Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Bittersweet Taste of Bedtime

Bedtime is an entirely bittersweet operation around here.  There is the anticipated sweet taste of the laying on Hassaan's bed with him, cuddling, talking about his day, and him giving me lots of hugs and kisses.  But then there is also the entirely too real, incredibly bitter taste of how we will get to that sweetness.

As much as Hassaan may deny he's tired, by 7pm he is very much ready for bed.  Especially on those lovely mornings when he's up between 5am and 6am.  (Please - note the sarcasm in that sentence.)  Since right now, Monday to Friday, we do not get home until  7pm, it is generally straight to bed for him.  And at least half the nights we end up in a power struggle.  Now, I always win.  There is just no exception to that.  I have to.  It's bedtime.  He's going to bed.  Whether he wants to or not.  As Gene Kranz (the mission control flight director for the Apollo 13 space near-disaster) said - "Failure is not an option."

Tonight was again one of those nights.  Not only is failure not an option, but he doesn't get a choice.  Some nights the only battle I don't fight is the toothbrushing one.  He has a very, very hard time brushing his teeth.  A parent with a child quite like mine has told me that it is a sensory issue, and since I have sensory issues myself, I totally get that.  But I also totally understand that I do not have the money for expensive dental work.  So six nights out of seven he'll have his teeth brushed almost by force.  Once a week, maybe, they'll be force.  And once a week, maybe, I'm just to tired to fight that battle.

Hassaan always get a warning of when bedtime is going to be.  "When the words come up at the end of this cartoon."  "In ten minutes when the clock starts with a 7."  "When you are doing doing x, y or z."  He always acknowledges me quite calmly.  But then he seems to think that I'm going to forget what I said.  My question (to both my children, actually) is when, exactly, have I not followed through on anything I've either told you is going to happen or have threatened you with?  (Threaten meaning "if you do not knock that behaviour off right now you and I WILL leave this restaurant and sit in the car while Daddy and your brother/Grammy and Grampy and your brother/etc enjoy their dinner."  And I have totally followed through, much to the child's shock.  And "if you do that again you will loose your computer privileges for x number of days."  and yet again, they look absolutely shocked that I follow through.  When have I never NOT followed through?)  Anyway, then comes the sreaming.  "I'M NOT GOING TO BED!!" Runs.  Either upstairs or in my bedroom.  But not the bathroom.  When it is the bathroom, then the screaming and fighting start.  And then the evening ends in much the same way as many mornings begin (to which I'll send you back to, I think it is post number 2 about mornings).

Some nights, I am so tired by the time I am done wrestling him that I tell him I love him and will see him in the morning and leave.  Sometimes, he is still screaming and crying that he doesn't want to go to bed.  Nine times out of ten, he's sound asleep within five minutes.  I love good nights though - the sweet nights, when I will crawl into bed next to him and ask him about his day and I'll get some sort of long story that every once in awhile has me wondering exactly what part of his day took place only in his imagination (a time or two, I'm grateful that I'm also friends with his teacher, because what he has said is highly suspicious so I'll give her a quick call to ask about his day!)  But I love these sweet nights.  And I hate that tonight was, yet again, a bitter night.

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