Ever since Heather was a baby, I’ve been her favourite. When she hurt herself, it was me she looked to first for comfort. And when it came to bedtime, she always preferred being tucked in and read a story by Daddy.
That’s still the case today, but I think it’s eased off and she’s more balanced in her affections. Which is a good thing, because I know it was something that always upset Gem a little.
And I know how she feels, because Megan is the complete opposite – she’s very much Mummy’s girl, and it’s my turn to play second fiddle.
This has proven a little problematic in the last couple of weeks, particularly when it comes to bedtime. Megan refuses to go to sleep unless Mummy is the last one to give her a “cuggle”, and often one isn’t enough. A few nights Gem’s had to go back up to her three or four times before she’d settle.
We do tell her this isn’t acceptable, of course, and that it has to stop, but we also know that she’s in pain from her last four teeth coming through, so it’s a bit of a balancing act between compassion and tough love.
Tuesday night was the worst. She wailed for a good hour, and it was only after a dose of Calpol that we couldn’t have given her any sooner that she finally settled. To her credit, Heather somehow managed to drop off in the next room, despite the racket her sister was making.
What’s interesting, though, is that she’s only like this when she knows (or thinks) Gem is in the house. If Megan thinks Mummy’s out, she’s quite content for Daddy (or my folks when the girls go for a sleepover) to put her to bed. And that was the case last night, which I was quite relieved about – after the trauma of Tuesday, I must admit I was approaching bedtime on Gem’s Slimming World night with some trepidation.
But it passed off without a hitch. There was a slight wobble, when Megan asked about Mummy, but I made her a deal – if she tried to go to sleep, Mummy would give her a kiss and a cuddle when she got in. And I’m relieved to say that did the trick – and Mummy upheld her end of the bargain too, although she waited until after we’d eaten before going up.
I remember Heather going through a similar phase at round about the same age. That resulted in her bedtime becoming a long drawn out affair, involving multiple stories and songs, and we’re keen to avoid getting drawn into that with Megan. Hopefully it’s just a phase, and it will pass once those troublesome molars are fully in.