You can guess the rest of those lyrics.
I think bedtime is about to get ugly in our house. And by that I mean uglier.
Last night I sat on our bed, basically filled with rage and realizing that it’s been at least two years since I had an evening to myself or with my husband. For the first year of Genevieve’s life, she was a bedtime nightmare. She would cry, or scream, from like 6:30 p.m. until 10 most nights.
We walked, rocked, patted, nursed, ignored, kissed, cuddled, cursed, you name it, we did it.
She grew out of it.
Right about that time, we transitioned Jack to a big boy bed. And ever since then, we’ve been in hell almost every evening from about 7:30 to 10.
I’ve whined about the why before — including the forced naptime at daycare that means he doesn’t want to go to bed. We’re hoping to fix that by enrolling him in preschool in August — a nap-free preschool, which I find more exciting than the fact that it’s also a Spanish-immersion school.
Sure, he’ll be smarter. But more importantly HE’LL GO TO BED ON TIME.
Is it wrong that I am hoping this actually works so I can watch the summer Olympics in peace every night? Priorities, man.
But last night, he was so tired. Exhausted. Daycare said he only slept about a half hour (though I’ll be honest and say I don’t always trust their sleep report). I got Viv into bed, and she was a good girl (for a change).
Then Jack and I did his flashcards — he’s learning sight words and can recognize about 30 now, including and, all, other, away, no and our. My guy.
And then we cuddled to read stories. If he doesn’t nap, I can usually read to him for about 20 minutes and he falls dead asleep. If he did nap, I try to read until he’s super mellow, then let him get himself to sleep.
Philip will sit in his room the entire time.
I hate that. It means we don’t see each other all evening, and it’s just crappy habit we started that we need to break. What a waste of three hours every night, you know? I have dishes to do. “Mad Men” to watch. A porch to sit on.
I just want him to go to freaking bed.
People tell us to lock his door and let him thrash around until he conks out. Our house is 100 years old, though, and the doors don’t shut right, so that won’t work. I try to give him the freedom to go to bed, but it means I am up and down the stairs 20 times, hissing at him to go back to bed, threatening to spank or take away toys/pool/snack/library/anything.
It isn’t working. It just isn’t.
So I think I might dig out my John Rosemond book and go all traditional on him. Not everyone likes Rosemond. They think he’s too mean or too simple or just out of touch with “today’s” kids. Whatever. I like that he thinks you aren’t going to psychologically damage a kid by teaching them to listen.
Some of his advice, including removing attention for bad behavior, has really worked for us. Jack (like his mama) is a cryer, and likes to cry to get what he wants. We just tell him he can go sit on the stepstool and cry if he needs to, and we ignore him, and it usually works in minutes.
But I’ve avoided pulling a Rosemond for bedtime. I know what he’s going to say. He’s going to advise that we remove everything from his room except a mattress and put things back in when he can listen. Or tell him he has to go straight to bed after dinner every night until he stops misbehaving at bedtime.
Maybe we should wait until after preschool starts. It’s unfair to ask an untired kid to go to bed.
But then I think, that’s where I get into parenting trouble. It isn’t unfair to ask your kid to listen to you. And when I think about it like, oh, he just doesn’t WANT to, that’s when I think I’m turning into some hippy (and I love hippies) mom, when I should be asserting my authority.
Now who’s psychologically damaged?
I can talk myself in and out of just about every bedtime solution.
Plus, let’s face it, doing the right thing is tough. Ugh, I can’t even stand the thought of where I would put everything in his room. And I know that’s why Philip sits there every night. He doesn’t want to run up and down the stairs every 5 minutes. I can’t blame him.
But we need to do something else.
I want my evenings back. I’d like to see my husband. I’d like to enjoy all our flowers on the porch.
I recognize that having kids means you give up a lot. Is asking for an hour in the evening asking too much?
I know, we’re blessed and all that good stuff. But still.
Here’s a really funny photo of the kids eating ice cream. They are so weird.