Have you ever felt like the number one candidate for the Bad Parent of the Year award? I had a day like that yesterday. My little five-year-old Scout and I both hate getting out of our nice warm beds. She could sleep past noon any day of the week and be perfectly fine with it. Usually this doesn't bother me that much, but sometimes...
So yesterday at about nine I called her down for breakfast. Preschool starts at ten and I wanted her to shower first. After the third call, I stomped my way up the stairs, turned on the water, and headed for the bed. I picked her up, stripped her down, and set her in the shower. She was NOT happy! After ten minutes of voicing her complaints rather loudly, I turned off the water and wrapped her in a towel. After telling her to get dressed, I headed back downstairs to find her coat and backpack. (I don’t know how her backpack gets lost every day.)
Fifteen minutes and plenty of reminders later, I finally got her downstairs. With Baby Doll not feeling well I was definitely more annoyed then usual so I continued to lecture her as I pulled on her clothes and boots. She sniffled and sobbed while I combed her hair. When her carpool arrived the tears were still flowing. Instead of running out on her own, I had to walk her to the car. The whole time I complained about how the baby was getting cold and she didn’t care. I must confess I breathed a sigh of relief when she was finally strapped in and on her way.
After school neither of us were much happier. She showed me her preschool work and I cussed her for not giving her tuition check to the teacher. She complained about lunch and I got after her for not doing her job. She offered to hold the baby, but Baby Doll was almost as ornery as me so I refused. "You don’t need me!" she stormed at me. "You don’t even love me!" That one hurt. "Of course I need you…I need you to do your job!" This was not coming out right. "I’m just trying to teach you to be responsible and do the right thing!" Oh, the bad mom points were stacking up now. Why didn’t I just put my arms around her and tell her I loved her? At that moment I was just as stubborn as she was.
Later that night, things hadn’t gotten much better. The baby still had a tummy ache and I was out of patience. It was 12:30 and everyone was in bed, including me when she came into my room. "I’m scared and I want to sleep with you," she said. "You can’t sleep with me, you can sleep in the little racecar bed," I replied. So she climbed into the toddler bed we keep next to the crib for scared or sick little ones.
Thirty seconds later she asked, "Is the door locked?" I assured her it was. "Can robbers and kidnappers get in?" she questioned. I reassured her again. She climbed out of bed. "I want to sleep in your bed," she said. "No!" I was definitely not giving in on this point. "You can sleep on the bench," I said firmly. (We have a padded bench at the foot of our bed about three feet closer than the toddler bed. She could reach out and touch my foot if she got scared.) "I want to sleep in your bed!" she insisted. "You can sleep on the floor by the side of my bed," I suggested. "No!" she wailed. This exchange went on for about 15 minutes. The more she whined, the more stubborn I became.
She finally made her way back to her room and climbed in bed with Crafty. I was riddled with guilt and regret. Was I just being mean? The day had not gone well. It took me about two minutes to crawl back out of bed, find my bifocals, and head down the hall. I tripped over the dolls and toys strewn on the floor; she still hadn’t done her job. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be asleep. I smoothed the hair back on that sweet little forehead. She didn’t look so stubborn now. I leaned in for a kiss and her eyes flickered open. "I love you, Honey," I whispered. "Goodnight." She sighed and rolled over. Maybe now we could both sleep.