But the past week or 2, something different has been happening. There's been a few times where I'd go to put D down for a nap and rather than his usual go-to-sleep-right-away manner, he'd fuss and cry, and I'd go in every few minutes to try to soothe him back to sleep, only to have him cry some more as soon as I left the room. One night after 3 or 4 tries to get him to sleep, we tried this wacky idea of having my mom go up instead. She went in, picked him up, he realized right away he wasn't getting Mama anymore, and practically dove back into his pack-n-play and dozed away till (early, early) morning. The same thing's happened a few times with Zach, too, where he seemed to have the magic touch I seem to be suddenly missing.
I was thinking about all this last night, when D woke up at 3am crying. Zach and I took turns trying to get him back to sleep. I'd try to sing to him, rock him a little, then put him back down, and no matter what I tried he'd start crying again as soon as he felt me lowering him back down onto the mattress. Zach, meanwhile, is much more no-nonsense. I don't know what he did, but every time D would go back into his bed quietly... starting to cry again after 5-10 minutes, of course, but he'd at least quiet down and give us hope of sleeping.
This made me realize a couple of things. The biggest one being, that he knows. Donovan has already figured us out, and knows that while Mom more patient (especially when we're away from home) and will sit and rock him, etc, that he's not getting anywhere with Dad. I know kids probably figure this stuff out way earlier than 16 months, but this was one of the first times where I've really seen it. And it's a bit of a shock. Because this means I need to really get my act together. I need to watch what I do and say, I need to figure out my/our discipline strategy and get out of this bad habit of thinking he's "too young to get it." It means this kid really is watching my every move, and remembering them, and possibly ready to use them against me when he decides. And it is scary as shit because I know I'm not that good. I don't think I'm organized enough or self-disciplined enough to stay one step ahead of him and be consistent with my actions and my reactions.
But I guess the best I can do is try.