Nighttime Disturbances

I’ve been trying a new little mantra the past few months. Except a mantra is supposed to be a one-sentence insight, right? I don’t think I’ve bothered to boil it down to one sentence. Really, what I’ve been trying to do is not be bothered by things I’m not willing to, don’t have the power to, or don’t have the energy to change. I only let myself get bothered by something if I’m willing to change it. And if I’m not, I make a very conscious effort, a very concerted, a very effort-ful effort to not be bothered.

For example… the perfect example… tonight’s example… is putting the kids to bed. Our kids go to bed quite well, I’d say. The little ones generally sleep for 11-12 hours at night. We don’t have much to complain about, except those nights that they call and call and call after they’ve been tucked in. I’ve realized recently that Luke’s little brain starts thinking as soon as he lays down at night and sometimes he calls me in for the most random things. So I’ve taken to letting him tell me three important things as I tuck him in, in the hopes of warding off the calling from him for that.

But there’s always something else, isn’t there? Water. Teddy bear. Music louder. Music quieter. Door open. Door closed. (This brings to mind GOB Bluth talking to Kitty: “Glasses on. Hair up.” “Hair down. Glasses off…”)

Tonight I got so mad. Not at the kids. Well, at least not in front of the kids. I told Marc with eyes bugging out in rage that I feel powerless with them when they’re calling. The first few calls, I’m all stroking their hair and telling them I love them. But it’s almost inevitable that at some point they call one too many times, and I freak out. (On Remembrance Day weekend, I took the kids to my aunt and uncle’s place in Regina. I tucked the kids in and told them that if I had to come back in the room they would all be spanked. “Even if you call me to tell me that one of you is dead, you’ll get spanked.” Madeline was very concerned, and with almost tears in her eyes she said, “You’ll spank us even if we’re dead?” “Yes,” I replied, “At least you won’t feel it.”) (I should add here, that I wasn’t mad during this little vignette; I was mostly proud at how clever I was in that moment.)

The thing is, it’s so hard to tell when the kids are calling for a legitimate reason. And it’s not that I don’t want to respond to them when they call. It’s just that they just call and call and call some nights. So I have to make the choice: if I go in there, I can’t get mad because I am making the choice to go in. And, if I’m going to be bothered by their calling, I better be willing to dole out the tough love and stick to the boundary of “No. You’ve been tucked in. You have everything you need. Go to sleep. I will see you in the morning.”

Oh boy. This post was supposed to help me come to peace with our night time affairs. But currently, it’s just making me more agitated. Maybe it’s because the oldest child is still skulking about getting ready for bed. She doesn’t call once she’s tucked in, but she sure does know how to lolly-gag her way through her bedtime routine.

I guess with kids… with people… with everyone in general… there will always be things that irritate us. And I think there is something to my little mantra that’s not a mantra. If I’m going to be annoyed, I need to be willing to do something. If I won’t do anything, I can choose to not be annoyed.

Really. I can.

Posted in Family, Kids, Parenting | 7 Comments

7 Responses to Nighttime Disturbances

  1. Jeff says:

    When I was a kid, a hearty rendition of “the boy who cried wolf” had me pretty afraid of false alarms. Perhaps it should be updated, as we don’t really deal with wolves anymore…perhaps “the boy who cried for water and was spanked post-mortem”?

    I’ve often wondered why kids hate bedtime so much. I’ve come to the conclusion (at least partially informed by some of my earliest memories) that it’s because they think that really cool stuff happens after bedtime. And I think that the reason that they think really cool stuff happens after bedtime is because the coolest people they know (their parents and their parents’ friends) are the ones staying up to do it. I’m not sure if that’s small consolation or large, but the next time one of the kids starts calling, I’ll try to remember it. “It’s because they think we’re all just so cool…”

  2. Danelle says:

    Oh my word – I laughed out loud at the end of the 4th paragraph!!!!!!!!! I’m still snickering.

    • Stephen says:

      I have been co**** by Key Property Advisory not recently but a few years back it cost me 1800 euros at the time and anetohr a3100 to get documents signed by a notary. The so say lawyer at the time working in Malaga was Arturo Lopez Epin who was very difficult to get hold of and eventually disappeared. Can anyone tell me is there a way to get rid of your timeshare. Like June above I have two weeks at the Mirage in Tenerife in points.

    • Jaelis says:

      We have been approached by Professional sercvie international offering us on a no win no fee basis offering us commpensation in respect of miss-selling and offering ways and means of opting out of the contract. We suspect that this is a scam to get us to change to yet another time share. Has anyone any comments?

  3. Chelsey says:

    Can sympathize with EVERY SINGLE WORD! Still living it EVERY NIGHT, and expect a few years yet to come. I did read somewhere once to give them a single pass for you to come back for something and once they used it, you wouldn’t come back again. Haven’t tried it yet, but the theory is that it gives them a little control and then allows you to stick to the “NO”… If you try it – let me know 🙂

  4. Lisa says:

    oh yeah. My girls are pros at “calling out”. And I’ll get all riled up and Kez will call out again and I’ll freak and she’ll say “I only wanted to give you a hug.” Well shoot. Then I feel like the biggest jerk who ever lived.

    That 4th paragraph was brilliant! 🙂

  5. Rachel says:

    I totally feel for you. I think the difficulty is a separation anxiety of sorts (see Gordon Neufeld); don’t know if that helps how you think about handling it.
    But I think the mantra you’re looking for is this: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
    Blessings on you in the ever-challenging world of parenting!

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