25.4.11

There will be no songs

Sometimes you are the reason your child is crying herself to sleep with loud and desperate sobbing. Sometimes instead of being the one to comfort and sooth her you give her 5 minutes to wail before ordering her to be quiet now so her siblings can fall asleep. Then you hear the quieter muffled sounds of the sister sharing her bed crying too.

You sit in the other room, listening to every sound of grief, and woe, and you do not take it lightly, but you won't go in again. Instead you find a tangled string from a kite lying about and you start in the middle, trying to work your way out, to make sense of the knots and put it right again.

So tired of coming into sing at bedtime, only to find the room torn apart and clothes still on the floor you told them, tonight after dinner, "If I come in to sing and your room isn't ready for sleeping, with everything put away and the floor picked up, we'll spend the singing time cleaning up instead and then you will go to bed without songs."

Surely they will clean up quickly now. Surely they will choose to pick up.

But when you go into their room, after wiping the baby clean and getting him out of his high chair, she is looking at a book, and she is setting up a diorama and they are both standing on the clothes you told them to pick up.

There will be no songs.

For perhaps the 5th time in her entire life there will be no bedtime songs. And you can't take it back now. Or rather, you won't, because you are convinced that it's better for her to learn that her choices have difficult consequences from you, at bedtime, rather than the hard way with things, and people, and results so much more permanent than bedtime songs.

But, as convinced as you are that there is long term good to denying her what she wants now, when her choices said otherwise, it doesn't stop you from sitting where you can hear every cry and working away at a difficult tangle.

Because that's what mama's do.

10 comments:

  1. YOU are like chicken soup for my mommy soul. I don't stop by your blog very often (I don't stop by anyone's blog very often), but when I do I never regret having taken the time to do so. Love this post... love you.

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  2. I can relate.
    http://furlinedtoiletseats.blogspot.com/2011/01/mean-momma.html
    This is what I wrote after my son called me a "mean momma."

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  3. Breaks your heart but you're a good mom. Great post.

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  4. We all recognize your pain! Hugs.

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  5. My children feel each other's pain in the same way. It's heart-breaking, but I know that - for us - choosing to do our own brand of sleep-training and "putting my foot down," has resulted in better sleep for all of us.

    Of course, we still get nights when dreams about dragons and scary witches bring small bodies into our bed. But overall, the pain of denying them the two-hour bedtime routine has made us all healthier.

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  6. Oh, the torture of being the boss. I tell you, I don't like it one bit...it's too hard. It's right, for now, but it's hard.

    I hope the untangling helped you cope :)

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  7. It's the hardest thing to do....hear a child cry and to let her cry because it isn't the time to go to her...because there is a lesson to be learned, even if your heart is breaking listening to the tears.

    I can totally relate to this!

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  8. It's so painful being a good mum sometimes isn't it? Luckily we have each other.

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  9. Oh...this is so hard, but SO good. You're a good mama.

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  10. Oh...this is so hard, but SO good. You're a good mama.

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