Last night, Kayle did not want to go to sleep. She tried every excuse in the book – “I’m hungry!” “I’m scared!” “I have to change my night-time CD.” “I have to say good night to Mama” (again, for the 10th time). She got out of bed at least 3 times. She turned the lights on, grabbed her stuffed animals (one which became a night cap), and roamed the hall. I tied talking some sense into her. “You need to go to sleep to grow big and strong.” “It’s late and everyone else is already sleeping.” “You’re a big girl and can sleep in your own bed.” “You sleep in your bed by yourself all the time.”
Finally, I had had enough. I remembered an episode of Supernanny I had watched years ago where the child did not want to sleep in her own bed. Supernanny instructed the mother to put her in her bed and tell her goodnight. When she gets out of bed the second time, put her back and tell her goodnight. Each time after that, no speaking. Just put her in her bed. So, I took Kayle’s hand and walked her to her bed, laid her down, and said good night. Discussion over.
She laid there and cried and cried. She yelled for me and my mother. She said she was scared (although her night-light was on). She said she was lonely. And finally, she just cried. 30 minutes later, she was finally asleep and never got out of bed again.
I get frustrated when she doesn’t do what I want. Why can’t she just go to sleep? Why can’t she not scream all the time? Why doesn’t she just listen to reason. I often forget the most important thing – she’s only four. Toddlers, don’t always listen. They often try to do what they want. They get cranky when they’re tired. They just aren’t old enough to get it.
When you have a conversation with a child and they use words “petrifying” or asks questions like what’s a ureter, it’s easy to forget that. We often joke at home that I gave birth to a 5 year old. It’s in those moments when she gives trouble that I’m reminded of the fact the she is a very young child and I have to take a step back and treat her accordingly. When I’m able to do this, I’m less frustrated.
I guess the lesson here is to be more aware of how I treat Kayle, always keeping in mind that while she may be 4 going on 15, she is still only 4.
How do you deal with your children when you find yourself in those frustrating moments?