Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bedtime is the Best Time

Don't you just love bedtime with little ones? Snuggling and reading bedtime stories and giggles and cuddling and hugs and kisses and nursing and the smell of freshly washed little people and kissing clean little toes and... It's all just so precious. Isn't it? Brings back memories, right? Yeah. About that. Doesn't happen that way in my house! The run down this evening... Dinner was on the table by 6. Zach wolfed down his food and a thing of applesauce. Jeff and I both ate heartily. Leftovers of what I had cooked the night before- just some tossed together stuff (ground chuck, green beans, pasta, can of tomato soup, can of cream of mushroom, some milk, some seasonings, dollop of sour cream on top). Teagan... spreads sour cream on her lips like lipstick. Teagan... dances. Teagan... watches TV (the new Electric Company- it sucks). Teagan... complains about green beans. We get to 6:15 and I tell her she has 15 minutes to finish her dinner. She can choose to eat or choose not to eat. She has the opportunity to have a cookie with icing and sprinkles, it is her responsibility to eat her dinner. Choosing not to eat tells me that she doesn't want a cookie. And I keep counting down, minute by minute. We hit 6:27 and the hysterics start. "I want someone to take out de gween beans!" "I don't wanna be hungwy!" "I wanna eat but not the gween beans!" 6:30. Don't ask for whom the bell doth toll... I quietly take her plate and put it in the sink. The real screaming begins. I pick her up and take her to her room. She is red faced, screeching. "BUT I'M HUNGWY! I'M HUNGWY!" I set her on her bed. She is screeching and screaming and hysterical. Get this. I stay TOTALLY calm. I'm still not sure how. She squawks and flaps and screeches and screams and I pick up her toys and get her nightgown and I change her into it. She is fighting me. Screaming at me. And I stay calm. I turn on her night light. She screams. I turn off her light. She screams. I walk out. She screams. I tell Jeff he can be the good guy- he can take her in a piece of bread and a cup of water. He goes in and tells her that Mommy says she can have the bread and water... she apparently SNATCHED it from him and proceeds to shove it down her throat, as though she'd been deprived of food for weeks. And eats less than half of the bread and is done. Potty. Bed. Asleep. Isn't bedtime wonderful?

8 comments:

Mary Ellen said...

I think that scene happens at a lot of households! The best part, though, is that you stuck to your guns (and you remained calm!) That makes you one terrific mom!

Joanie said...

SIGH!!!! it's just too bad that I can't have children any more. I do so miss those times!

God bless you, Liz for keeping your cool! And you have prison warden down pat! Bread and water... lol!!! Someday Teagan will understand the irony of that meal. LOL

Alix said...

I tried to comment from my BlackBerry this morning, but the screen is so small and my eyes are so bad...

Your post was precious, Liz. You almost had me following down the storybook road when I realized it was a trap. Funny story nonetheless. Poor Teagan! She'll learn. Say what you mean and mean what you say - because it is the consistencey that will win her over. Of course I wish I had followed that advice when I was a young mom. It's kind of regroup mid-stream and expect your kids to suddenly respect your parenting. Oh well, we all made it. There were bumps in the road, but we got over them.

Have I mentioned how much I love your stories? Keep them coming. They really brighten my days.

Lynn Freeman said...

The old bread and water story - classic! One of your funniest posts yet, but one of the most meaningful. Consistency, standing by your word, following through on the things you tell her you're going to do - those things no matter how illustrated by how small a gesture will become ingrained in her and grow her into a person with values, integrity and honesty. She will also have tremendous respect for you and make your life easier as a mother. Because when you said abc it's going to be abc and there's no other options otherwise. If I had to pick my top 3 parenting "rules" - that would be one of them. You keep stickin' to those guns Annie.

Liz said...

I love when my experienced mom friends give me a pat on the back. I can't even tell you guys how much it means to get that positive feedback!!

Anonymous said...

Well, you're lucky to have Teagan. I have BEN. Refused to eat breakfast yesterday morning because I had a ventriloquist dummy (Mortimer Snerd) sitting up in the eBay box it came in and facing table. OMG, get OVER it. This is KPCL Girl, by the way, posting from a computer deep within the bowels of GCHS....

Anonymous said...

Sorry about that last comment. I don't usually play 'Top This', especially when it comes to kids, but sometimes, Ben just takes the cake...my patience...my sanity...my usual good humor, etc., etc.

Liz said...

KPCL... We all have our moments that our kids absolutely test every fiber of our being. There have been too many times to count that I have been beyond baffled by Teagan's behavior and choices. Heck, she had a meltdown yesterday because she dropped a bite of a bagel while getting into the car at daycare. And it lasted until we go thome, got out of the car and I had to send her to her room to get it all out.

Something that's helped me is a focus on choice and personal responsibility. The choices you make are on you. Like with this bedtime story... I stayed detached from it. I kept out of any sort of emotional investment in Teagan's choosing to eat or not eat. I did my job- I made food available. It was up to her to eat or not eat. She chose not to eat and she chose to take the consequences of not eating her dinner.

Ben and the dummy... sounds like he was just choosing not to eat his breakfast.

And I'll be the first to admit that I will often give in just to maintain peace. So I might have just moved the dummy to get it over with. Or I use humor a lot. Like with our bagel meltdown yesterday... both kids were cranky and crying so I joined in on the wail-fest for the drive home (it worked on Zach but not on Teagan).

It's like improv. No script. You know the outcome but the other actors are throwing serious curveballs along the way. So you feel your way through, find what works, and get there!