Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The sock problem

We're still having the sock problem.

The sock problem, in case you're curious, is a strange phenomenon that started last week. It goes a little like this:

David puts William's pajamas on him.
David puts socks on William's feet.
David reads stories to William.
David puts William in his crib.
David and I kiss William good night, turn off the lights and shut the door.
Minutes pass.
William wails in abject agony.
I rush into his room, convinced that he has fallen out of his crib or gotten an arm or leg somehow stuck between the slats.
William stands up, sobbing and holding a sock.
He tells me, in rambling toddler language, mixed with tears, that he needs the sock back on or the world as he knows it will end.
I put the sock back on him.
He lies back down, ostensibly to go to sleep.
Minutes, perhaps hours pass.
It happens again.

The only thing that varies is the time at which the wailing commences. Sometimes it's around midnight. Sometimes it's 3:30 a.m. Sometimes it's both. And he almost always removes only one sock: the right sock. For months, months now! we have laughed at the way that William would often take off both socks and either lay them neatly next to him in the crib or drop them over the railing. But never has it seemed to bother him that the socks were no longer on his feet, not even on the chilliest nights. I mean, there were mornings when I would pick him up out of the crib and cringe when I felt the little blocks of ice that were formerly his feet. But somehow, now, a missing sock is a Big Problem.

Now. I know what you're going to say. You're going to say, "You fool. Why do you keep putting the socks on his feet to begin with?

And I will answer, "Because he looks at me with those big wide eyes and says, 'My feet cold. Need socks!' You try to resist that. You stand there and tell your poor little toddler with cold feet that you're not going to put nice warm socks on his little frozen tootsies. Go ahead. I'll stand over here and watch you do it. Go on."

The other obvious solution would be, "Put footy pajamas on the kid." Yes, that would be an easy solution IF we still had enough footy pajamas that fit him. His Christmas jammies strain at the neck, the light blue pair are dirty from two nights ago, and the remaining footy pairs either 1) don't fit anymore or 2) are heavy fleece for really cold winter nights. And it's not so easy to find nice soft footy pajamas in larger sizes. For some reason, the pajama makers assume that bigger kids shun any jammies with feet in them and, oh yes, that they love nice slick polyester, too.

I remember when we were "helping" William learn how to sleep through the night. Do you know how many experts and so-called experts have written books on how to get your baby to sleep at night? Do an Amazon search and let your eyes glaze over. I owned at least three myself, some more useful than others. But to my knowlege, no one has addressed the Toddler Middle-of-the-Night Sock Problem in print yet. Except, er, me now. And I don't even have much of a solution formulated yet, other than to buy new pajamas. I hate it when "throw money at the problem" is the best answer. But if it will buy me a full night's sleep again, well, then here's my checkbook.


natalie said...

In this abstract, this is hilarious. In the middle of the night, I'm certain that it is not. Hope you find the solution soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I caused this problem. When Aaron and I were watching William one night last week, we got him ready for bed. I put socks on on his feet and said, "William, we'll put the socks on your feet to keep them warm. Don't take them off or your feet will get cold." I was told that the socks were still on the next morning.
I didn't think about the possibility of waking up Mommy and Daddy all night long if they are pulled off or come off! So sorry!

With love,

Anonymous said...

If I'm ever allowed to come over again, I know what I'd like to try. I'll deprogram W from this fear of cold feet. The new script will be: "William, it's Spring! We don't need socks on our feet at night! Our feet will stay warm now because it's Spring! Hooray for Spring! Hooray for warm feet!"

With love,
Diane (Dee Dee)

Anonymous said... anticipated me with the footy pajamas. Is he old enough to learn to put on his socks? Maybe during the day you could teach him to put his socks on (a fun game for any kid), and then he could do it himself at night? Or you could sew socks into his pajamas: footy, footy.