Monday, September 27, 2010

The Gate

Kale fears the gate.  Just mention the gate and you will see a look of fear cross his face.  Mention it at bedtime and you will get a fit.  His fear of the gate is sad.  Based on his reaction, you might think something terrible has happened to him with the gate.  In his world, it has.  The gate removes his control at bedtime.  If the gate is down, he can crawl out of bed and come to our room....sometimes multiple times.  Yes, we allow him to come to our bed...but not before he has ever even gone to sleep in his own bed.  He knows, once the gate is up, there is no more coming and going from his room...and to him, that is the end of the world. 

A few nights ago, I had to bring out the "gate threat".  Oh the fit.  He had crawled out of bed and come to our room several times.  I had rocked him, tucked him in, said goodnight, left on the closet light...but he wanted me in his bed and I wasn't giving in.  Control.  So back to the gate.  I actually did have to put it up in his doorway. 

What followed was every parent's heartbreak and breatkthough all rolled into one.  He screamed, jumped up and down, shook the gate, tried to reach over it to open it (its more complex than just a latch), and even hiked a leg up to see if he wanted to try climbing over.  I was watching all of this from the edge of my doorway.  He couldn't/didn't see me, but I could see him.  It took all the restraint I had to stay put when he hiked up his leg to attempt climbing.  I waited it out.  Glad I did.  He isn't a huge risk taker.  Not yet anyway.  I guess the little bit of gate wobbling as he hiked up his leg was just enough to make him worry about falling.  Then, in defeat, he ran back to his bed and covered himself up...and fell asleep.  I went in about 30 minutes later to make sure he was well covered.  I also took down the gate and later that night he came to our bed and gave his dad a good nightly kicking in the back.  Since that night, there haven't been any problems with him staying in his bed to fall asleep for the night.   

Fast forward to this weekend.  Kale became very interesting in trying to put up the gate in his doorway.  Smart little sucker.  He knows if he can figure out how to put it up, he will know how to take it down.  He went and got his babies and laid them in the floor close to the doorway.  He then tried to put up the gate.  Once he believed he had succeeded (the gate was standing, but one little movement of air and it would fall over), he let me know that the babies were not staying in thier bed and that he put the gate up.  Control. I couldn't help but laugh.  See mom and dad, those college psych classes are paying off!

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