Monday, December 12, 2011

Good, Bad, Indifferent

This was an interesting week for parenting for me. I had some good moments, some average moments, and some terrible moments through the course of the week and the weekend. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the whole thing, other than kind of relieved that I survived the experience.

Friday, I worked an earlier shift so that I could sing with my quartet at a local supermarket. This supermarket does all kinds of awesome promotions during the holiday season: lots of musical acts through prime customer times, lots of samples stations spread throughout the store. My quartet was commissioned to sing for a couple of hours, which was a huge amount of fun for us. Down part: wasn’t able to take the boys to school, and I got home after Little Bear was in bed. I actually didn’t see him at all on Friday, which made me sad.

Putting The Boy to bed on Friday was a challenge. He was very much overtired, and he flipped out majorly when I got up and left him in his room. I know that I had been staying in there a little bit too long at night, and I know that he wasn’t feeling 100%. He definitely associates being sick with sleeping with Daddy or Grandma, and Daddy getting up from bed caused a meltdown of Chernobyl proportions. Definitely not good. Good parenting moment: negotiating with him for some more snuggle time in exchange for going to sleep on his own. Bad parenting moment: allowing it to happen in the first place by not setting firm and reasonable bedtime standards. Incidentally, since the incident, things have been better – I’ve gotten up earlier in the process, and while he complains a little bit (nature of the beast), he usually responds with a simple, “Turn the light off, please, Daddy.”

Saturday, I worked from 9-3; my first weekend shift. Making things better: The Wife and The Baby were sick, making me in charge of the boys until I wasn’t. I got home from work and was able to catch 15 minutes of napping sleep, which wasn’t nearly enough to offset a 50 hour workweek (not counting drive time) with the lack of sleep from sick, sniffly boys and Mum. Everyone left a few hours later, with The Wife going to play a concert and the grandparents going out with friends. Disaster soon occurred.

I got Little Bear to bed without too much of an issue. The birdies on the crib distracted the baby long enough for me to do songs and stories until he said, “You go now, Daddy.” I took the baby out of the room as he started to fuss, and he proceeded to scream continuously for a little bit over an hour. These weren’t normal baby screams; these were full-body-tension, locked legs and arms, rip his throat apart screaming. He wasn’t hungry, had no air bubbles, and was dry. Looking back now, I should have given him some baby Tylenol; he probably had a massive headache from the screaming. The bad part of things? I did shout at the little guy when I got really, really, really frustrated after 45 minutes of screaming. That went as well as can be expected, redoubling his efforts and hurting his feelings.

Good part? I put the baby down and walked out of the room, and I sat down with The Boy. I said, “The Boy, I need something from you tonight. I need you to be a big, mature boy at bedtime. I need you to cooperate without complaining, and I need you to let Daddy go when The Baby starts screaming again. I promise I’ll come back in and give you hugs when I can, but I need to be with The Baby. Okay?” He agreed, and he was so good! He went right to sleep without any complaints, cooperated fully, and let me take care of The Baby. The Baby had fallen asleep in the intervening time, and I just crawled into bed and passed out around 9:30 on Saturday night. When he started to complain around 10:15, I pulled him onto my chest and fell back asleep. The Wife came home around 11, and I gave her the baby when he needed food at 11:30. Around 2, The Boy woke up and started crying – he had a nasty bad dream that he couldn’t describe. I crawled into bed with him and stayed there until The Wife and Little Bear woke us around 7 the next morning.

Bad part of Sunday? Dragging The Boy up the stairs when he threw a fit while getting dressed in the morning. Dragging him into the music section of Barnes & Noble when he wanted to be playing, although that turned into an entertaining chase game for both of us. Lots of dragging, so I’m noticing a bit of a trend. Also had no patience with Little Bear at a pajama party at their school on Saturday night. I sent him home after about 15 minutes, which probably wasn’t as patient as I should have been.

Good moments: turning several potty-related meltdowns into laughing and cooperation by playing the “Which end goes in the potty?” game. That’s where I pick up whichever boy, hold them upside down with their head over the potty, and ask, “Does this end go in the potty?” “Noooo!!!!” Hold their feet over the water, “Does this end go in the potty?” “Nooo!!!!” Drop the pants, sit them on the potty, “Does this end go in the potty?” “Yes!!!” The biggest good moment was turning the major, noisy meltdown Saturday night into an early bedtime for all of us. There was a 45 minute timespan where all three children were asleep in their own beds.

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