Ending Battles at Bedtime
This past fall and winter were hard for me and the Bean. Beanie hit a new stage where she was busy all of the time, and it seemed like we were just not connecting. For example, when I tried to get her attention to ask her to please pick up those dirty socks and put them in the hamper instead of throwing them on the floor, she was too busy to listen. Instead, she was dashing out the door to grab the stroller and take our dog for a walk. Repeating myself over and over again all day was tiring at best. My fuse got short on a daily basis, it seemed.
I would yell.
She would yell.
We would both cry.
It was not the most joy we’ve ever had in our relationship.
And then, the craziest thing happened. I got pregnant again. And I was too darn tired to put up with it – especially at bedtime. One night, struggling to get both children in their pajamas and then get Beanie through going potty and all the other sundry things that go with getting ready for bed, I was too tired and done to go on. I barked at her to get in my bed instead of hers. She looked scared and ran to my bed. I climbed in too, grabbed the book she had picked out and pulled Beanie over to me. Her body was tense and rigid. Her muscles pulled away from me at all points.
She was visibly afraid of my anger.
But then? Then I kissed her hair. She moved closer. I kissed her face. She moved closer. I wrapped my arms around her. She moved closer and snuggled in. Her muscles relaxed. Her fear evaporated, and she melted into my arms. There, there was my girl. There was the person I am used to. There was “us” again. We both breathed deeply and relaxed. We read our book and went to sleep snuggling. It was the best night we’d had in months.
The next day, Beanie was calmer. She was happier. She was less combative. And so was I! She made a point of stopping more during her play to climb into my lap, lean on my knee, or just get a hug. We continued getting into bed together and snuggling to sleep. It is our connection time. It is our physical time. It doesn’t interrupt her play or infringe on her bounciness. And it has made all the difference in the world in our relationship. We both needed that physical connection, though we had both neglected it. And putting aside my anger and giving her the physical love that she needed allowed her to put aside her anger and connect with me again, too.
I truly believe that a lot of the time, that baby bond is lost when kids get older simply because we assume that they no longer need the same amount of physical interaction that they needed as babies. Their bodies, their blooming capability, their burgeoning independence, they all scream, “Don’t touch me!” But that doesn’t mean that they no longer need touch. It means that we need to focus on the times that they are available for it, even if it isn’t the times that we, as adults, expect it.
I am proud to host a guest post today from Kellie. Kellie is a work at home mom to two with another on the way. She blogs about natural living, gentle parenting, and making environmentally sound choices at Mindful Life.
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"Ending Battles at Bedtime"
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