I used to think I was a reasonable person. (I’ll pause here as pretty much every one who has ever known me cackles in laughter and shakes their head sadly at my delusions – especially Hapa Papa.) I mean, I knew I had a temper (but dammit, I was justified!!) so when I had Cookie Monster, I made a supreme effort to never yell at him or around him. Well, the yelling around him went out the window as Hapa Papa and I adjusted to caring for a small, tiny person and a flood of hormones released their evil doings upon my normally well-adjusted person.
But the yelling at Cookie Monster – I was really awesome at that until he was about 18 months old and I was pregnant with Gamera. Then, I admit, I would yell at Cookie Monster when I was frustrated or tired. Alas, poor Gamera never had a chance to know a calm, non-yelling Mommy. (Granted, that image was a false skin anyway, but that’s not the point.) Now that I am about to imminently deliver Baby3 (still trying to think of a good nickname), my patience is worn thin (as if it were ever thick), and I’m just trying to get through the day (with lots of help from our lovely friends, iPad, iPhone, and TV).
This is all just a roundabout way of saying that I have been yelling a LOT lately and I am not proud of myself for doing so.
However, nothing brings out the yelling and exasperation like bedtime. In a related vein, nothing helps the kids drift off into a lovely, peaceful slumber quite like Mommy Hulking Out. *sigh*
The sad thing is, it’s not like I’m surprised by what goes on at bedtime. I mean, we’ve been going through this for years now, right? I should be better at this? Or more prepared? But no. I am not.
Of course, the kids are going to stall and play and be silly before bed. They don’t want to sleep! They want to play with Mommy and Papa and roll around and be near us. So why do I get so mad when they crawl out of their beds, giggling at their naughtiness and saying they need water or have to pee or poo or need another stuffed animal or have their blankets fixed? I know it takes AT LEAST half an hour for them to settle down and finally fall asleep. SO WHY DO I YELL AND SCREAM?
Mostly, it’s because I’m this close to freedom for the night. This close to staying up too late watching TV or reading or eating or playing Sudoku or something really vital to my sanity. And who is IN THE WAY of this awesome TV watching and snacking and reading? My adorably tired-but-they-don’t-know-it-yet children.
I’ve read a lot of the books on bedtimes so I’m not really looking for advice on putting kids to bed. More that this is a reminder to me to not be such a jackass at night. To not always yell at them. It’s sad to me that Cookie Monster will ask me multiple times at night, “Are you mad, Mommy? Are you happy?”
I feel such shame.
As such, I have been willfully trying not to yell at night. Sure, the occasional frustrated “GO TO SLEEP!!!” or “GET INTO BED, NOW!!!” will fly from my lips at least once a night, but it’s getting better.
I have found that sometimes, I will just close the door to their room and they will cry and scream and then after a few minutes, I will open the door and then tuck them in and because Gamera just spent all that energy screaming and Cookie Monster will have either tried to comfort his sister or will be in bed pretending to be asleep in order to kiss ass, the kids will fall asleep pretty quickly after.
I have also found that just NOT saying ANYTHING AT ALL also helps. (Because let’s face it, if I opened my mouth a string of expletives or THINGS THAT I WILL REGRET INSTANTANEOUSLY will unspool from my unruly tongue. It’s just better to not open my mouth AT ALL.) Usually, when I’m uncharacteristically silent, Cookie Monster will ask me if I’m happy and I melt and then say, “I’m happy, sweetheart. I love you.” and put them back to bed nicely. (Or at least, not so roughly.)
The last week or so has been better than I expected, but I still have MUCH room for improvement. I’m trying to wean the kids off of needing us so much while they fall asleep (I usually sit outside their door because if I don’t, then I have to walk from my room to their room to put them back in). Especially since it will be so much harder when Baby3 comes.
I just tell myself that Baby3 will not hear Mommy yell for at least a month or two, right? RIGHT?
*sigh* I am so delusional. *whimpers*