Monday, January 4, 2010

Reality vs Expectations

Sometimes, the world in my head collides violently with the world I actually live in. The other night was just such a collision.

Kristin's World, night unfolds as such:

Child is prompted to get ready for bed, does so with minimal fuss, falls asleep during story time, is kissed goodnight and Kristin exits stage left to retire for the night.

Real World, night unfolds as such:

Child is prompted to get ready for bed, and does so with minimal fuss. Has her snack, brushes teeth, small drink of water, says good night to everyone, and we're in bed. We read three stories (usually the max is two), then I begin reading a pictureless book for her to go to sleep to. I hear her moving around, but usually it ends up stopping. It didn't, and pretty soon I hear the plastic sounds of toys. I turn over (I read facing away from her so as not to distract her), and she's not in her bed!

Crouched on all fours, at the foot of her bed, among a billion toys, she claims she's trying to fall asleep there. Refuses to get back in bed. Says she's hungry. Her puppies are in the car and it makes her sad (this happens repeatedly, so that night i put my foot down and told her she's responsible for bringing them in, tough tookie). Her tummy hurts. She's not tired. and by God she's huuuuuuuuuuuuungry!

At this point, I'm doing everything in my power to remain calm, I haven't had to deal with an all out revolt like this in years, and it just flips the Angry switch in me. I eventually get her back in bed, and start reading again. She begins interuppting with whining, tummy pains, and waaah I'm hungry.
Maybe you think I'm mean, but girl has a snack EVERY NIGHT before bed, because of this very issue. Crackers and a glass of milk - filling, bland and perfect for bedtime. It's not like the kid hasn't eaten in hours. Though, you'd think so to hear her.

I'm at the end of my rope, so I tell her I need a minute, and leave the room. I gather myself, wait maybe two or three minutes, and go back in. We try again, only to repeat Act 1.

At this point, I say, OK I'm going to talk to Dad. I'm not threatening, I just need back up, and so he comes back in the room with me. We both talk to her, sit quietly, begin reading, etc. She still refuses to calm down, I'm at the breaking point, so I'm now sitting there crying. Matt has me leave, because he knows at that point there's no help to be had from me.

Little M loses it. I mean LOST IT. Screaming, freaking out because I left the room...full on meltdown. Matt deals with it as much as possible, like the impossibly awesome, patient man he is. Soon Grandma comes in to see what on earth the whole fuss is, and ends up being the magic person who calms Little M down. 45 long minutes later, she's asleep.

Meanwhile, Matt is comforting me just outside kiddo's room, as I sob because I've failed to make Kristin's World enter the Real World, and it's just another reminder of how I feel like I've failed, because I have impossible expectations for myself. Matt tries to tell me this happens to every mom, and just because I'm her mom doesn't mean I ahve the magic cure...but IN MY HEAD I SHOULD, and that's why I hate it.

Bedtime began at 8:30. Approximately 11pm, she fell asleep.

Motherhood is a long, tiring, road full of potholes that you just don't see coming. I didn't know until that night that I expected myself to be able to fix everything.

Turns out I expect entirely too much from entirely human me.

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