Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Calm.

Bedtime is not better. Yet.

Last night I was upset and frustrated. I was exhausted and had a ridiculously hard time falling asleep. I was tense and agitated and felt like a big, fat failure.

I started thinking about the whole thing and was able to step backwards a little bit to gain some perspective. This parenting thing isn't easy. Rewarding, yes, but easy - no. There are always, always, always going to be things like this - whether it's sleep issues, problems at school, fights with friends, nightmares, tantrums, the list goes on and on. If I chose to, I could look at it like a trip from one crap situation to the next, always fighting my way through, always facing something stressful or waiting to face the next stressful thing.

OR. I could recognize that the reality of the situation is parenting is hard and there are always going to be situations like this that I have to handle. And I can choose to either be stressed and miserable, or I can suck it up, deal with the situation and let the stress go (as much as humanly possible). Yes, these things are frustrating, but indulging myself in that frustration and choosing to carry it around with me all day long certainly isn't helping the situation resolve more quickly. And it's making me miserable in the process.

So tonight, I was calm. I was a snow capped mountain, standing tall and firm. Resolute, unshakable, unemotional. I dispensed with the punishments, the negotiations, the threats. His Halloween costume sits, untouched, in his closet. I simply put him back in bed, each and every time. For over an hour, he'd get up, sometimes crying, sometimes asking for this or that, and I would point to his bed, he'd get in and I'd put the covers on him. I was gentle, calm and silent. Even when he again made himself throw up, I cleaned him up silently, taking off his bottom sheet, putting on fresh jammies, all without saying anything, without giving him a single crack to grip. And strangely enough, my calm was not an outward show. I wasn't mad, I wasn't upset. I didn't let myself go there. Even after the vomit, so clearly intentional, I didn't get angry.

I am annoyed that I wasted an hour of my evening. Goodness knows I have too much to do to spend that kind of time on his shenanigans. But it is what it is and I am feeling hopeful that if I stay the course, remain completely consistent and unshakable, this will end and he'll return to his former good bedtime self.

Ask me again if I'm so calm and confident a week or so from now if this is still going on. We shall see.

2 comments:

Jessica (Squawky) said...

Have you ever read "ScreamFree Parenting"? A lot of it's philosophy has to do with what you did: you focused on yourself and calmed yourself down. You were in control of yourself and your actions/reactions. KUDOS! We can't really control our kiddos, much as we'd like to sometimes, so it makes a lot more sense to focus on keeping in control of ourselves. Stay the course- he will see the change in you and should therefore, eventually, handle bedtime better as well.

This is one of the main things I struggle with- it is something I have to constantly remind myself of, otherwise, I lose all sense of sanity.

((HUGS)) Momma- you're doing great!

Claire said...

Thanks Jessica! I haven't read that, but I might have to check it out. I'm all for keeping control of myself, since that's the only thing I really have control over.

Mostly, LOL.