Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream.

On a good night, Kee's bedtime looks like this:

Husband helps her with tooth brushing and potty going. Then he reads her a story while she snuggles on his lap with her Blankie and Baby. When they're finished, she runs out to get me so that I can "tuck her up".

"Tucking up" consists of tucking her into her bed (in an extremely specific order of blankets), telling her a "Princess Kee" story*, and kissing her goodnight (cheek, then forehead, then nose). Then blowing kisses from the door. Then another Daddy hug. The end.

Introducing, "Blankie" and "Baby". Creative naming is not her forte.

This is not how bedtime went last night. Last night, she and Husband had words. There was yelling and tears, and when she ran out to get me, he put his foot down and said that she shouldn't get her Princess Kee story because she wasn't listening or doing what she was asked.

So, no snuggles or kisses for/from me. Which, really, probably made me as sad as her, but I'm a grown up and I'm not about to argue with a disciplining decision in front of the three year old. Daddy said "no", so no.

So I got to listen to her screaming "Mummy! MUMMY! Mummy I NEED YOU! Mummy, I can't go to sleep without my hugs!" at the top of her lungs for the next half hour. Even as she was drifting off, there were sporadic bursts of bellowing. BUT, eventually, fall asleep she did.

Then, at 2:38am, I heard little pattering feet come into my room. She climbed up onto the bed and wriggled into my arms. "Mummy," she said, quietly scolding me, "I told you I can't sleep without my hugs. You should of haven't of not hugged me."

So, I took her back to her bed, tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.

Well played, kid.

*At some point, I realised that my Kee takes lessons to heart more if she learns them through a story. Princess Kee's adventures usually end with her getting in trouble, learning her lesson and making better decisions the next day. Many meltdowns have been averted by asking "remember when something like this happened to Princess Kee?"


  1. Why limit the love? Don't our kids need love the most when they aren't at their best?

    1. Of course they do: A kid who is acting out for an underlying reason needs love and support to help find and solve the problem. A kid who is acting out because she is tired needs to go to bed, whether she likes it or not. Both circumstances are showing those children love.

      The thing about love is that sometimes, even though it sucks, you have to give the person you love what they *need* instead of what they *want*. This is especially true of children, as they aren't experienced enough yet to know what they need. That's where parenting comes in.

      In this case, specifically, she was stalling at bedtime (she wanted to stay up; we know from experience that that would make her feel crappy the next day), she was yelling at her father (we have to teach her that yelling is not an acceptable way of expressing yourself in most situations), and she was hitting (which is never okay). It is our job to teach her these things.

      If I had gone in, not only would I be undermining her dad, but I would be rewarding her terrible behaviour.

      So, we gave her what she *needed*, which was time to herself to calm down and consider her actions, rather than what she wanted. If she didn't particularly like that she didn't get her Princess story, well, maybe that will reinforce that her behaviour was unacceptable.

      Thankfully, my kids also know that even when I am angry with them, I still love them just as much as when we're snuggling on the couch.

  2. I don't see this as "limiting the love", Kee was misbehaving, and so the consequence was that she had to cut her bedtime routine short. Hugging a child who is throwing a tantrum is a way of rewarding and therefore reinforcing the bad behaviour.

    Comments like these irk me, because discipline is not a lack of love, if anything.. being able to properly and effectively discipline your children shows more love and a true commitment to ensuring that your children grow up to be well rounded functioning adults.


  3. Well played indeed. On both of your parts.

    Loved your comment comparing/contrasting WANT and NEED.

    1. It's like when Husband doesn't get me Cheetos when he picks up groceries, even though he knows I *want* them because he knows that what I *need* is to not eat a giant bag of Cheetos and then wallow in self recrimination and cheese dust.

      Love is hard sometimes.