My patience is not never-ending, and by the end of the day, I’m usually pretty frayed. Which is why I absolutely suck at the bedtime routine. The slightest, always probable obstacle to a smooth bedtime process puts me in the foulest of moods and I end the night being angry at my children. I don’t ever want to end a day like that, and too often on the days that I put them to bed (thankfully rare), that’s how it ends up.
Normally, the spirited one (5 years old) is bouncing off the bed or doing handstands against the wall. The youngest (3 years old) is exhausted and just wants to go to sleep, but the squealing upside down tornado prohibits this. As I soothe him with belly rubs, the hurricane is belting out Jingle Bells and it’s only when I get angry that she slows herself down a little. Only then will she try to whisper Jingle Bells. So that’s how it ends. Me angry. Feeling like a schmuck.
Inevitably, my guilt burns at me and I have to go check on them a while later, to kiss their little faces and tell them how much I love them. Best case scenario is they are both asleep. But tonight, the typhoon was still awake. Frankly, I’m not sure tranquilizer darts would work on her. So I snuggled her for half an hour, kissed her face over and over, told her how much I loved her. But I still wish it was different. No, I wish I was different.
I’m tired of punishments. I’m tired of taking away whatever the flavor of the day is in order to get the behavior I want. I’m tired of making threats and having to carry them through. I’ve gotten much better during the day but I’m still ragged by the end of the evening. I want an alternative to “do XYZ or else . . .” but I have no idea what that alternative is.