Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strong Willed and Angry

Night times have been varied in my home lately. They always start the same: snuggle time on the couch, teeth brushed, story read, story turned on, stars on, and kisses follow being tucked in tight. I also say the same words, "I love you! Now don't forget to stay in bed." If only this worked.

While trying to grade papers and catch up on DVRd shows, my ears begins to pick up a different script. Giggles and thumps....is that really what I'm hearing? As I glance up at the clock, my blood pressure begins to rise. I pause the show and quietly tip-toe upstairs. The door is closed but a sliver of light lines the frame of the door. Not only are they up, but they've turned on the light. Brazen? You bet!  I swing open the door and put on my angry mom face. Yes, you know the one, the tear inducing eyes accompanied by the scrunched up nose and turned up lips.

"What are you two doing? Don't you realize that you both have to go to school tomorrow? You're going to be exhausted in the morning. Now GO TO BED!"

Bodies quickly move from one place to the next as they begin to snuggle back in. This is only the beginning of my night.

My body hasn't even made it back into the warm indent of the sofa when the pitter patter of feet begins. That can't be feet, it has to be the rain. I stay perfectly still as I give it another listen. You have GOT to be kidding me. I stomp, yes I am not being quiet any long, stomp my feet up the stairs to find my three-year old standing indignantly in the door way.

"Get your booty in bed!", I demand in the deepest tone I can muster.

"I NOT!", is the reply that is echoed back to me.

Yes, the blood in now boiling as I move my baby from the room he shares with is brother to the playroom (which has a toddler bed in it).

As soon as his body touches the mattress, he springs back up at me. My fair hair, fair skinned child is changing before my eyes. It's as if The Hulk is in my midst. Cheeks begin to turn red and his soft eyes are shooting daggers
"You stay here and go to sleep."

As I leave the room, the screaming begins. It varies from night to night. Tonight it's a chorus of "I WILL NOT!" and "MOM MAY!". It's not the mommy that whispers into my ears and makes the corners of my mouth rise. This "mommy" is harsh with an edge that makes your hair stand on end.

After he is worn out, I find my way back up the stairs. As I enter the room, the volume is cranked up but I can see that his swollen eyes are beginning to droop. This is my chance. As I wrap my arms around him, I begin to pull up the covers and explain how much I love him and that sleep is essential right now. The fight is over....sleep has won this time but the battle will be taken up another day.

As I get to the door, I hear a mouse of a squeak. What? "Mommy, I love you!" My icy heart quickly melts away as those 4 words remind me that this is just a blip on the radar of my life. These nights may seem to last forever but they are well worth the love that fills the rest of the day.


  1. Now that's a wild night at your house Elizabeth. It amazes me that you had the energy to document it. I don't think I could write as much as I do here if I had children.
    Thanks so much for sharing this hectic and sweet piece,

  2. Oh, you speak the truth Elizabeth! Your wording is so precise - so many phrases I'd love to pluck right out of your post! As much as we look forward to our own time, it truly does belong to them. I loved your ending - your icy heart melting, a blip on the radar of life. Thank you for this real life sampling.

  3. This sounds like quite the night!! I love how you used the dialogue in you story. I could imagine what was happening in my head. I love how you ended the story, very powerful and strong! Have a great thanksgiving!

    Jee Young

  4. I work in ECE and love my babies with all my heart... Being patient becomes a profession. I always hope that I'll be able to do the same, day in, day out, with my own when they come. Moms are amazing. Thank you for sharing! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I think there's a whole shelf of sleep books at the bookstore for just times like this. Kids know just how to do it, too, don't they? What a great description with the dialogue and your up & down the stairs. I have been there, & now my daughter is, & we talk a lot about it! Your ending is sweet; they really do want that loving, but are pulling away into their own little selves, too. It's a treat to watch, but not so much to experience. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I'm with Linda. We have lived this life (I wore the crown of "Worst Mother of the World" for many years). But the sweet moments you described at the end make it all worth it.

    I love your posts when you tell the story with dialogue. It makes it so personal!

    Enjoy your holiday!

  7. I am also of mother of two young children. And I think they teach them how to be horrible at bedtime in the nursery at the hospital. I totally feel your pain and the rollercoaster of parenting.

  8. Great descriptions! I easily put my feet in your shoes as you pulled me back to 30 years ago! The moments last forever; the years take only moments! Enjoy even the trying ones!

  9. You made me laugh as I read your words and the frustration you experienced. I know it's not funny to you but your thoughts "that can't be feet" reminded me of times past. Life is interesting in your house.

  10. Once again, you have painted a clear picture with your words. The feeling of love bursting through the frustration for both of you at the end is palpable!

  11. So well written. It as if I was in your house observing every move, feeling both sides of the evening, the frustration and the joy/sadness. We haven't switched to the toddler bed yet, but know that challenges will come with it. Perhaps I will live this post in a couple of months.