"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Some say patience is a virtue.

OK.  I need some help and a teensy bit of affirmation here.  The past couple of weeks have been fun and rambunctious, with all the festivities and all.  As Philly said to someone last Monday, "I stayed up til twelve the other night."  As an understandable result, sleeping routines and general temperments are challenged.  Extremely challenged.

Every night from 7pm until 6am, I have to lie down with one or the other.  I am scratching backs, giving warm milk, nam-namming, negotiating, hushing, singing, or telling stories.  Once one girl's eyes are just about to close, the other will call out for me.  Raph will try to run to the rescue, and he'll be denied access.  "No!  I want Mommy!"  The almost-sleeping girl will wake up and cry.  The other one will cry, too, waiting for me.

There are other pressures: not sharing, pulling hair, refusing to walk, refusing to bathe, wanting to stay up, throwing cheerios, asking me three consecutive times when I'm doing something else, wailing "Mommy!" as if everything was an emergency.  I am starting to crack.

Yesterday, when Philly was whining about not wanting to take her lunch bag out of the car.  I told her, "I won't pack you a lunch tomorrow if you don't bring it into the kitchen."  When I say things like that, I try to keep my tone noncholant and matter-of-fact.  She started to wail: "Mommmmmyyyy!!!!" The whining continued.  It hurt my ears.  I yelled at her: "PHILLY!"  I followed with some general long grunting, moaning, and some low-level growling.  I needed to let out some steam verbally: "AAAAAAAAARRRRRHHHHHHHH!"  Philly stopped.  She said, "Mommy, you're scaring me."  Being as calm-voiced as I could, I said very, very sternly, "PHILLY.  Bring. your. lunch. bag. into. the. kitchen."  I honestly can't remember if she brought it in or if I did.

Then, last night, Tati had her usual early morning wake-up.  She cried for me, I ran to her, I nursed her.  At some point, I tell her, "No more nam-nam."  She cried so hard!!!  "Mommy PLEASE!"  Her eyes looked at me so big and I felt like I was committing child abuse, but - still - I said, "NO MORE NAM-NAM."  We do this dance for a long while, all the while with her pleading, "Mommy!!!!  Just a li'l bit!  Nam-nam!  PLEASE!"  I think I did the same grunting growl last night.  I was so fed up!!!  I am so fed up.  This morning, Tati said to Raph, "Daddy, is Mama angry?"  Raph tried to explain how we need to sleep like big girls, no more nam-nam, go to bed with no crying.

Today, I feel like a bad, bad mama.  For losing my patience and taking it out on them.  I know I need to give myself a time out.  I know that this, too, shall pass.  Children will be sleeping like saints soon, for 12 hours straight through the night.  Like the old days.  But, what I really want to know, is how can I best say to them, "I'm sorry for losing my temper" but also try to explain myself?

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Oh, boy, do I relate. I can't tell you how many times I've found myself in a similar situation. What I do is wait until I'm calm and then say, "Sweetie, I am so sorry that I was grumpy with you" (or "yelled at you" or whatever). "It's not okay for mama to do that. It's really not. I love you and I don't want to make you feel bad. I'm just very cranky when I don't get enough sleep. Mama needs to get sleep, too, and I need you to help me. Here are what the rules are going to be..." or "Here's how you can help with with that, so I won't be so grumpy with you: (etc.)." Add hugs and kisses, etc. I don't know if this helps, but I can assure you that you're not alone. Don't be too hard on yourself. Lack of sleep is a real bear and can turn the most long-suffering among us into gnarly grouches.

Oh, Olivia, I so feel your pain here. We didn't blow any bedtimes but Andrew has been getting progressively sicker over the last few days and it's affecting all of our sleep at night (coughing NON STOP). The whole lack of sleep thing sort of turns into a downward spiral of moodiness, whininess, and that general sense of chaos, which then affects the sleep even more, and then more moodiness, whininess etc etc etc... I am the worst of us and how can I be so mean to my poor, sick baby! I'm not REALLY mean I just insist that he stop whining and go to sleep. Now. If you whine one more time I'm leaving the room. Then I leave... let him cry a bit... then come back in. That's our dance. I'm rambling on. Suffice it to say that we probably all could use a break. It's tough to get out of the routine (Work/school/weekends) and then try to get back into it. Give your family time, and make time for yourself, I'd say. Oh and lately when I'm at my AAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHH point I've been stopping myself and telling Andrew to take a deep breath... and taking one myself. It shuts him up for a second (usually just long enough to give a funny little huff) and it lets me simmer down a bit before I give him one last chance to communicate like a big boy.

Hi Olivia,
Jackson and I also go through periods just like the one you seem to be going through with your girls. I hate the fact that some days we only have a few hours together and I find that I just can't wait for it to be night time. I'm wondering if the girls are going through a little bit of separation anxiety because, with the holidays, they were able to spend more time together. I've noticed that Jackson has been needing lots of cuddle time after school this week. I have started to put myself in time out...literally. I run into the bathroom and cool down for a bit. I told Jackson that I was going to start to do this because I don't want to yell at him anymore. He hates me leaving him and winds up pounding on the bathroom door; but, it gives me time to take a deep breath. I tell him that I'm putting myself in time out because he's making me really grumpy and I need a bit of space. I don't know if it works for him; but, it does allow me to come out after a few minutes and talk to him without yelling. Usually, me calming down will help us get through the situation. I don't really have any suggestions for night time. The only idea that comes to mind is crying it out. Sounds tough; but, it seems like it is a bit of a game. With Jackson I do the...if you ask me for juice and a hug one more time, I will turn off your star light (the night light) and close the door. With the 2 girls I know it is harder; so, I'm not sure if this is helpful.

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