Family · Parenthood

[Musings of a Mommy] Bedtime Battles

I am finally continuing this series. I believe the last installment of “Musings of a Mommy” was back on September 4, 2015.

Yeah…definitely fell off the wagon.

Since then, I have learned a whole deal more about what being a mommy is really like…not to mention a lot of life lessons learned simply by trying to see the world through the eyes of a toddler (see my 2016 recap HERE for more on this). In 2017, I want to continue this series and share with you all the joys, struggles, and lessons I experience this year.

Hopefully, you will find it an interesting read and (if you too are a mommy) be able to relate or reminisce about these “good ol’ days.”

Because, even in the small struggle as described
below,
I truly feel and relish in the fact that these
are, indeed, “good days.”


First, I would like to clear up the fact that in our household, “bedtime” is not an exact hour and minute set in stone that the littlest of us must strictly adhere to. It never has, and it may never be our modus operandi.

Yes, I can hear y’all boo-ing me. We’re terrible parents, aren’t we?

This is not to say that said “littlest of us” has EVER had free rein over the night. In more peaceful times, once 8:30pm rolled around, this mama started the progression of nighttime/bedtime rituals – teeth brushing, face washing, Bible story reading, praying, tucking in, complying to last requests for milk or water, and (finally) sitting by while the child person drifts off to sleep.

Photo Apr 17, 2 02 32 PM
They’re so sweet when they’re asleep…

And then we hit the 2-year-old mark, when the child
person decided to wage war on this concept of “going to bed.”

Here’s the general progression of what every battle in this war against sleep has looked like for the first few weeks since its inception:

8:30pm – One of the four adults in the household (paternal grandma and grandpa also make up part of this family, by the way) makes a mention that it’s getting late and the child person should probably start getting ready for bed. Child person promptly responds with, “NO BED!” 9 of 10 times, the adult persons decide they don’t want to fight this battle quite yet and puts it off another 30 minutes.

9:00pm The adult persons realize that they probably need to start acting as such and, calmly but firmly, carry the rebellious child person to the bathroom to start the above bedtime rituals. All the while, the child person is screaming/crying/running away/laughing at us because he ran away/making great use of the word “NO!”  The adult persons are trying every retaliation tactic in the book to distract child person from the battle he wishes to fight – dancing around like monkeys, doing relay races in the bathroom, and, if all else fails, simply taking advantage of the moments child person is wailing and has his mouth open in order to brush the tiny little teeth within.

Because…dental bills are something we have
become VERY aware
of since we realized
he probably needs to see a dentist soon.

9:15 PM – Despite the resistance, adult persons usually come out victorious in the first stage of the battle…and within the first 15 minutes. But then, we embark upon a much more daunting stage of the war…the battle that must be fought on HIS turf…in HIS room…in HIS bed. (Note: By this time, 2 of 3 reinforcement troops have gone off to bed themselves…leaving just the mama in the front lines and daddy in the adjacent living room in case reinforcements are needed.) Child person is tucked in, and as he is happily drinking his beverage of choice for the night, mama uses every song in her arsenal to keep the child person in bed. For the first 30 minutes, this works well.

9:45 PM – Now this next stage of the resistance is wholly dependent upon whether the child person had reached that PERFECT blend of “tired, but not overly exhausted” state. If we’re lucky and we have obtained that delicate balance, he will drift off to sleep. Unfortunately, this is more the exception and not the rule. We can almost plan on him hitting the “I WANNA GET OUT OF BED AND PLAY AND WILL NOT COMPLY WITH YOUR WISHES FOR ME TO REMAIN LYING DOWN AT WHATEVER COST” threshold at the 9:45pm mark. We now have a child person who pops up as soon as you lay him down and completely melting down because he isn’t getting his way.

Let me tell you, he has an impressive arsenal of
high-pitched shrieks and cries that can fell even
the strictest of adult persons.

But mama will NOT give in either. That strong will and stubbornness he possesses comes from somewhere…and mama is first to admit that genetics probably had a lot to do with it all. Now, this mama isn’t going to hide the fact that there have been too many moments where my patience wore thin and the voice was raised (though, miraculously, never to the point of using hurtful or bad words). There may have been a couple of times she called in the daddy reinforcements and left the room, as she had reached her limit and needed to allow cooler heads to prevail.

photo-20161211-1-03-36-pm-1
Daddy…the unsung hero of the night…

10-something PM (sometimes, closer to 11) – The battle begins to subside, as the child person begins to surrender to the waves of sleepiness that begins to wash over him. Oh, he’s not done fighting it…not at all. But the Sandman has definitely come to the aid of the adult persons and provide that “turning point” in the war they so desperately needed. The cries and “NONONONONO!”s begin to diminish…the eyelids begin to droop more…until finally, the soft, even breathing becomes his final swan song of the night. The adult person who finishes on the front lines (usually mama) tucks him in, kisses his forehead one last time for the night, and limps off into the night victorious, but not without battle scars (sometimes physical, but usually just mental and emotional).

photo-20161211-1-21-04-pm-1
…and yet, he has no problems falling asleep here… #really

So…thus is the state of affairs in our household. Adult persons in other households tell me that this is one war that will continue to rear its ugly head (one mentioned this is a war they still fight with their high school aged child person). Since the prospect of ending this war doesn’t seem very good (not to mention our hopes to add to the ranks of the opposition), we will embrace our roles as the adults in the family and continue our fight for the well-being of our offspring.

And, in cases like this, fight for their
well-being
 in SPITE of them.  -.-“

Parenthood is, without a doubt, an exhausting endeavor…this being just one instance of the struggles we tend to face. But is not to say that there are not massive benefits to being parents either. While he may not always act like it, this child person does love his mama and daddy (and his grandma and grandpa too).

Seriously, once he flashes that terrific smile
and gives us a big hug and kiss in the morning,
you can’t help but forgive all that happened
the night before.

Processed with VSCO with n1 preset
A terrific smile, Exhibit A

*Sigh*…alright…I guess we won’t go
sell him to the gypsies or anything.
#haha #itsajoke #toocute #lovethiskid

Next time, I want to share some of the things I have tried implementing to start introducing some peace and cooperation in this thing called “bedtime.” Definitely a long ways to go, and they don’t always work. But we are not simply “letting things go” and are making efforts to instill some “discipline” into our daily (and nightly) routines.

Because it’s in “battles” like these that we grow as parents,
and learn how to love our child best by not always giving in…

…no matter how hard it is…

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