Friday, October 29, 2010

family: ...hello darkness my old friend....

It's been quiet around here, I know.

I haven't left town, and don't really have any excuse beyond the usual demands of life, family, work. And the fact that it's been hard to see the humor in parenting lately.

It's not that things have been miserable. They haven't. The short of it is that we're well, though busy, and have had some nice days with reasonably well behaved offspring.

Lookin' for Trouble?

That peacefulness ended last night when K had a true meltdown about how the pillows on her bed were sitting. And by "true meltdown" I mean the sort of screaming fit that can be heard across the street through 2 pairs of closed windows. And if I can't write a post full of humor and acknowledging the ridiculousness of life, why not write one describing behavior that will embarrass and appall K in a few years?

The bummer is that this happened before I managed to write a post about how things were better and that by giving K some direct, one-on-one attention we seemed to have found the key to disarming her. I still think it's a key element, but last night she was tired and when she gets tired, she gets hard to manage.

Going to bed, she wanted her pillows "higher," where higher = about 2 feet above the mattress on her bed. Meaning, somehow floating above the bed in a way that would render them entirely unusable. Which, without grabbing a hammer and pounding a very large nail directly through her pillows and into the wall, was a physical impossibility. That didn't seem to matter.

"I can't sleep in this bed like this!!!"

The pillows were arranged exactly as they had been for the last 5 months, which means that they're on-edge in a way that makes my neck hurt just looking at them. And she's been going to bed sitting upright against those pillows (and frequently at night, calling out to us in a semi-coherent panic when one falls over onto her head).

So, while not my ideal arrangement, the set up we had last night was identical to the set up on every other night in the last 12 weeks (at least).

"I need the pillows up here!!!" I considered getting a hammer and nail, but luckily decided this wasn't going to help us get through the immediate crisis. "I can't sleep in this bed!!"

L offered her crib. Which didn't seem to me like a good idea. But it was impressive. I'm not clear whether she was thinking "swap" or "co-sleeping." In either case, the offer was turned down with loud screaming.

Obviously this wasn't about the pillows. But I couldn't figure out what it was about. I did a reasonably good job at keeping calm and tried to find out what K wanted/needed. The only thing I could get out of her was that she needed the pillows up higher, at window level. And that wasn't a viable alternative.

I offered her the option of laying her sleeping bag down on the floor beside her bed. That wasn't acceptable. And unfortunately, at this point L, who had been down and snuggling into her covers, got up and started to climb out of her crib. She wanted in on the fun.

So, with both girls nowhere close to being asleep, and me no nearer bed myself, I told them they could lie on the couch. (M had done this the previous night and somehow it had worked out.) I had serious doubts, but didn't have any other alternatives, so marched them down and tucked them in on the couch and went to the kitchen where I started to clean.

L whispered loudly and I went back to the living room. She wanted a light on. I said no and went back to my dishes. L whispered loudly and I ignored her for a bit, then went into the living room. She wanted covers on her (covers she'd kicked off). I covered her up and said I wasn't going to come back out. Then I went back to the sink. L whispered loudly, and when I ignored her, started calling out. K was pushing her, K kicking her, K bothering her....

I went out and told them I wasn't going to come out again, tucked them in, and went back to the dishes. I washed with gritted teeth while out in the living room things quickly degraded. There were whispered discussions, accusations and recriminations, volume growing louder until L was crying and K was telling her she did not like her. I left them to it and finished up the dishes, then went to the living room.

L said she needed a nose wipe. I wiped her nose. She said K was pulling her hair. K said L was kicking her. I told them I was going up to bed. They both said they were ready to go too. I marched them upstairs, all the while K saying she was never going to speak to L again, and L shoving K who was walking ahead of us. They both crawled into bed and I tucked covers around them and retreated to my own room without another word.

A few minutes later I realized I didn't want to leave it like this, so I went back out and kissed K and told her I loved her. I think she was already asleep. I kissed L. She seemed out too. I went back into my room and brushed my teeth and crawled into bed.

Nobody came in to kiss me good night. (Disclaimer: M was at class. I sure she would have put me to bed nicely if she'd been there.)

No comments: