes on) pieces of Lego, your child will build something and then refuse to dismantle it, rather using other pieces from the slush fund of Lego to create something new each time. In short order you have a collection of beautiful and unique Lego creations and no spare pieces for all the rice in China.

Our Lego box contains at least eight sets of wheels so almost all of our creations have wheels – even if they then also happen to later get wings and propellers and a horse as propulsion. Sometimes the designs sport a medieval chariot wheel used as a steering wheel that no Lego man on earth can wrap his hands around and just as inexplicably, a green Lego leaf or two. There’s always a lovely symmetry between the left and right sides of things which appeals to my ordered mind. Admittedly, it is a little O.C.D but an eye for detail like that will serve my boy very well later on in life.

I expect I’m going to have to extend the size of the collection of pieces by an order of magnitude so that there is less need to destroy before creating again. Much later on we’ll add motors and servos and then we’ll start having little minions roaming the house in no time at all, stalking the cat.

That of course means two things, the first is that the radius of the scattering of Lego in the house is going to be extended which has it’s own dire implications (see reference to standing on Lego above) and the second is, at that point, my boy is going to have to share his toys with me.