One of the things we have worked on the past year is getting Emma to stay in her bed all night long. Her bedroom isn't close to ours, and she gets scared in the middle of the night. For a time, she was coming into our bed every single night, and I wondered at that point if we were dealing with fears or habits. So, we set up various incentive programs to get her to stay in bed. Some were marginally successful in the short term, but no substantial break throughs leading to long term success.
Until late August, when a stroke of luck hit our mailbox.
The latest and greatest issue of the American Girl doll magazine arrived, and immediately I saw the potential for
bribery a hard earned reward. She scoured the issue cover to cover, always reaching the same conclusion....the horses were the coolest part of the magazine. Yes, I was a little sad that she wasn't drawn to the beautiful dolls and all their fancy outfits, but she takes after her big brother and has a deep seeded affection for horsey matters. She spent an hour and a half hacking photos of the horses from the magazine with toddler scissors and arranging them in a collage, heavily embellished with stickers and drawings and glitter glue. Then we hung it on the side of the refrigerator and drafted documents outlining the terms of our contract. :-)
She would stay in bed EVERY single night the ENTIRE month of September, without complaining a single time, and I would pilfer funds from our grocery budget into a side stash to fund a trip to the American Girl store on October first. (Which is the equivelent of traveling first class to the Four Seasons. Clearly, I value not having to share my half of the bed every night.)
I have to say, I was mildly optimistic. We had already tried several things over many, many months, each idea fizzling quickly due to a four year old's attention span and her great desire for immediate gratification. (Is that because of her age, or genetics??)
Anyway, she proved me dead wrong on this one. She was after the horse.
Against heavy odds, she stayed in her bed like a trooper. The true test came in the middle of the night about a week ago, when she tearfully arrived at the side of my bed. I scratched her back and gave her hugs and reminded her that if she decided to climb in my bed to sleep, that our deal would be off. I was so stinkin' proud of her when she made the decision all on her own to hike it back to her bed. It was one of those parenting moments when my heart swelled and I decided to rush right out and buy her a real pony. Sunlight has a way of curing those moments.
Without further ado, here we are, on October the first!!
Oh the thrill! The excitement! I'm not even kidding you that the bag is one of the best parts of the whole experience!
Our store isn't as cool as the one in Chicago, but it is still pretty great. This is where I will mention that two teenage boys were on this trip, adamently refusing to be photographed. However, after being reminded that Emma constantly gets dragged to baseball games and Bible Bowl events, they were incredibly good sports about going along and making this a super fun outing for Ems. They made a big deal out of helping her look at the horses, even though I have not one shred of photographic evidence to substantiate that claim!
Meet "Jewel". Our hard earned, big girl horse.
Oh how she is loved. (In a stroke of absolute luck, Emma picked one of the smaller horses, which comes with a smaller price tag. I was amazed, but who was I to argue? Let it be noted, however, that our Christmas list is already firmly established!)
My very happy, staying in bed all night every night, horse loving girl.
And with that, I shall mention that for the bargain price of a smaller horse, I have never slept better than I did in September. :-)