Saturday, April 2, 2011

And the bed time issue

First of all, thank you, friends, for all of the advice.  I love blogging for this very reason, conversation among moms, via the Internet.

I am such a verbal processor (with those that I know well), and it helps me so much to be able to get it all out, thinking it through as I say it (and/or type it), and then continuing to think it through as I get feedback.  I am loving the smoothie idea and the putting fruit in his sandwich idea.  If he sees bread, he wants it, no matter what it is, so I think if I hide the fruit in the bread, he will be good to go.  And, by the way, add cheese pizza to his list of favorite foods.  As you know, our family is on a tight budget--have I mentioned that, ha:)--but I like to take one weekend night off from cooking.  Pizza tends to be our cheapest "eat-out" option as a family.  Well tonight we decided to try a local pizza place that we had never tried before, where we could order by the slice.  It was near Publix, where we were headed, and we just spur of the moment decided to give it a go.  And that is where John ate almost an entire piece of cheese pizza.  A large piece.  I had a piece of pizza, mine with toppings, but I didn't even eat my entire piece because the slices were very large.  It was crazy the amount that John was able to eat.  Ada opted for the "side" of spaghetti instead of pizza.  She also enjoyed her meal.  So, the restaurant was a hit. 

 Yes, Ada did feel the need to use both a fork and a spoon.  Who knows why.  That was the side of spaghetti by the way, and it was a very large portion.  I can only imagine the size of the actual meal.

And the best picture I could get of John-John and his pizza. 

So, anyway, our bedtime situation...

every single night Ada comes up with a reason why I need to lie down with her until she falls asleep.  Every. single. night.  Her eyes itch; her nose is running; she heard a noise; there was a light outside; etc. etc. etc.  When I tell her no, it turns into an all out, kicking, screaming, pitching a fit, battle.  And that's from both of us.  If you want to see me at my absolute worst as a mother, find me at bedtime.  By 8:00 at night, I am done, ready to clock out, and if Ada decides that she is not done with the day, my flesh flares up and begins to demand my "right" of time to myself at night.  It's not pretty.  In fact, I have done away with spanking at bed time because I don't believe in spanking in a fit of anger, and when Ada won't go to bed, I am always in a fit of anger.  So, last night, I was over it.  I went downstairs, Ada screaming, Scott trying to deal with the situation, and my not trusting my response if I didn't remove myself from the room.  So, there I sat on the couch, hearing Ada crying for me, and I just began to pray.  I am out of ideas.  We have tried every punishment under the sun, and none of it helps.  As I was praying, I was reminded of the potty training situation, and how much I was at the end of myself with that.  God absolutely showed up in the potty training and got it done.  I really felt like God was telling me that I had to give up the fight.  Continue with the consequences of disobeying at bedtime but give up the fight.  So...I went back upstairs, got in the bed with Ada, who was hysterically crying at that point, and I just began to talk to her.  I told her that we had a problem, that we were both dealing with yucky hearts, and that I didn't know what to do other than pray.  I reminded her of the potty training situation, and she absolutely can tell you who took her fear away.  She knows it was God.  I told her we will pray every morning and night until God helps us with the bed time situation (though she will continue to deal with consequences if I have to lie down with her).  So, finally she fell asleep with me beside her in the bed. 

Tonight, before baths, before we were in the midst of the situation, Ada and I sat on the couch and prayed.  She didn't want to, but I made her repeat after me, and then I prayed, and we proceeded with our normal routine.  So...tonight she fell asleep while Scott and I were doing our nightly prayer.  Answered prayer that I didn't have to lie down with her, yes, but it doesn't solve our problem of her being willing to go to bed without me in there with her.  So...that is our bed time situation.  I am out of ideas, so I am simply praying about it and praying that God is going to use this to sanctify me and perhaps draw Ada to himself.

Ada is so full of fears.  Two nights ago, as we were tucking her in and getting ready to pray, I asked her if there was anything she wanted me to pray for.  She said yes, "that I won't fall off the bed (she fell off a few weeks ago) and for the tigers."  I said, "Okay, like that God will keep you safe from the tigers?"  "Yes," she said very matter-of-factly.  I replied," well, I really don't think you will be near any tigers, ever, so you really, really don't have to be scared of that."  She was not convinced, and in fact, she went on to ask me to "pray about the dragons and the giants," and there was no convincing her that she need not be afraid of these things.  Which, in the conversation it dawned on me that what we need to teach her is that God is bigger than her fears not just the things she is afraid of, and that is how we approached the tigers, dragons, and giants prayer--that God would free her from those fears and help her to feel safe.  I am hoping that maybe this whole bed time situation, like the potty training, will teach her much about God and how in control he is of all of her fears.  He is so much bigger than all of those things.  And, in reality, much of what I am afraid of is just as ridiculous as tigers and dragons and giants.  I mean, "we can confidently say, 'the Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6)

So that is where we are...very, very, very dependent on God to work this thing out.  And, of course, open to suggestions.  I feel like I have tried everything, but maybe not.  Maybe you have something I haven't tried yet that will be just the thing to snap us out of this "situation."


Kate Rhodes said...

I remember being so afraid of dinosaurs, tigers, and lions. I would lie in bed and seriously be afraid that they would some how come alive or come into our neighborhood. But, that might not be encouraging since I am such a huge worrier. Praying for you.

Esther Bratton said...

I am always so amazed by your wisdom and strength as a mother. I think I just need to read this post every week! And I SO feel you on night time struggles. I don't know how you did the night time feedings with John for so long. I was going nuts....from lack of sleep and lack of personal time. And for me night time is terrible; all self-control is used up :) praying things will get better for both of you.

And I feel I can be SO much like Ada; I often let fear suck joy from my life when I should be resting in confident assurance of who Christ is.

Amanda said...

Well I slept with the ceiling light on until I was probably 10, ha. So I may not have any ideas for you. But, it sounds like you and Scott are being excellent parents in this situation. I must confess that my first thought wouldn't be to pray through all these fears but your are right on turning it over to the Lord! Can't wait to see how He shows up in your lives this time! I"m always so encouraged by your mothering blogs. You are one of the BEST out there!!!

Laura Forman said...

Girl...can we possibly be living mirrored lives? I mean, seriously?? I am having the SAME problems with Sadie. By the time the bed time routine would be finished, I would be furious with Sadie, oh it was awful! Finally I have just been firm with her, doing the same thing each night and then leave her in her room screaming. Each night she got less and less. If she got out of her bed and started banging on the door (which she does almost each night) I will go in and spank her and put her back down. Sadie is a year younger than Ada, so I haven't really been able to talk through it fully with her. But she is also scared of lions...we talk about it but I honestly think she is just testing me. If Clark puts her down she doesn't do it, if Mom puts here down she doesn't do it. It's only me..and you wanna know how frustrated that makes me?? :) Anyway...will continue to pray for you! By the way, had an all out battle with Jack over eating chicken strips last night but yet today he ate 3 chicken nuggets...go figure! :) Praying for you so much friend!

Ashley Turnbull said...

Hey girl!

Man, I emailed my mom the other day and told her that "this parenting thing is just not easy!" Ha!

I think we all have toddlers that struggle (at some point) w/ bedtime. It's just their nature NOT to want to do that. They are having so much fun playing and being with everyone - just hard to tone it down and fall asleep. Definitely work to avoid overstimulation in the evening hours, if you don't do that already.

That said, you must remember, you are her mother and you know that it is BEST for her to get sleep. By herself. Without you lying down with her. You know best. With that confidence, you follow a consistent routine before bedtime, love her, ease her anxieties best you can and leave the room. I agree w/ Laura that you can leave her screaming. Wait 15 min. Go in and reassure. Wait another 15. Reassure. Etc. Etc. I bet you that as the nights go on, that time will shrink. This is a model that we are following these days, and often, the screaming only lasts 5 minutes. Or 2. Or 1. Or, she just rolls over and falls asleep. My doctor said that 15 min is a reasonable time to allow her to scream.

I'm no expert, I just continue to love on Kate and do the best that I can. I know you are doing the same. You are so committed to prayer - very impressed! Cannot say I always think to pray first.

Continue to pray for that little girl and for the Lord to take away her fears.
And YOURS. Be CONFIDENT in HIM. In the one who has entrusted you w/ Ada.
YOU are the only one who can parent her.
The Lord provides strength for this parenting role He has placed you in.

Keep blogging! It's therapeutic!!!