My daughter has come down with a slight cold in recent days, but her mood hasn’t changed drastically (though her eating and sleeping habits have). Last night after I put her down to sleep, I realized her humidifier was low, so I went in to change it out for her. She’s a very light sleeper so I did my very best to sneak in and fix it. I slowly walked into the room, unplugged the humidifier and brought it out- success! I re-filled it and then had to take the last step of returning it without her noticing.
I walked into the room then closed the door to make sure no light entered to wake her. Before I took my next step, she started to move. “Dada? Dada?”
I froze. What do I do now?
Well I did what any other parent would do at in this situation. I dropped to the ground in hopes that she thought it was a dream and would go back to sleep. But no, her questions of whether it was me in the room turned into cries for me to get her (and probably wonderment as to why I wasn’t responding to her initial requests and hit the deck). So I got off the ground, plugged her humidifier in, and picked her up to rock her back to sleep.
She asked to sit in her rocking chair, so we went and sat down and started rocking. “Hippo.” Her crying had stopped, but now she wanted to rock in the rocking chair with her hippo. I knew if I let her get it, it would turn into requests for her blanket, and possibly Minnie Mouse, the bible, and a book called “Does a Panda Go to School?“. So I took a chance and gave her an ultimatum.
“Hippo is in your crib,” I told her. “It’s night time, sleepy time. If you want hippo, you have to go in your crib and do bedtime. Or you can stay in the rocking chair with Dada for a bit before going to bed.” Obviously, she would choose to stay and cuddle with her father in the rocking chair, and I get to avoid having to search her dark room for all her favorite stuffed animals and books.
She chose the freaking hippo. Seriously. She said “hippo” one more time, so I put her in her crib. She grabbed her hippo, held him close, and happily fell asleep a few moments later.
Everyone has a hierarchy of importance regarding others. Some call them circles of friendships, or something like that. Those closest in the circle have higher relational priority than those on the outside. I accepted a long time ago that my wife would always get chosen first by Eden before me, especially when she’s looking for comfort. But last night I learned that the hippo has also surpassed me. I guess, for the time being, I can at least be satisfied with being #3 on her list.