Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bedtime with littles...

Pin It Now!

Before I became a mother, I always had these visions of what bedtime with little ones would be like.

It went something like this:

I'd look over at my adorable little kids, all sleepy-eyed and cute and whisper "Come on kiddos, it's time for bed"...and little people would look at me all lovingly and get up immediately saying "Okay, mommy" and we'd all walk upstairs together, all happy and ready for bed.

We'd get them into their jammies as they'd snuggle my neck and kiss my cheeks and we'd start our bedtime routine of brushing teeth. That'll be cute (I used to think) when they're old enough to brush their teeth--I'll probably sing a brushing your teeth song and we'll all happily scrub those teeth until they shine.

Then we'd turn down the lights, pick our favourite bedtime book and snuggle into bed together for some cuddles and stories. As their eyes would start to flutter shut, I'd rub their backs for a few minutes, kiss their foreheads, whisper "I love you so much" and tiptoe out of their room. Then just before quietly closing the bedroom door, I'd take one last look at my adorable sleepy children all snuggled under their covers, falling asleep so peacefully and I'd think to myself "This is why I wanted to be a mom...for sweet moments like this".

And then I had children. Yeah. And, well, this fantasy unfortunately doesn't always translate into reality.

Some nights it does.

Some nights are so sweet and wonderful and easy...and there are "I love you's" and snuggles and back rubs and tiptoeing, and lullabies and moments where I feel like "Yes, this is why I love being a mom so much". Then there are nights where putting toddlers to bed will just about make you feel like you're losing your mind...where you literally feel like you're watching your mind roll down the street. Where your husband and you will look at each other, all wide eyed and exhausted. Where you'll need to have the love and patience of Mother Teresa and the strength of God himself just to get through it. Because little children are the masters of delay tactics.

So instead of my blissful fantasy of what bedtime would look like...some nights are a little less fairy tale(ish).

Getting upstairs isn't necessarily the tricky part anymore, since we found the magical solution of using our timer on our phones. "Two minutes until the timer is going off and we're heading upstairs", we say. And all of a sudden the timer is the bad guy, not us. You can't argue with a timer, you can't plead with a timer, you can't negotiate with a timer. It goes off, and there is nothing that we can do about it. So little people (for now) usually accept it and we distract them with a race to the bathroom for who will get to their toothbrush first.

First step completed.

They're upstairs.

But my magical fantasy of happily brushing teeth to their mom blissfully singing a little song isn't exactly how it goes.

Instead we're trying to wrangle two squirming kids into the bathroom (which is as easy and flawless as herding cats)--put toothpaste onto their toothbrushes--then wipe toothpaste off of their toothbrushes since it's the wrong yucky kind mom..the same yucky kind that was an all time favourite just the night before.

Then as little hands clench onto tiny toothbrushes with all of their might, my speech begins...

"You can have a turn to brush your teeth, but mommy does it first. I don't want your teeth to rot and fall out, so I have to get all the sugar bugs off first, then you can have a turn."

Doesn't work.

So I bump it up a notch.

"Listen, there are kids at my school who have black teeth because their mommies don't brush their teeth. Their teeth are literally about to fall out because they're so rotten. I'm not willing to let that happen to you. So let me get in there first, and I promise you can have a turn when I'm done".

Little hands ease up, and I get a good scrubbing in. Phew.

We dim the lights, pick two stories and sit on the edge of the bed together. We find the mouse on every page of Goodnight Moon and as the last words are read I get up to turn off the lights.

"What story do you want to hear tonight honey?" I say in the dark as I try to convince her to lie down as I rub her back.

It's always one of the same stories each night...she wants to hear about the day that she was born. The day that Carter was born. The day that Oliver was born or the day that Scarlett was born. Always one of them.

So I tell her stories of us rushing to the hospital to welcome new babies to our family and kissing tiny baby cheeks and washing newborns in the hospital sink and she loves every minute of it...

and then, just as the words "The end" fall from my lips, it's like a sensor goes off--a 3yr old sensor that starts screaming "Your mom is about to leave!---do something...do something...ANYTHING!!"

So her leg is all of a sudden itchy. She needs me to scratch it.
She needs a drink. She's all of a sudden DYING of thirst.
She left her bear downstairs. She needs to go get it.
She has an ouchie. She needs an icepack...right now.
She is too hot.
She is too cold.
She wants blankets on her.
No--not those blankets mommy...the blankets that are lost somewhere in the closet..the ones that we can't find anywhere.
Finally found them.
She doesn't want blankets on her anymore.
Her pajamas feel funny on her leg. She needs new ones.
She hears Carter talking in his bed. She needs to go give him a kiss and rub his back--he wants me mommy...only me, she says.
Her skin on her arm is dry. She needs to put cream on.
She can't see her owl stickers on her wall. She needs to turn the light on so she can make sure they're all still there.

...and mama is watching her mind roll down the street.

So yes, putting little ones to bed is not always easy. It's not always lullabies and smiles and sweet kisses goodnight. Sometimes it's exhausting...so incredibly exhausting.

But I'm sure that we'll one day look back on these days and laugh. We'll laugh about the crazy things that we did to try to get our kids to fall asleep. The millions of songs that we've sung, the millions of stories we've read, the negotiations, the bribes and the pleas. We'll remember the wide-eyed looks of desperation that we've given to each other from across the dark hallway...and we'll remember how much they needed us. 

Because one day they won't.

One day they won't care if we leave the room. They won't cry when we say goodbye. They won't want us to sit with them and read story after story to them. They'll grow up...and Terry and I will sit there and maybe wish for these exhausting days to come back again.

So I'll take the hard with the good. Because ultimately, that's what parenting is all about.
But I'll also enjoy the silence that I hear right now, as they're both fast asleep...because silence is a beautiful thing.

Goodnight everyone,
Erica xo



No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...