I love and adore my children. So much. I’m so thankful for them. However, at nearly 10 years into this parenting gig I still haven’t quite figured out the art of getting a child to just get in bed and go to sleep. I was a champ for the first 3 years. I followed every letter and line given in the Babywise book and both of my girls were good at napping and sleeping through the night for over 3 years. Somewhere around age 4 though, something changed. I was not physically or emotionally prepared in any way for the way bedtime would go for years to come.
Before I had children I remember hearing my mom friends bond over stories of the struggles they experienced at nighttime. I laughed with them. I felt genuinely bad for them because I love my sleep so much, but at the same time I’ll admit I did kind of wonder why it was such a big deal. I mean, you put your child to bed, you tell them not to get up. If they get up you put them back to bed. Maybe you do that once or twice, but so what? No biggie.
If only it was that easy. And maybe for the majority of people out there it is easy, but here in the Kitt-en house it’s quite an ordeal. It’s like the minute we tell them it’s time to get ready for bed they morph into incredibly motivated individuals (a behavior they don’t display until after 7:30pm – ever). Their determination is unmatched when it comes to refusing to get in bed and go to sleep. They use all of the common excuses – need water, need to go to the bathroom, just remembered something they need for school the next day, they want to discuss the meaning of life or worse, they want to know where babies come out of a mommy’s body…you name it, we’ve heard it. I didn’t think there was anything they could do to make me dread bedtime any more than I already do. I was wrong.
True to form, the kids reminded me last night that things could always be worse. At 2:50a.m. Mr.Kitt-en and I were startled out of REM sleep by our two girls running into our room both screaming at the top of their lungs to try to be the first to tell us what had happened. I can’t put into words how disorienting and unimaginably frightening this was. It struck fear in my heart in a way I have experienced only a handful of times in my life. The reason for the screeching and yelling was because they were in a fight. No joke. They were in a fight at 2:50a.m. How is that even possible? When I looked in on them at 11:45 when I went to bed they looked like little angels sleeping sweetly in their gigantic bed together. Apparently the little one woke up and needed to go to the bathroom but she’d had a bad dream and didn’t want to go alone so she woke her sister up and asked her to go with her. Big sister refused. Little sister cried. Big sister shoved little sister with her foot and told her to be quiet. It escalated from there. There were loud allegations flying all across my room as I tried to quiet them down and get the arguing to stop. Fifteen minutes later we had the girls back in bed and they were quiet, but the damage had been done. My mind refused to get out of fight-or-flight mode and I laid awake in bed for an hour before finally falling back to sleep for a few hours.
I didn’t realize how good I had it. I used to only have to pump myself up to prepare for the energy to get through two hours of torturous complaining, occasional crying, neediness, nagging, and 4-6 toilet flushes. They took it to a whole new level last night. And now, I’m writing this because it seems more productive than laying in bed wondering if I’m going to be woken up that way again. It’s not even about the fact that it’s annoying (and it is), it’s about the fact that I think I may have PTSD over the shocking wake up we experienced last night. Mr.Kitt-en doesn’t seem to have the same anxiety that I do. He’s sleeping peacefully beside me. I hope this isn’t going to last long. I already have enough trouble sleeping. The added fear of being loudly surprised by screams isn’t going to help with my insomnia. I’m still learning that I should always expect the unexpected when it comes to parenting. Even in my mild frustration about what took place, I know that one day I’m going to miss all the hellish drama that surrounded getting two little humans to sleep. I’ll miss kissing them goodnight, praying with them, blessing them, and even listening to them whisper long after we tell them to be quiet (which secretly, I love). I love that they get sister time to just bond at bedtime. I do not love middle of the night fights. I really hope that was just a one-off.
Ahhh, the Ambien is kicking in which means it’s time for me to stop typing and allow it to carry me right into dreamland. Please, God….give us all a good night of rest. I’m one tired mommy after this crazy week.
Currently playing in the soundtrack of my mind: Mr.Roboto by Styx. Probably because one of my littles walked through the living room this evening saying “I. Am. A. Robot” over and over again as she did her best robot impression. Since then it’s just Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto…Must. Disassemble. Immediately.