I tell my mom about our new no-baby-in-bed rule, and she sighs. "I used to love sleeping with you guys," she says. "You'd just crawl in next to me during the night." Her nostalgia makes me wonder whether we're being too harsh. But it feels like it's all or nothing, and right now the priority is giving everyone a good night's sleep.
8 p.m. Ella goes to bed very easily, with only about 15 minutes of crying. "See, it's getting better," my husband says, jinxing us. I make him knock on wood.
12:30 a.m. The wood apparently didn't do us any good, because Ella's up, and she's hysterical. We take turns going in. When Patrick goes in, she angrily pushes him away. When I go in, she falls down heavily, sobbing into her mattress. But at least she's lying down, and I pat her on the back. I linger longer than the two minutes we're supposed to stay, hoping desperately that she'll stop wailing and fall asleep. When I leave, she stands up again, screaming for me to come back. It's 15 more minutes until Patrick goes in. I can't wait out the next full 15 until it's my turn; I last only five. Exhausted, Ella falls asleep as soon as I put a hand on her little back. I tiptoe out.
1:30 a.m.. Ella's up again, and she won't lie down even when I go into her room. We start taking turns again, but Patrick gives up after 40 minutes. "Let her cry," he mumbles into his pillow, and then he falls back asleep. I watch the clock, going in every five minutes -- in between visits, I watch snippets of a Michael Jackson expose we have on TiVo. Ella finally falls back asleep two hours later.
5:45 a.m. I guess she slept in because she was up crying all night. There's no argument from Patrick when I bring her into bed with us, and we all fall back asleep, grateful for an extra couple hours' rest.