Thursday, January 11, 2007

1/11

I'm living with a 3-foot tall tyrant.

Last night I was curled up in the fetal position on my couch trying not to keep my uterus from turning into a piece of balled-up, paper at the bottom of a trash can when I look over and see Zac frantically walking back and forth across the living room holding a car in each hand. I was IMing my friend, Edrick ben Patrick, about how the Tylenol wasn't even beginning to mask the cramping when I mentioned that Zac didn't even look tired.

He stopped mid-sentence and reminded me who da Momma in the house was. He said that Zac doesn't get to pick his own bedtime and that I needed to put my foot down, put him into bed, and then crawl into my own bed after him.

Can you tell that Patrick doesn't have any kids?

He has an excellent point, though. There are times when dragging him, kicking and screaming everywhere just feels so tiring. There are nights when I want to go to the gym, but I know that Zac isn't up for it, so I don't go. If I take him when he's tired, he starts crying the minute our feet him the padded floor. He knows he's going back in daycare and he wants no part of it. Within 10-15 minutes, I hear, "Will Ms. NSP please return to the Kids Klub area?" I sigh, pick up my towel and gym bag, and over to pick up a kid that has had a complete meltdown in the Kids Klub. Tears are streaming down his face and he buries his head in the crook of my neck, refusing to even look at the child care providers. Guilt doesn't begin to describe what I feel.

I know that I need to set boundaries and stick to them. No one needs to go all Dr. Phil on me. I think I'm a fairly stern parent. I gave my child a timeout on Christmas morning because he wouldn't share his cars with his Grandpa. People may disagree with me about my discpline, but when it comes down to it, he's my child.

It's just that I notice there are times when, to avoid the feeling that unique blend of single-parent guilt and emotional apathy, I wonder if I tend to treat Zac like he's an equal partner in the household. The, "I'm the parent, you're the child" dynamic is quite frankly exhausting. Waiting until he's tired rather than putting him to bed at 8:30pm exactly is sometimes easier than listening to him cry (and vomit - he's learned how to make himself throw up!) for an hour.

I want to do what's best for him by providing him the boundaries that he needs to grow up to be a respectful, empathetic individual. If I don't, my only other option is to deal with a tyrant that throws himself to the ground and cries when he doesn't get his way.

I have to find some way to balance the demands of a tyrannical toddler with the practicality of every day single parenting. Does anyone have some ear plugs that I can use for a couple of years?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Find out what is happening at daycare. I have a feeling that what they are doing is not matching what is happening at home. At some point they need to merge.

Dawn said...

We had the same problem here. Kiddo has always dictated his own bed time and it drives me nuts. What we have started doing now is saying, "ok, in 15 minutes we are going to bed." Then I give him a 5 minute warning and then we go. He is much more compliant and rarely fights me on this. The actual bed time varies from day to day, but at least he isn't dragging it out or fighting me on it anymore.
Good luck,
Dawn

Not Just a Mom said...

I could not be the parent that listened to their child cry for hours on end, that being said I had three toddlers sleeping with me until they were four years old. They would start out in their own bed, but before the night ended they would crawl into my bed. I would be to exhausted to make them go into their own bed and I would not close and lock my door as so many people have said. They are well adjusted teenagers/adults so I must not have messed them up to bad.

Go easy on yourself...

Dee said...

"They" (whoever they are) say that the trick to bedtime is to establish a routine and stick to it. I think to some degree you do have to let a child dictate bedtime. You may be the boss, but if he is wired and not sleepy he's not going to go to sleep anyway. I generally give my Zach a 30 minute window at bedtime. If he's looking sleepy he's in bed by 8:00. If he's not sleepy and wants to run around and play he gets to stay up until 8:30. I always make sure and tell him a few minutes before that it is almost time for bed and he usually goes willingly by 8:30. But, just remember that you know your child best and only you can decide what works for him.

Anonymous said...

Some days I just let her run until she passes out. Especially on the weekend. It doesn't make you a bad parent. You're listening to what Z needs. Feel confident in your choices.

April

CruiserMel said...

I really wish I could comment on this....but being the mommy of a Shih-Tzu, I'm afraid rubbing his nose in it and a little paddling doesn't really apply here. You're on your own. Sowwy.

jenna said...

ok, my totally un-informed opinion -

1. forget dr. phil, watch some super nanny! :)

2. if you suffer through ten or twenty crying nights, you'll (in theory) get many many more quiet nights - talk to drea, zala goes to bed at 8pm eveyr night, no questions asks, and has pretty much since she could sleep through the night. and remember, she was kind of a single parent for a period of time.

3. damn, i wanted to something else. shit.

jenna said...

oh, that was it. i may be nazi mommy, but i would think to punish him when he cries at the gym. hugging and consoleing will only tell him it's ok to cry in the gym daycare.

ok, was that too far? maybe start that when he's a little older.

like i said, no kids here. good luck!!

Pregnant In Texas said...

Jenna,

He's still too young too discipline in that way. Sometimes, when kids have just reached their limit, if they are too tired, too hungry, or just too overwhelmed, there is nothing that you can do, but hug them.

Pregnant In Texas said...

Jenna,

He's still too young too discipline in that way. Sometimes, when kids have just reached their limit, if they are too tired, too hungry, or just too overwhelmed, there is nothing that you can do, but hug them.