If you’ve been following along over the past few weeks, you may recall that we’ve been having some trouble sleeping in the Cowen Household. Our three year old has been trying every trick in the book to not go to bed, and she’s been coming in to our room pretty much every night. Well, last night we hit a new level of toddler sleep problems, and I had to transform into MEAN MOM MODE.
The evening started just like any other. We had dinner, played a little bit, and then let the kids watch one show to settle them down and start our bedtime routine. Mark brought Jacek upstairs to get him ready for bed, and I was tasked with Harlow. For some reason, Harlow is in a stage where she only wants me to put her to bed, so Mark is not an option. Per usual, instead of walking up the stairs, Harlow started her stalling tactics by laying on her back and pushing her body up the stairs one at a time “like a mermaid.” I tried to be patient because she was being cute and was at least making her way up, but after a few minutes my patience level was decreasing. I will say that I am a very patient person, and an extremely patient mom. I get that kids are slow and sometimes they do not work at the same pace we do as adults. It doesn’t hurt anything to give them a little extra time because they are just kids being kids. However, being 38 weeks pregnant and wanting to go to bed as soon as the kids are in bed deteriorates my patience level very quickly.
My mermaid finally made it up the stairs and proceeded to spend the next 30-45 minutes going potty, brushing her teeth, and getting her jammies on. The next part of the routine is for me to read her a book (ONE BOOK because by this time I’m already exhausted) and tell her one story. We then turn on her lamb night light and her bedroom closet light. She mentions something about monsters, so I make sure her sword is by her bed (yes, I got my daughter a sword to kill monsters who may try to get in her room when she sleeps) and I do this silly little magic dance to protect her room from any monsters who may try to get in. Let’s hope I’m never secretly videotaped doing that. I give her a kiss goodnight, and she then asks for Daddy to come tell her a story and give her a kiss. I tell her I will go and get him, and we have “the nightly talk.” I say something along the lines of “Harlow, I want you to show me how you can be a big girl and stay in your bed tonight. You need your rest because we are going to have such a fun day tomorrow!” She acknowledges it and in her sweet and sincere little way, she actually makes me believe that she gets it and she is going to stay in bed! As soon as the talk is over, she jumps out and hides under the bed waiting for Daddy. I’m such a sucker. But, at this point, it’s Mark’s turn, so I drop the mike and walk out.
After Mark is done with his story, he gives her a kiss and walks out. Harlow only got out one more time because she wanted me to give her twenty kisses. How can I say no to that?!? I went into her room, gave her twenty kisses, and that was that. She was in bed for the night.
Or so I thought. And this is where shit hits the fan. At about 12:30am, I heard the sshhh shhhh shhh shhh shuffle of little feet coming into my room. A turned over and saw the scary zombie toddler looking me straight in the eye. “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” she said in a sweet little voice. Of course! I let her hop into bed with us because at that point it was much easier for me to do than fight with her and try to get her back in her room. She laid next to me nice and quietly for about 30 minutes until it all started.
All of a sudden in a super mean and crabby voice, Harlow shouted out “I dont want to wear these pants!!!!!!” WTF!?!?!? She then started thrashing around and shouting at me and Mark. Ummm, this was new. Usually when she comes in our room at night, she falls asleep right away or gets a little chatty. We usually just tell her that it’s time to sleep and she gets quiet. But this?!?! What the hell was this? I told her her pants were fine and to go to sleep. She literally shouted back at me that she hated her pants. I was getting pissed! I said, then take them off!!!!! She screamed back “NOOOOOOOOOO!” Once again she screamed that she didn’t want to wear her pants, so I stripped them off of her and said “GO TO SLEEP.” This pissed her off even more. She yelled and thrashed and socked me in the eye until Mark picked her up and brought her into her room. She was screaming bloody murder!!! Then, of course, Jacek woke up and started crying.
Why oh why?!?! All I’ve asked of this world recently is to get a good night’s sleep. We’ve been close to getting there, then this happens! Once again, WTF?!? Mark somehow got her to stay in her room, but she didn’t calm down. She kept shouting “I WANT MOMMY!!!” and with every shout, I could feel my blood boiling more and more. Mark laid down and I asked him what I should do. He was no help. I listened to her shouting like a crazy woman for a few more minutes and decided to take matters into my own hands. Remember how I said I had a high patience level? HA! It was GONE. As I walked into Harlow’s room, I feel like I transformed from the nice understanding mom into some sort of Incredible Mom Hulk. I do not like to yell at my kids. I try to take the stance of getting them to express their feelings and talking about things. I like to redirect and work through problems. I don’t want to be the mean mom. Last night, that all went out the window. In my hulkish state, I became the MEAN MOM.
I walked fast and furiously into Harlows’ room, and in my meanest mom voice I said “GO TO BED.” Harlow wasn’t buying it and screamed and cried even louder. I charged at her,
got in her face and said “HARLOW, you are making me very mad. Now be quiet and GO TO BED.” All of a sudden, I saw her face drop. She had never seen this scary mean mom before. Her screams and shouts turned into a whimper. She said “ok mom”, laid down, and quietly whimpered and sniffled in her bed as I walked out.
I did it! But now I felt so bad! I really yelled at my sweet girl and I was mean! I could still hear her sniffling and whimpering in her room. But at least she was in her room, right? I was so torn on what just happened. Did I do a good job by laying down the law, or did I do a bad job because I hulked out? About an hour later, Harlow shuffled back into my room. “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” She didn’t hate me! Like the sucker I am, I said yes and pulled her into bed with us. We all slept the rest of the night until Jacek woke us all up at his usual 5:30 wake up time.
I’m sure I did things all wrong last night, but as I always say, I am not perfect. Has anyone else gone through this type of thing? Any words of wisdom??