Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Conquering the morning & bedtime routine

Towards the end of a fun, impromptu play date at Clara’s house, I start the 10 minute count down, as I always do.
Me: Lila, we have to start wrapping up to go home.”
Lila (not looking away from the TV): Why?
Me: Because it’s a school night and we have to get back to our routine.
Lila: What routine?
I smack my own forehead, speechless.
Ah, yes. The bedtime and morning routine— the two-headed monster I’ve been battling day after day, night after night. Apparently, he’s an imaginary monster whom only I can see… and feel… and agonize over. This is my own personal battle. When my sweet, well-meaning husband tries intervening with a “perhaps I could offer a different approach” I wield my sword toward him—“NEVER!!!”  I shall conquer this monster with my mighty mommy powers!!
Uh huh. Yeah. I have no idea what I am doing.

First, it was the night time routine.  Somehow I was stuck in the routine of staying in the bed with Lila until she goes asleep. This results in me falling asleep in her bed and then waking up in the middle of the night to stumble back into my bed to my now sleeping husband. Needless to say, I have little to no downtime for myself or the hubby. (Not healthy.) My attempts to wean Lila off of having me in the bed have been met with tears and pure manipulation
Lila: Mommy, why don’t you want to be with me???

(How in the world do I answer that question?)
Me: Of course, I want to be with you but…

And, I’m back in the bed staring at the glow-in-the-dark stars on Lila’s bedroom ceiling. Lila’s fast asleep with a subtle grin. (You have won this battle, but the war has just begun, my sweet.)
Out of desperation, despite my husband’s silent protest, I brought up my dilemma at a parents' meeting at school. My story conjured up lots of emotion with the other parents. (Phew! I was not alone.)  I was given loads of advice, empathy, and well wishes. That night I faced the monster (aka the bedtime routine) with a renewed confidence.
Me: Lila, we had a talk at your school and they said you are too big now to have your mommy sleeping in the bed with you. So, starting tonight, after story, I am going to say good night and leave.
Silence... The jig was up. I have not slept in Lila’s room since.
That was seriously too easy. After all of those nights, that was it. Success! But it was not a total victory.
The morning routine was still rearing its ugly head.
At school in the morning Lila is expected to do 3 things:

1)      Put her folder in the homework basket.

2)      Place her “book buddy” folder on the shelf.

3)      Hang her jacket and back pack in the locker.
Classroom rule- Parents are not to intervene. Parents cannot do these things for their child. It’s all about building independence and responsibility and blah blah blah, I know, I know. I get it. It is just sooooooo frustrating when on "day 34" of the school year, kids are coming in and out, doing the routine 1-2-3, and your little one is in La La Land! Jacket on the floor… folder falling out of the back pack… 10 minutes later, still in the classroom… And I can’t help but wonder, “what am I doing wrong?!?!”
My husband’s interpretation is that I "baby her too much" and I need to "just drop her off and leave." Maybe there’s some truth to that (whatever), but I just can’t handle leaving with the image in my mind of Lila and her stuff all over the place. “She needs me” I convince myself. "She can't do this alone." I lose sleep thinking about it (making the newly accomplished night time routine a mute point—I’m not sleeping anyways)!
But, this morning in the shower it came to me! To the melody of Oh My Darling, Clementine
"Homework basket, homework basket, homework basket, book buddy.

Hang your back pack and your jacket,

and then you’re ready!"

I came running down the stairs, dripping wet with my towel, where Lila was eating breakfast and watching TV. I proudly sang my tune. Lila smirked and amazingly, it worked! This was the very first morning that Lila successfully completed her routine without assistance.
The song was brilliant!
Lila: Mom, please DO NOT sing that song in my classroom!

Me: I won't unless you need me too, Sweetie.

Hey, whatever works... {Insert evil laugh here.} Mommy wins!


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