Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

And so to bed…

on May 31, 2013

Bedtime: two hours of my life I will never see again.  Two hours I could spend doing something useful, or fun, or interesting or relaxing.  Instead I spend the time wondering whether, if someone arrived and told me that I could die now and never have to do bedtime again, I would take them up on it.  Some nights it is very tempting.

On Monday, after a couple of nights at Daddy’s house, Small Girl spent an hour and three quarters alternating between crying for ‘more milk’ and crying for Daddy.  This seems particularly unfair as she is unsettled because she’s been to Daddy’s house, and I’ve missed her horribly, and it’s not my fault that he’s not here.  I’m not the one who left.  Never expect gratitude from small children, that’s all I’m saying.

The next night she spent a comparable amount of time standing up on her bed and spinning round and laughing at me.  I started off lying her down again each time she did it but, obviously, this was very entertaining for her.  So then I brought my parental authority into play and told her sternly to lie down.  Which she did.  For a while.  And then got up again.  And then I told her to lie down again.  Repeatedly.  And then I realised that I’d crossed the line between ‘sounding stern’ and ‘sounding menacing’, which is (a) not in the Guide to Good Parenting book and (b) made her cry.

And then two nights where they were at their dad’s again, and I felt sad and my life felt a little empty and meaningless.  The thing is that difficult bedtimes are the most frustrating thing ever.  There’s the fear that they may just never end.  There is no guarantee that your child will sleep.  And if they do go to sleep, there is a good chance that they’ll wake up again.  And, as a single parent, there is that little part of me, when I’m really tired and really frustrated, that starts working out just how long it is until they go to their dad’s.  And then I feel very mean and very guilty.  I just long, occasionally, for an evening which isn’t mainly filled with being screamed at.  And the opportunity to do something and feel certain that I won’t be interrupted.  And to be able to sleep all night (actually, I had no children at home last night and woke to find two towels on my bed which I had strategically placed to catch some kind of leak I dreamt was coming through my ceiling.  But, you know, at least I’m only being disturbed by my own stupid brain).  And to get up when I choose, even if that is when I set the alarm to get up for work, and to eat breakfast at my own pace, and to leave the house on time with no tantrums.

But wait!  Actually, it’s only two hours.  A year ago I would have dreamt of a two-hour bedtime.  And Big Girl has a pretty good grasp of how bedtime works now, so they aren’t both running round the bedroom while I hide under my duvet, sobbing.  I’m not letting her wander round the house turning taps on and flooding the kitchen through the bathroom floor while I settle Small Girl.  I’m not sitting in a dark room listening to a six-month-old scream for hours and hours.  I’ve been going to sleep workshops and working on their sleep and it is improving.  One night last week they were both in bed at 8.25 pm and Small Girl slept until 6, and then came into my bed and slept some more.  This is such stuff as dreams are made on.  Or something.

So I’m not saying it’s not difficult or frustrating, or that I wouldn’t choose death if offered it at 9.25 pm on a particularly difficult evening by the Avenging Angel of Sleepless Toddlers.  I’m just saying that I can see a trend, and it’s heading in the right direction.


One response to “And so to bed…

  1. Myn says:

    One day they’ll be teenage and never get up…

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