Crash, the 7 year old knows the bedtime routine. When I ask him what it is he responds with “Yogurt, Pajamas, brush teeth, rinse, pee, get in bed.” And I say “Bingo, you got it.” But just because he knows what the routine is, doesn’t mean he’ll follow it. He would stay up until midnight if let him. Actually, he was up until 1 am last New Years with us and he still wasn’t ready for bed. Anyway, he tries every trick in the book to delay bedtime. It wears my patience very quickly because I expect him to be autonomous at this point.
Soon enough, I’m fussing at him. I think he likes to be fussed at, though. He tries to get extra screen time not by asking, but simply playing his games in front of us. Sometimes, he ends up losing screen time for the rest of the day. But it doesn’t stop him from trying again the next day.
To get to the point, we fuss at him frequently. I hope it’s just a phase and he’s testing boundaries and that once he finds those boundaries aren’t flexible, he’ll stop. Last night was no different. While I was getting Bang ready for bed in his room, Crash was supposed to be following the routine – minus the yogurt because he’d already eaten. While I was reading Bang his bedtime book, Crash “sneaks” in to listen. I let him, because, well, books are fun.
I directed him back to his routine while I finished Bang’s routine – lotion, inhalers, vitamin E on his lips, and nose blowing (his cold is getting much better). I finished all that and went to check on Crash. Was he ready for bed? Of course not. He had done nothing. He was instead “hiding” on the stairs and was going to attempt to scare me. Then our Parrot, Piper, screeched. She was ready for bed, too.
Crash asked if he could put her bed. I told him no and, naturally, he didn’t like that answer. I told him if he had followed routine and had been ready for bed, then he could have put the bird to bed (change her food and water and cover her cage with a sheet). Now he had to get ready. Fussed at, again.
Finally in bed, all tucked in and books read and lights out and star turtle turned on, I’m feeling (I think DW has similar feelings) like I’ve done nothing but fuss at him since he got home from school. I’m laying there with my eyes closed getting ready to say something to him (our nightly chat) when I feel wet lips on my forehead. “I love you, dad.”
And BOOM, just like that, all of the fussing I’ve done, all of the testing he’s done, suddenly no longer exists. He’s melted his mom like this, before, too. Little bugger. Just when we’re feeling like we haven’t a clue what we’re doing, when we feel like what we are doing isn’t working, he leaves us laying in a puddle of our melted heart.
I snuggle him for a few minutes enjoying the brief moment. Then kiss on his forehead and tell him “Night night, love you buddy. Ugga Mugga, see ya in the morning.”