I admit. I’m a pushover. I try and try and try to instill boundaries, but sometimes the battle is harder than what’s being asked. Luckily, Chris and I have a great partnership where we encourage each other to teach our boys good behavior and still promote strong, independent personalities.
Have you read the blog about putting your toddler to bed in 100 easy steps? Yup, it’s true. We definitely draw our line in the sand and stick to it… mostly. But when Walt asks for one more book or one more kiss, is that so hard? This whole parenting thing is one big test. Little things add up to big things. The last thing I want is for my kids to know how to walk all over me (realization: they know exactly which strings to push with which parent).
Last nigh, we hit one of the bigger challenges. We were flowing quite nicely through the bedtime routine. Walt took a bath without much fuss, got out without having to be promised a pony, and happily watched Super Friends before it was time to go to bed. As a matter of fact, he asked to watch an extra episode, and I thought, what the hell? It’s Friday night… 7:00 p.m…. party.
After the bonus episode, the entire universe fell apart. Walt pitched a wild fit when I turned off the TV, throwing the couch blankets on the floor. I calmly asked him to pick them up. After 742 chances, I said I was putting him in “Thinking Time”. After 3 minutes, we talked some more about picking up the blankets. After 742 more chances and as many refusals, I said, “If you don’t pick up the blankets, you’re going straight to bed with no books.” 429 more refusals and then I pulled the trigger. I grabbed my 40 lb toddler and began to walk him upstairs. Through heart-wrenching sobs, Walt promised he would pick up the blankets. I looked straight at Chris looking for an answer. My instinct was to just let him pick up the blankets and we could finish the evening under normal circumstances. Chris’s eyes said it all, “If you give in, you’re teaching him he can get away with throwing a fit.”
With a sad heart, I dragged (literally) Walt upstairs, dumped him in bed and ran out. Yes, I had to run because he was hot on my tail (not at all typical bedtime behavior)! Walt sobbed at the door for less than 10 minutes then put himself in bed. He tossed and turned quietly for 20 some-odd minutes then very sweetly started calling for me. I went upstairs prepared to read him a book or deny an even bigger request. He simply hugged me. It definitely wasn’t a “thanks for punishing me and teaching me a lesson” hug, but it was a “we’re ok. I love you” hug. We both needed that. 10 minutes later he was asleep… no books.
This parenting thing is no joke. I couldn’t have fulfilled that threat without Chris’s support and I was so relieved when Walt hugged me. I kept questioning if I should have just given in. It seemed like a stupid thing for ME to be hanging on to. Did it matter that the blankets were on the floor. But it did. There was a bigger lesson. Here’s to more lessons 🙂