Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Like many, I have made a list of things to do or change in 2013, but I am not calling them resolutions. Those are something to be broken. Goals, rather, are something to work toward. One of my goals for this year is to exercise more patience with my children. They have already put this goal to the test in dramatic fashion.
I’m sure many households have their own version of bed time drama. Such drama even prompted one author to write a book with a colorful title, one which I have been tempted on many an occasion to scream at my children (and which serves as the inspiration for the title of this post).
Early Bird has a nightly habit of resisting bed time. She runs and screams at the mere suggestion of bed time. Then, she spends the next hour trying to escape her bed only to be picked up, marched down the hall, and plopped back into bed (screaming all the way). Roostler and I have tried everything — lying down with her, sitting outside the door, going to check on her every five minutes as long as she stays in bed, bribing her with the promise of a treat the next day, even spanking. She has recently taken to sleeping on the floor. This lessens the screaming somewhat, so we don’t push for her to get into her bed. Yet, so far, nothing has worked consistently, and she usually exhausts herself to the point of finally passing out. Her bed time fits are epic, to say the least.
Last night began with the usual screaming. This time, however, Hatchling decided to join in. As is becoming her habit, she can’t seem to decide what she wants in the evening. She fusses to be fed, but when I try to feed her, she quickly loses interest. Then, when I stop feeding her, she starts fussing again. This was the case last night. When she seemed to be done, I started preparing her for bed. I changed her diaper, swaddled her, turned on the white noise, and settled her into the crib. Soon afterward, she started fussing. When it became clear she was not going to settle down, I pulled her out of the swaddle and tried to feed her again. This time, she nursed herself to sleep. I reswaddled her and set her back into the crib, where she dozed peacefully. Then, I joined the chaos already in progress.
Roostler was chasing Early Bird down, and Omelette was preparing a spot on the floor next to Early Bird’s (using the Hello Kitty floor pillow Early Bird got for Christmas and the spare blankets we keep in Early Bird’s chair). I soon ascertained that Early Bird’s screaming was related to this situation, so I told Omelette to put the pillow and blankets back and get in her own bed. She huffed out of the room and began pulling her blanket and pillow onto the floor of her own room. I put a stop to this, which she protested with the expected “but she gets to sleep on the floor” response, while Roostler fought to get Early Bird settled onto her spot.
I left Omelette in her room, checked on Roostler and Early Bird, and settled myself into the office chair to get caught up on some work. No sooner had I sat down than Hatchling started screaming. After several attempts to calm her down, I pulled out my not-so-secret-weapon. I turned on the vacuum cleaner. This, of course, caught the attention of both Omelette and Early Bird, who both came to investigate what Mama was doing. So began the process of getting the older two back into bed.
Roostler succeeded in getting Early Bird settled down enough for him to leave her room. Then, as he passed Omelette’s room, she called out a request for a drink. And, of course, Early Bird began whining for the same.
I would like to say this was the end of the bed time shenanigans. It wasn’t. With the vacuum cleaner still running, drinks were doled out and girls settled back down. Then came a trip to the bathroom. A demand to turn the music off. A request for Kung Fu Panda the next time we have movie night. (?!?) And then when I thought things had finally settled down for good, I began hearing strange noises coming from Omelette’s room. I looked down the hall to find her light on, and when I walked into her room, she was blowing on a CD and buffing it on her pajama shirt. “My CD stopped working, and it needed to be cleaned,” she declared. It was at this point that I was faced with two choices: pull all of my hair out (starting with the prominent gray ones on top) or walk away. I resisted the monstrous urge to throw an Early Bird sized fit and walked out of the room.
Nearly two hours after putting the kids to bed, they were finally all asleep. If my goal is to be more patient with them, they certainly are doing all they can to help me in this effort. I’m sure tonight will be no different.