Manipulation in Masquerade

My elder son is a master puppeteer. He has recently revolted against his younger brother's increasing encroachment upon his parental attention by resorting to a mastery of manipulation. "Mama, I love you" he implores, with an emphatic elongation of the word he's understood pummels persuasion, "please don't pick M up." He solidifies his performance by skewing his head and battering his eyelashes in solemn supplication, "I love you so much, mama. Can you not do that? Can you?"

This certainly coils me into a conundrum. I have to explain that I'm M's mama too, an explanation which evidently does not satisfy L. "Why?" he asks matter of factly. "Can you not?" he asks as if he were merely requesting a change of wardrobe.

Recently M may have had an increasing share of attention. His first few steps occurred a few weeks ago in his ninth month and we were stoked. L looked on circumspect. He pointed out that he can also walk and his upturned lip and curt tone implied that he thought the absence of parental cheer attached to his every step was an egregious injustice.

L's tried to inveigle us into accepting the laxer standards of his brother when it comes to bed time. Since we took the protector from his door so that he can come out in the morning when he wakes up and use the potty if he so needed (or come cuddle and read in bed, our favourite morning pastime), he's used it to leave the room at bed time and run up to us in the living room, refusing to go to bed. Between repeated statements of "it's playtime" he tells us he loves us as if he were vacillating between whether hypnotization or persuasion were the most effective policy and endeavouring to cover both for good measure.

Meanwhile, our little tyrant, is still not sleeping through the night, demands multiple feedings and continues to hold dominion over our bed. He's obstreperous to an offense. After all, he's the kid
that Navy Sealed his way across a room to get a toy car when he didn't have the muscles to effect a proper crawl a few months ago. However after ten months of nursing continually through the night, the tapestry of my sanity is in tatters and the time has come to grit through the gallows of sleep training. My excuse at first was that he was hungry and then I feared that he would wake up our elder son, but now neither are holding up. To prevent his guillotine of guilt which usually slices me to submission, we're going to start the rigid sleep training the three nights I'm back in NYC.


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