Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sometimes Rage is a Call For Change

For the past couple of nights, bedtime has been more frustrating than it has been in months. Perhaps frustrating is too mild of a word to describe what it has felt like, now that I think of it. I have actually been feeling enraged. Yes, I realize that enraged is a strong word, but it is an accurate description of what I have been feeling lately.

The two hours in between dinner time and the time that the boys actually fall asleep have somehow morphed into three hours. It's not the length of the time that is getting to me, although it is a contributing factor because my "me time" does not happen until the kids are asleep. The issue has been more about what goes on during those three hours. At our house, we call the time in between dinner and bed time "quiet time". During "quiet time", we do relaxing, quiet things that get everybody ready for bed. Things like brushing teeth, putting on fresh diapers and pajamas, and cuddling up to read some books or watch a movie. Normally, I love "quiet time" because it give me a chance to be close with my little guys, who are usually running at full tilt all day long and far too busy to bestow many hugs upon their mommma.

Lately, "quiet time" has not been very quiet, nor has it been relaxing. There has been much running around and around the living room, D asking me for one thing after another, after another, wild jumping on the bed, and all kinds of other activities that just scream "We're fighting off sleep with everything we've got". Parents everywhere dread bedtimes like this, and I'm no different. My response to all of these shenanigans has been to get more and more and more irritated as the time passes. By the time that they finally get to sleep, I feel wiped out because getting them to sleep has been a battle of epic proportions.

This evening as I served dinner, I had an idea that was inspired by a discussion that I had with a friend yesterday. We had been discussing how rage is often a signal that something needs changing. Cue light bulb illuminating over my head, complete with a "ding" sound effect. I decided that instead of playing another round of Angry Momma vs Cheeky Monkey D and Cheeky Monkey B during "quiet time", I would do something different. I decided that this evening, "quiet time" would take place outdoors. Not only that, but I decided that we would go for a nice, hour - long walk.

The result of my little experiment was that the boys still got to bed about two and a half hours after dinner instead of two. That is not the important part, though. The important part is that during those two and a half hours of "quiet time", I did not yell, nor did I get snippy or snappy. I was not even frustrated, not even for a minute. I was happy. The boys were happy. We walked, we talked, and D even sang to me. B fell asleep in the stroller about halfway through our walk, which was about when D decided to stop walking and climb into his seat to ride the rest of the way. We saw trees, cows, neighbors, and the evening sky.

Once we got home, D climbed right into bed without any argument. As I carefully lifted B out of the stroller, he woke up and fussed a little. Fortunately, as I snuggled next to him in bed, he fell asleep easily. I cuddled with D for a few minutes, and he also fell asleep. It was the best "quiet time" that we have had for quite some time. I have not checked the weather forecast for tomorrow evening yet, but I predict another walk after dinner unless there is a thunderstorm or a downpour.

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