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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Please! 

Celeste has been surprisingly good about having to going cold turkey on giving up her pacifier. While in Maine, I think she was a bit shell-shocked for several days and held out hope that we'd have a replacement at home or something. (The first night back, in fact, she asked for a "yellow paci," one of the heavier duty ones we had laying around, but Evelin had already nixed plans to reopen the pacifier door, so those had to be lost ...)

The biggest problem is that the paci was a big part of helping her get to sleep; with the exception of long car rides (when we hoped she might sleep), paci use was only allowed in the crib for nap and night time. With out that familiar ritual, Celeste is having some problems with getting to sleep. She sleeps pretty well overnight, but those first 15 minutes to an hour can be bad.

Before Maine, we had a pretty well established bedtime routine with the story penguins — three stories (one per penguin) and then in to bed. If Celeste wanted more stories she could tell them to Puppy, Dee Dee Bear, and the other stuffed animals until she fell asleep — and often she did: We'd hear over the monitor, "Celeste, D.W. go to big swimming pool in College Park, uh-huh" or "Puppy big big dog go '*pant* *pant* *pant*'" or some other variant tale.

Now the third story is followed by a request by "Dada [or Mumma], tell Celeste more story, please!" If we give in to a fourth story, there's a demand for a fifth, then a sixth, then a seventh, ad infinitum. However, we're working had with Celeste and manners right now. She's getting a lot better about saying "please," "thank you," "you're welcome," and "sorry" — usually with prompting, but increasingly spontaneously. (She used to be pretty good about signing PLEASE, but it was often in the context of "I want," so I'm not sure what meaning she associated with the sign.)

The dilemma is that I want to reward the "please" with an additional story, but that one penguinless story seems to lead to a greater bedtime tantrum than if the stories are capped at three.

Add to this the loss of the paci and you can understand why she's standing in her crib screaming/sobbing: "Celeste need more story! Please! Celeste big, big girl! Celeste wake up now! Morning! Celeste want more num-num! Celeste big, big girl! Celeste go downstairs, play! Celeste need more story! Please! More story!"

It's heartbreaking and guilt inducing, but there seems to be a steady downward curve in intensity and duration of these tantrums since Saturday night, so hopefully she's finding a way to ease herself into sleep ... and then we can work on improving the nap routine.

[ASIDE: This afternoon, Celeste was tired but resisting her nap. Unlike bedtime, for naptime we let her take some books to her crib and after a half-hour or so of quiet time, she started saying she wanted to get up. She'd skipped her nap on Monday, and was supercranky by the time I got home. I thought I'd see if I could get her to stay in bed a bit longer, so I picked up the Beatrix Potter books she'd dropped over the edge of the crib and handed them back to her and she settled in to reread Tom Kitten. There was a little protest when I left to check in on Quinn, but pretty soon there was no noise coming from Celeste's room. A while later, I peeked in: She was slumped over asleep on top of her book — very cute and definitely a trait inherited from her old man.]
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