Sleep has become a cruel joke in our house. Those sweet moments of early morning little kid cuddling have turned into silent wrestling matches as four of us fight for a spot on a queen bed meant for two. But that in and of itself is an accomplishment, an indication that bedtime was successful to begin with, that those two little whirling bodies found stillness till morning or at least until Z and I lost the will to put them back into their beds. However, bedtime is no longer the end of the boys’ day; it’s the start of a battle that I have become increasingly impatient with.
When Connor was around Ike’s age, we tried to get him to sleep in a fort made from a rocking chair and a bed sheet. When that didn’t work we resorted to moving his mattress all over the room searching for a magical sleep spot that didn’t exist. It was months before he suddenly found sleep and thankfully we did, too. Ike also had his weeks of not liking his mattress, his bed, or his room. But he found sleep with the help of a big-eyed stuffed frog named Lovey. Up until recently.
Tonight I lost count of how many times I heard the pocket door in the hallway slide open and little feet shuffle or stampede to the kitchen, asking for water, reaching for my hand to lead them back to bed, or holding their arms wide for “one more hug.” These seemingly sweet little requests have been hitting my heart like arrows bouncing off a brick wall tonight. I don’t aim to steel myself against my little loves, but at 9 p.m. – with exhaustion and frustration fighting for the top rank – it feels like there is nothing left to give. So, a raised voice and threats are what I end up doling out because sure, little kids have a lot of energy they need to release so they can deal with their emotions and the stresses of the day, but I have a lot of emotions and stresses that I need to release so I can deal with my lack of energy.
What I really hate, though, is how a hard bedtime can erase all of the good that coursed throughout the day before all this evening nonsense commenced. We had dinner with no one complaining about what was on their plate. We pretended to be ninja turtles. We danced in the playroom to the SING soundtrack while in said turtle garb. We took polaroid pictures of each other. We had a good day. But what will be remembered of today? How we spent our day or how we ended it?
Ugh. The first week back to school is hard.