Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Discipline

I'm shaking.

My daughter has been really, r-e-a-l-l-y hard to put to bed lately. We typically (try to) put her down for the night between 7:30 and 8:00. Since she was 5 months old, she has been an excellent sleeper. Once we put her in bed, she'd stay there. After the transition to the big bed, there were a few weeks that were...trying - she'd get out of bed, come downstairs, and wonder what we were doing. Even that resolved, eventually.

I'm not even sure how many nights we've had lately, where she gets out of bed anywhere from 5 to 15 times before finally going to sleep. With husband being out of town (again), I have had yet another evening where I can't relax because I'm running interference with her GOING TO F*ING SLEEP ALREADY.

The first 5 times tonight, I put her back in bed a la Supernanny: you know, don't talk, just put them down and walk out of the room. And each time I did, I grew more and more angry. I seriously had to count to 10 so that I wouldn't spank her...I knew that wouldn't make me feel any better and would do the opposite of calming her down for sleep. Finally, after hearing her bang around yet again, I walked into her room, put her back in bed, then proceeded to empty her bookcase. She started to cry when she realized what I was doing, wailing "Mommy, don't take my books away!". I continued with cold anger, and after cleaning out her books, I cleaned off the top of her dresser, clearing any accessible toys or clothing items.

Then I told her if she got out of bed again tonight, her movies were next. I told her she would have to earn her books back by staying in bed. I left the room.

And I came downstairs and cried. Hard.

Husband called, wanting to know how she did going to bed. My voice gave him the answer. Then he wanted to talk about next week...about how he could take the train to Ann Arbor so that we didn't have to have two cars there for the wedding next weekend.

Out of town again next week. Leaving me to work during the day (with preschoolers and toddlers, mind you), then come home to my own needy girl. And next week, I have to get us both packed and drive to Ann Arbor so that Molly can be a flower girl in her aunt's wedding. Alone. My husband? All he'll need to worry about is getting his tux.

I suppose much of this is displaced anger; anger that husband has had to work out of town so much lately, leaving me to be the single parent. And I know that I'm whining. I work with families who have just one parent all the time, many times with several children in a small home. Single parents who have to work crappy jobs just to make ends sort of meet. Children who have delays or needs that call for me to be in their home. Children who may very well make the same choices their parent did when they grow up.

But I made choices so that I wouldn't have to live that life. And one of those choices was waiting to have a child until I had a husband, a career and a stable job. All I want is to be a good, loving mom.

But I had to close the door angry tonight. And now I'm so, so sad.

2 comments:

Kathryn said...

You will remember that you closed the door angry but she probably won't. We are much harder on ourselves than our kids are on us. My mom was very tough with us but I honestly don't think of that when I think of my mom.

You might want to try putting a baby gate at the door of her room and ignoring whatever she does in her room. If she falls asleep on the floor, oh well. She'll learn that isn't very comfy. ???
Good luck!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Kathryn is right. She'll probably have only vague memories of this. My friend Kristi went through this with her little boy and she actually did spank him after the 10th time out of bed one night. He didn't get out of it again. That killed it. For her, it worked. But she felt like a monster.

You do what you got to do, man. Don't fret.