parenting

Convos With My Four Year Old: Bedtime

Four year-olds are just…urgh. Mine may look super sweet, but looks can be deceiving.

Amélie has always been pretty willful. If she were a character in the Mr. Men/Little Miss series, she would be a mix between these two:

Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss Stubborn

Though I know that this mix will help her in life, right now, it mostly serves to drive my husband and I bonkers.

Yesterday evening, for instance, this lovely exchange happened:

Me: Ok, teeth and hands, go!

Her: [runs to the washroom] THE LIGHT IS TURNED OFF!

Me: Grab your step stool and turn it on.

Her: [stomps back to the living room and stares at me while pouting]

Me: [continues to read Elliot his bedtime story]

Her: THE LIGHT IS TURNED OFF!

Me: If you would like some help, you can ask for it, sweetie.

Her: GO TURN ON THE LIGHT. RIGHT NOW!

Me: That’s not the best way to ask for…

Her: STOP TALKING TO ME AND GO. TURN. ON. THE. LIGHT. RIGHT. NOW!

Me: [looks at her and then continues to read bedtime story]

Her: GO TURN ON THE LIGHT RIGHT NOW, MOMMY. [Short pause, then repeat – over and over].

———-

It took about fifteen minutes, but she ended up asking me nicely to go turn on the light for her. As I got up, my husband, who was standing right beside the washroom, turned on the light. Of course, this resulted in another meltdown (cue: GO TURN OFF THE LIGHT RIGHT NOW! On repeat). By the time we had sorted everything out, it was past her bedtime.

As you can imagine, that did not go down well, because she hadn’t had her story (and certainly wasn’t going to get it – sorry kiddo, but my patience and flexibility have limits and you’ve reached both). I had to carry her into her room (with her screaming into my ear that she did NOT want to go to bed). I put her in her bed and tried to put the covers on her but she kept kicking her legs to stop me.

At that point, I just had to take a deep breath. I calmly told her that she could certainly sleep without blankets and be cold during the night. She eyed me suspiciously, got out of bed and sat on the floor to further express her discontentment. I stayed calm and told her that if she wanted to sleep on the floor, I wasn’t going to stop her. I turned on the white noise machine, tucked her little brother in, turned off the light and left. Not surprisingly, when I came back in to tuck her older brother in twenty minutes later she was in her bed and under her blankets. She even consented to receiving her good night kiss and pulled me in for a big hug.

Being a parent is a hard and sometimes thankless job. But those hugs, they help fade out the stress and frustration that comes with the job on hard days.

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