An hour and 20 minutes. AN HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTES. It hasn’t taken that long to get T to bed since…since…since I was married to his father.
Sunday night was a disaster. If you follow me on Twitter, your timeline was flooded with such gems as:
So I just started writing about the night. He comes out while I am pouring a drink and lies down on the loveseat. I covered him with a blanket, turned off almost all the lights and kept writing. So technically it’s taking longer than an hour and 20 minutes.
Here’s the deal. T’s dad and I were supposed to switch tonight. He has Mondays and Tuesdays. So I was making plans on what I was going to accomplish tonight and tomorrow while I was alone. Gym. Writing. Load of laundry. Fun stuff. But I was really just looking forward to getting some writing done. I had some ideas for blog posts, the start of a story, and I wanted to work on my assignment for Wednesday’s class (I’m thinking of writing part of T’s birth story).
Then, J informs me that he has to work Monday. Which is annoying, but I have it off because of the holiday so it’s not that annoying because we do not need to find last minute child care (and by “we” I mean “me all by myself” of course).
So, no gym and no writing time. I get T to help me with laundry, because he actually enjoys it. I figure I’ll sacrifice some sleep time by staying up after T goes to bed. Since we bed-share, I normally just go to sleep with him around 9:30/10. No big deal. I figure I’ll lie down with him, rub his back and sing like we usually do, and then I’ll retire to the living room to do some writing. I assume it will be a little hard on him, so he’ll probably get up 2 or 3 times, but I’m mentally prepared for it.
Nine thirty comes around and I get him ready for bed. We lie down and I rub his back and sing songs and then I get up to leave.
Even though I forewarned him about my plans, he immediately gets up and cries that he wants me to rub his back. I tell him I already have and he needs to go to sleep.
I’m much too tired to recap everything that transpired. But he got up at least 15 times, called me “stupid” probably no less than a dozen times, kicked the bedroom door 5 times, and broke my heart a million times.
I would like to state for the record that I kept my calm merely by “yelling” on Twitter. I did not yell at him once, nor smacked his butt like I was really tempted to. Yeah. That’s called “progress.”
So I finally got my time to write, even if it means that he is right now lying on the loveseat while I hand write this while sitting at the coffee table. He is still awake. I will finish writing this, and then I’ll be ready for bed. I can’t remember any of the writing ideas I had. My brain is dead for the night.
And, since he isn’t asleep yet, he is still getting what he wanted in the end. He gets to fall asleep in bed with me.
And I can’t help but admit that a little part of me resents him for it.
He needs his own bed. We need to fight through the transition to sleep in separate beds.
Because I don’t think I could do this again.
And I really don’t think it’s at all fair that he stays up late with me, but will still be up at 7:00 whining about needing breakfast and cartoons and my company and please tie my cape on for me is it time to go swimming yet?
I need some serious help.
After I finished writing, I told him to go get into bed, because I would be there in a minute. I was feeling angry, because I knew he was getting what he wanted. To fall asleep with me, and we would probably cuddle. I brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on my pajamas. I got into bed and he was still awake, but sucking his thumb loudly (always happens right before he falls asleep). He asked if we could cuddle, so I told him, “In a minute” and checked Twitter from my phone. I found an encouraging note from Beta Dad:
So…I don’t completely lose. Right?
End result? It actually took just over 2 hours to get him to sleep.
I think the most depressing part of re-reading what I wrote in order to post it on the blog, is knowing that this is all my fault. Who lets their 4-year-old stay up so late?
I was listening to NPR on the drive to work this morning (Tuesday, for the record) and Parenting Tips with Cheryl Erwin came on. She was talking about the importance of morning and bedtime routines for children.
I need to set a bedtime for T. I’m thinking we could start getting ready around 8, with bedtime being 8:30. I think. I really don’t know what I’m doing. I am constantly feeling inadequate when it comes to motherhood. Aren’t there some things that are supposed to fall under that “maternal instinct” category? When does all that shit kick in?
So Cheryl talked about making a bedtime routine map, and to let the child help create it. Then we follow that schedule every single night. Weekdays and weekends. Which is kind of annoying, because I like my weekends. But whatever. I guess this might be what T needs. Some structure. And to get used to going to sleep by himself. Just because we are bed-sharing does not mean I have to go to bed with him.
And by the way? I did lose on Sunday night.
I can’t help but always feel like I am losing at this motherhood thing. Every step I take ends up being the wrong one.
If you are confused, check out the latest from The Mouthy Housewives. That’s right. I admit it, if it’s not already totally obvious.
I submitted that question. Just a few months ago.
I’ve broken “a cardinal rule of motherhood.”
There are rules? Well why don’t they hand you a fucking rule book when you deliver the damn kid?