Bedtime struggles are not fun. The last thing you want to do is to wake up your toddler when he’s fast asleep. Well, this is where the battle starts for the both of us. I have to tell you the background on this. Ever since potty training started, the boy refuses to get dressed and always just wants to go naked in the apartment. Fine! I mostly let him get on with it until bed time. No pajamas during bedtime is just a no-go for me.
Being a new mom, I’m on the tantrum avoiding route currently. It’s not worth it before bedtime to disturb otherwise peaceful bedtime routine. So, I wait until he’s asleep finally, then tip toe in to put on his pajamas. Freshly drifting off to sleep, the boy is less likely to budge. It’s true, most of the time he’s asleep when I do this. It goes without a hitch. There’s not been a tantrum over this for a while now.
However, this night is just different. It took ages to put him to bed. I gave him 3 bottles of water, waited patiently patting his back while he hurled himself on me over and over again to try to get in position next to my stomach to fall asleep. This took a whole 2 hours. Each time, he would get up and want to open the door when he couldn’t fall asleep. We would go back out, play a little and then try again with a new bottle of water. The final try looked like this: I left him to drink his bottle and came out to make myself a cup of coffee. It’s dark and silent in the bedroom. I left the door open slightly so I can hear him. I sit at my desk to browse the web while I wait for him to fall asleep. 15 minutes later, it’s quiet. I look in and he’s asleep with his bottle empty in his mouth. Great, I thought! I go and grab his PJs and a diaper. Excitedly, I tiptoe in. The boy has two pillows on top of him, one for his torso and one for his legs. I guess he’s cold after-all.
I remove the pillows gently to unearth him. I put on his diaper as quietly as I can. Then, I start to pull the PJs over him. This was met with the loudest “No” I have yet to encounter. He turns sideways, whining a little. Oh no, just when I think he’s going to wake up. He finds his pillow, grabs it back and covers himself
So, this is what it comes down to. I have lost the battle.
My son slept the night away in his nakedness under two layers of pillows. My whole night was spent trying to take the pillows away and covering him with a blanket to no avail. Each time, he struggled out of the blanket, and slept in his nakedness so I had to put the pillows back on top of his torso.
After this episode, needless to say, I have learned a huge lesson as a new mom.
I welcome tantrums like this with open arms.
The next night, I braved his tantrum with new found glory. As I pulled his PJ over the top of his head way before bed time. He cried, shouted, rolled on the floor protesting. I looked at him lovingly and walked over to the kitchen to make myself a coffee.
As I drank my coffee and waited for him to finish his tantrum, I mentally threw my “conflict avoiding” self out the window.
When he was done with his tantrum, we went on with our bedtime routine without a hitch. In the end, he was even extra loving as a way of saying “sorry” for his defiance.
In bed later, I explained to him that his PJs kept his body warm that’s why we have to keep them on. He seemed to have understood finally.
For the next few nights, he asked for his PJs before bed. Since then, I have taken to brave several more of his tantrums on other occasions over other battles that we have. His tantrums are not for the faint of heart. But, they have definitely taught me their place in parenting.
They are great opportunities for talking, creating connection and solving problems in our relationship.
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