So I have mentioned before how the girls tend to switch to Silly Mode at bedtime, which can lead to a frustrating bedtime routine for all involved. I don't mind a bit of silliness but when wrestling and running around are involved, it needs to end because someone is going to get hurt. I know that I now sound like my mother but I really do not want a repeat of Anna's head wound, which involved her receiving staples (and that was from a trip when no one else was around.)
It is frustrating for me because I arrive home from work and I want to see my kids. I want to spend some pleasant time with them, not constantly remind them to stop doing this or that.
Yesterday was a bit of a long, tiring day. Anna had her follow-up urology appointment (I'll talk about that soon) and it took us two hours, door to door, to get there. It took us almost an hour and a half earlier in the week to arrive at her procedure. This is somewhat the norm around here in terms of traffic. Yes, we have access to some of the best hospitals in the country but the commute is terrible. So after Anna's appointment, I walked the 20 minutes to my office and began a day of work, which was a bit stressful. It has been one of those weeks.
I arrived home later than usual but before Rich. The girls were clearly exhausted and needed baths. Allie went upstairs with Grammy to get started while I finished cathing Anna. Emily was mad because Grammy had stopped reading to them in order to begin the bedtime routine. Allie decided to hide in her room (this is a new fun thing for them as of late) instead of brushing her teeth, which set off Grammy.
Now my position on this (as of late) has been to ignore the bad behavior. One night Allie was goofing off and hiding behind a curtain instead getting into her pajamas. I told Anna and Emily to climb into Anna's bed for stories. Em said, "But we can't do stories yet. Where's Allie?" I replied with, "I guess Allie doesn't want to do stories tonight." Well, within seconds Allie was in her pajamas and calling out, "Wait for me. I want to do stories. I want to do stories."
Just as children feed off of each other, adults do to. Grammy was not happy with Allie and was struggling with her. So there are three tired children, two stressed out adults and a lot of yelling and "do this" and "do that" and then the inevitable happened. Someone got hurt. It was a minor injury really but it shut down the party pretty quickly.
Something (the corner bottom edge of the bedroom door perhaps) caught and dug into the side of Em's foot. There was no blood but the skin was scraped and a bruise had started to form. And to continue to sound like my mother, I said, "I told you that someone was going to get hurt. This is why we cannot act this way at night," many, many times. To be honest, Allie was the main troublemaker.
So I finally managed to contain the three of them on Em's bed for the nightly reading of stories. As we were getting into position, Allie said, "I think I need to go get something." I told her that we didn't have time for anymore nonsense and that I was going to start reading. I could see her thinking about it for a few seconds and then she scooted off the bed saying, "I need to go get something." I started reading amid Anna's protests that I couldn't begin without Allie.
Allie returned with her own Minnie Mouse plushy and handed it to an injured Emily. Even though Emily has her own Minnie Mouse plushy, she accepted Allie's and cuddled it the entire time I read. When story time had ended, Em handed Minnie back to Allie and said, "I don't need her anymore."
(I should explain. The girls have this thing that when one of them gets hurt, they go get one of their own stuffed animals/plushies and give it to the injured sister for comfort. Even if the injured sister has the same stuffed animal/plushy. I don't know how they came up with it either. It's unwritten, unspoken. Maybe an "identical" thing.)
With that act of sincere kindness, I felt like crud. Gah, I don't want to be the parent who yells and struggles with her kids. I want to be the parent who works with her kids. My kids are four years old. Yes, old enough to understand what is naughty but honestly, I really don't expect them to be angelic 100% of the time. That's not realistic. And I try to ignore Allie when she acts up because I feel like it is partly a way of gaining negative attention. Throw a tired kid in there and it can be an absolute mess.
Tonight was a night of working together. Emily flipped out when she found out that she wasn't getting a bath tonight. Seemed a bit odd to me so I took her aside and asked her calmly why she wanted to take a bath. Turns out she just wanted to play with an Ariel doll in the tub so we filled a little bowl with water and put that in the tube for Ariel and Em was fine.