Thursday, October 9, 2008

A tough week

We've had a tough week with D's bedtimes. The last two nights have improved, but the few nights before that were a nightmare. He's fine until we try to leave the room, then all hell breaks loose. He wants a drink, another hug, another kiss, fix my pillow, fix my covers.... etc. etc. etc. We've reached the point where we've had to say enough is enough and stop with all the extra requests, because he's so out of control. And we all know how much preschoolers like being told no, especially when you're raining on their bedtime stalling parade. I've been feeling like a demon has taken over my child at night.

D has such a strong will. It helps to know that will serve him well later in life, but it sure makes life hard on us sometimes. I'm determined to keep his boundaries in tact; this is a child who has the potential to be a total monster if we let him. As it is, he's pretty well behaved for an almost-four year old. But there are times, like now, when he decides to push back as hard as he can to see if those boundaries are still there and if they're going to stick. He wants to push down that wall, so he beats his head against it for a while to see what happens.

Kid, meet your parents - you've met your match.

The only people in this house more stubborn than D - probably the two of us, with my husband taking a slight lead. I think it's a good thing in this situation - he's not going to get his way and learn that he can throw mega-fits and get out of going to bed. But it's been exhausting, frustrating and downright maddening getting through this phase.

A few nights ago he was put in a time out and promptly threw up all over himself. On purpose. So the next night, my husband told him he was getting a time out and if he threw up, we'd take his jammies off and he could sleep naked. Yeah, he slept naked that night. My sweet darling boy gags himself so hard he vomits all over. See, strong willed. But he did learn that puking no longer gets him a free pass out of a time out. He sat in the puke until the time out was over before we stripped him.

That night we were both left feeling awful. It reminded me a lot of when he was younger and we let him cry it out in his crib to go to sleep. That same questioning, the same worry - did we do the right thing? Will this work? Are we horrible parents and somehow causing this mayhem?

Ultimately, I know we aren't really causing it and I don't think we're peramanently screwing him up. But these are the times that really test our abilities to handle stress. I'm grateful right now for my husband; he's assured me over and over that we're in this together and we will get through it in one piece. It's nice having that reassurance and acknowledgement that I'm not the only parent in the house.

The last two nights have been better and I'm optimistic we've turned the corner. Two nights ago he only got up once (in a fit of rage because he wanted his lion, which 5 minutes before he said he didn't want, and the freaking thing was on the end of his bed anyway), and last night he cried for us for about 10 minutes, insisting he needed a kiss on the hair, but gave up eventually and went to sleep. Since he didn't get up, we're calling it a victory. Hopefully some night soon he'll just go to bed and not flip out at all. One can hope.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

I know this is rough stuff. No parent wants to see their child freaking out like this OR crying themselves to sleep. I hope he's turned the corner and is soon back to being great at bedtime. I think that's one of the hardest things for me during the tough phases - the knowledge that they are capable of acting so much better and choosing not to do it.

Big hugs, sweetie.