5.20.2010

I'll Sleep When I Die

Getting my children to bed ranks high on my list of healthy habits for my children. So much so, that it had become a problem when I was in charge of the bedtime routine. I would fight hard to get them to bed and they would fight harder to stay up. The yelling, whining, bedtime snacks and drinks was beginning to reach the point of future psychological damage. Finally, when my husband began to work the day shift, I relinquished my bed time rant to him. I bit my lip while he indulged the girls' every whim and the time passed by silently. With every glance to that silent circle on the wall, my teeth made a deeper dent into my lip.
~
Then Grasshopper's dance teacher noticed.
~
Grasshopper completed her spring ballet recital last weekend. On the Thursday before the recital there was a rehearsal. Afterward, I walked in to gather up Grasshopper and her very eccentric ballet teacher was standing there in a green velour suit, her typical gray hair flying. I asked her how the rehearsal had gone and she said it went very well followed by these words: Grasshopper is tired. I immediately burst into tears. She asked me why I was crying and all I could say is that I know Grasshopper is tired. So is Little Bear. We can't seem to get them to bed at a decent hour. I felt like such a failure as a parent.
~
I know I am not the only parent who struggles with getting the kids to bed. I think it may have something to do with the inability to realize the consequences of lack of sleep in the future. All the little darlings can think of is what they are missing in the present. As adults we are able to imagine the next day. We can remember dragging our bodies around, eyes half open and gasping for a cup of coffee.
~
Just as our children fight sleep because of their lack of experience and imagination, we fight death. We fill our lives with noise, parties, play dates and just plain business to keep ourselves from imagining what will happen when we die. We do all we can to be healthy, eat right, and exercise in order to prolong the inevitable. My husband, an RN, has met more than one, very sick, over eighty-year-old who does not realize that he or she is going to die. It is strange. These poor people have not thought about death and it comes to them as a surprise. Often, people like this will make very drastic health care decisions to extend their lives even just a couple months.
~
It seems to me that in order to find some sort of balance in our lives now, we must keep in mind our own death. It can not be avoided, so why fight it? I can't say I look forward to dying, but I do think about it at times and am at peace with it. Belief in an afterlife is definitely a consolation when I slow myself down to imagine my own death. I am trying not to frantically cling to this life and instead, slowly and steadily, make my way to heaven.
~
If only there were some way to keep my children from frantically clinging to each day!

2 comments:

  1. YardleymommaMay 23, 2010

    I so agree with you and that is our summer task, kids to bed on time without whining! Sami has been off her bedtime since she had swine flu/hospital visits in October. I'm exhausted and they are exhausted. Still do not know how we are going to go about the bed times, I've been watching supernanny but thy will be done!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Some kids are harder than others, but I think the best you can do is to make it dark (black out curtains are awesome), and keep bedtime the same as possible. Brandon has always been awful if a big change has happened, like moving, so maybe the new baby has thrown them for a loop. If they share a room, I've put one on the floor in the hall so the other can sleep. That's worked wonderfully. I have two kid bedrooms and five kids, so we've done a lot of things. Another was when I made someone switch. Brandon had to switch with Grace, so Gabe could sleep. He missed his own bed a lot, but I wouldn't let him have it back for at least three days. It totally worked. I do have to revisit it. I also like having five things to do before bed, and that's it. I have been known to say no to drinks, even potty, when I know they are just pushing my buttons (and they almost always are). I also bought a child gate for each bedroom for esp. hard nights. Sometimes I even put one above the other on the same door frame, close together. Just some ideas from a large family in a small space. :) If you try my ideas, they will be mad, but they will get over it and feel better ultimately. And then I will buy you the "meanest mom in the world" t shirt. I need one.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it!