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Parental Regret September 25, 2011

Posted by battysgirl in Friends & Family.

There are some days that I go to bed proud of how I handled any hurdles Celly threw my way that day.  There are some days where she throws no hurdle at all… Then, there are days when I go to bed with regret making my heart heavy.

Celeste has been refusing to nap more often than not lately, when this happens, we try to ensure that she at the very least spends an hour in her bed quietly playing or reading her books so that she has some down time.  This weekend, Saturday she refused to nap and had no ‘quiet’ down time, she whined and called out for the entire 30 minutes I lasted before going in to get her out of bed.  Today, she slept in late (after having no nap the day before and heading to bed 45 minutes later than usual) so by the time she was tired enough for a nap I was afraid it would be too close to bedtime and so just had quiet down time in the living room with half a movie.

By bedtime, I was kicking myself for that decision, but this is not what is sending me to bed with a frown.  Rather, my reaction to her overly tired and overly toddler behavior at bed time has.  I thought I was so clever, sending her upstairs after dinner with a sieve to use in the bathtub with her Daddy (and it worked, she went upstairs with no fuss – in fact, HE had to tell her to wait for him!).  When it came time for my own time with her, the bedtime routine, however, it all went downhill faster than a drag racer.  The minute we walked to her bedroom the tears started… her towel was falling so I picked it up from her.  Then she insisted on continuing to brush her hair after it started to dry, getting the brush tangled in her mass of curls (detangling it with a squirming, screaming toddler was no fun).  By the end of that debacle, I had to put her down in her bed and walk away for a moment to let us both cool down.

After 90 seconds alone in her room and me taking a deep breath on the other side of her door, I tried again and for a while it went okay… not well, she was still bothersome, but a bothersome I could handle.  Before anything else, I calmly told her that when Mommy asks her for the brush, she needs to give it to me, because her hair is so curly and it will hurt if she doesn’t listen.  I also told her that, even though I’m upset, I love you and that never changes.  She nodded and we headed to the bookshelf to pick out books.

After our three books, it was time for our three songs and it went down hill again.  She didn’t want to sing this song but that one.  As soon as that song was started she screamed she wanted the first one.  She ignored the second song, rolling away from me and swatting the toys away as they gave her kisses (in this particular song, the five animals that share her bed with her every night, each come to her for a good night hug and kiss).  She yelled bloody murder when I started the customary third and last song of the night.  At wits end, I offered her two choices – hugs and kisses and bed, or the last song of the night as usual before hugs and kisses.  She reluctantly accepted the last song of the night but shook her head back and forth and grunted an angry grrr after each word.

In the end, I sang the song over her protests, offered her a hug and a kiss which she refused and walked to the door.  She protested loudly, I came back to give her a kiss (never wanting either of us to miss THAT) and she whined she wanted another song.  I lost my last thread of patience, said a strong and loud, “NO, STOP IT" and walked out, ignoring her calling out, “NO MOMMY.”  I sat on my bed for another minute or two before walking back across to her room.  I shouldn’t have.  Neither she nor I were calm enough but I did, and these are where my regrets mount.  I walked back in and I let the door slam behind me, “Are you done,” I asked angrily.  “That’s enough.  Its time for bed.”  I even slapped the flat of my hand down on the rail her bed to accentuate my point.  She sniffled and nodded, clearly upset and unsure of what to make of this crazed angry mother she was confronted with.  “You may have a hug and a kiss, but that is it, I’ve had enough and its time for you to sleep.”  She nodded again, murmured a quiet okay. 

I leaned over to hug her and, instead, scooped her up and held her close, rubbing her back.  “That’s enough, now,” I whispered.  “Its over.”   We stood that way for a minute until I asked, “ready”?  She nodded, I lowered her into her bed, covered her up and said the customary, “Good night, sweetheart.  I love you.  See you in the morning,” and her little voice followed me out, “I love you too, Mommy.”

Its been two hours, she hasn’t made a peep since, having fallen asleep before my butt had even landed on the couch on the first floor.  I’m heading to bed myself now, and all I want to do is head into her room, scoop her up, cuddle her close and cry my apologies into her sweet smelling hair. Instead, I’ll try a thousand times harder tomorrow, and the day after to NOT show her that ugly Mommy again.



1. Simone Ludlow - September 26, 2011

I don’t think that an parent in the history of child rearing has gotten through the toddler years without showing their angry mommy side.

2. Me!!! - September 26, 2011

Agreed Simone. You did everything right Sarah. You can’t give in to her tantrums because it will make her think that with 1 loving word or gesture she can get away with it and you will then have a bigger mess on your hands. You need to give yourself a break. You’re doing a wonderful job!!!


3. mikavr1 - October 13, 2011

Oh this is good to read.

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