It had occurred to me last night after I calmed down and Michael calmed down, that this was not the way to a smooth, sleep sendoff for him and I. Fighting during the bedtime routine had to stop. It would start off smoothly enough. OK, relatively smoothly, with only some stalling for shower, glass of water and teeth brushing. Then there was the fight for two stories, song, bedtime massage (Qigong), and then the cute but routine extending three cheeked goodnight kiss, hug etc. In case it’s not obvious by now to anyone, Michael is afraid to be alone at night in his bed. He tells me the monsters yell at him and keep him awake. Surprisingly when he sleeps with me, they back off. I’ve tried doing monster patrols, starting bedtime earlier to give him time for a longer routine to relax, but lately we’ve seemed to end up here, with me yelling at him to go to bed as we’re both tired, frustrated, and I still have a slew of things to do before I go to bed and it’s already 9:30 pm. What worked a few weeks ago, months ago, has not worked in the past week. Now he’s tired, I’m tired, and no one’s happy.
So this morning I was thinking of new ways to approach this problem tonight. Why is he so much more scared of monsters lately? What can I do in the day time to help him? Trying to see the world through my child’s eyes is my way of tackling big problems like these when I’m so stuck like I am now. I also realized that I had to look at my own patterns in the day with Michael, and my own stress and worries. What keeps me awake at night, and what methods help me calm down? I decided we will do extra snuggle time tonight. He has hinted he missed me lying down with him. I only stopped because then there would be tears and fears when i would tell him I need to leave and then would come and check on him later. But what’s changing for me is learning that it’s ok to be afraid of the monsters that go bump in the night. As long as I give Michael the tools to fight them and look for those tools myself, we are half way to solving the problem.
When you’re up against a problem with your exceptional children, what do you do Moms? My ideal is to remain calm and in control of my emotions, but sleep has always been an issue for both Michael and I. In learning how to be kinder to myself, I am learning that I am human, make mistakes, say and do the wrong things. When that happens, I go for a timeout, then when I am calm apologize and start over with Michael.
Don’t ever be afraid to start over with your kids Moms. Take responsibility for your anger, frustration and stress, and then reach out to them with little changes. Our exceptional kids give us exceptional challenges. As exceptional Moms, we have to be willing to be flexible and open to trying new things. Here’s to all of you having success in your trouble areas. Wish me luck in mine! Until next time.