This is the tenth of 12 “amazing” installments of “12 days that amaze.” I am pushing myself to write 12 posts about things that amaze me leading up to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser in Chicago that Karin, Deb and I are participating in. In doing so, I must also be open to the everyday amazing things that happen around me.
We had a bit of a rough night here at the bungalow. I’ve come to dread bedtime. I mean, I need and love the time that I get once they’re all in bed and asleep, but the whole “bedtime routine” is generally a fiasco. I shared my frustration on the Facebook page:
Can’t do it tonight, folks. I just can’t bring myself to write anything inspiring. I had really hoped to write about something amazing for 12 straight days, so I won’t say I’m not disappointed. But that’s life, I guess.
It seems like bedtime is a gorram fiasco more often than not, and tonight is one of those nights. I’ve spent all the energy I had on my child, and about 45 minutes of my time. I had to wash my hands of it and walk away. Some days it’s just too much, you know?
Well dang it if I’m not going to write a post anyway. Some of you commented with great words of encouragement like this: “I take inspiration from good parents knowing when to walk away.” (Thanks for that, Shannon.) Nicole suggested it’s amazing I didn’t defenestrate the little bugger. This, too, pretty much sums it up.
We’re learning about Parenting with Love and Logic, and most days we do a pretty good job of letting empathy and natural consequence provide the lessons, but sometimes we lose our patience. There’s a big adjustment period, and the kids will pull out the big guns if they see we’re not engaging with them.
What kills me the most about my middle son is his stubbornness and apparent inability to take personal responsibility for his feelings and actions. But he’s only 6 going on 7, and he’s had to handle a lot for a little kid. They all have.
At any rate, he insisted on cutting me off, arguing everything I said, and blaming me and Karin for his behavior. After about 45 minutes I got pretty fed up. I cussed a couple of times, but apologized later for it. When I had given him almost an hour of my evening time and much of my energy, I told him sincerely, “The sooner you accept that you’re not having any more water–yes, this was all over not drinking enough water before getting into bed–the happier you’ll be. It’s silly that we’re still having this conversation over water.” He told me to “just leave,” so I did. I said goodnight and left it at that.
Now, I know some of you will wonder why I put up with a demanding, whining, arguing kid for the better part of an hour over a drink of water. But this happens on a regular basis. It’s not really about the water. We’ve established a clear agreement wherein he is allowed to drink as much water as he needs before actually climbing into bed. Once he’s in bed, drinks are no longer an option. He uses it to delay bedtime and exert his will over ours, so we came up with our agreement. There’s no waffling on an agreed upon arrangement. Sorry.
We’re trying very hard to teach him personal responsibility over his actions and emotions. It can be pretty frustrating.
So, could I have handled things better? Absolutely. Did I do the best I could in that moment? I think so. Even when it feels like all you can do is to cut your losses, knowing when to walk away can be pretty empowering, and that’s an amazing thing.