Pictures can be so deceiving. Like these, they show a slice of life…most notably, after Potamus has fallen asleep. While he’s never been a good sleeper, per se, the tantruming at bedtime the past few nights has really thrown us for a loop, and I’m not really sure what to make of it.
My gut says that he is a) testing boundaries and b) in need of help transitioning from fun to sleep. Because the first night we noticed it was when grammy and grampy were over, and we noticed him getting tired, so we whisked him off to bed. Arms outrstreched SCREAMING for my parents was heartbreaking, but he was sleepy and needed to sleep. 1.5 hours later, Boof and I exited his room, feeling exhausted and like we had “been to war” (his words, not mine). I realized that we hadn’t given him enough time to transition between the two activities, but hot dang that was like wrestling a smallish alligator.
So, we’ve only just begun really sticking to the bedtime routine of early bed after bath, stories, and nursing. I think the fact that it’s light outside doesn’t help and the fact that he’s nursing but not getting to the milk-drunk state anymore, so he pops off the boob and wants to play. We’re being firm in the rule that he can play on his bed, quietly, but can’t roam the room getting into the diaper genie or throwing blocks. If he doesn’t stay on the bed he can bounce on the exercise ball with Boof. Potamus is NOT HAPPY about this arrangment.
And this is where I begin to wonder what to do…there are frustration tantrums, where he gets upset when I take a toy away or we leave my parents suddenly, and then there are these moments where I see so much of my own teenage stubborness in him. He was screaming and flailing all around the bed, and then he lulled us into a sense of security, and then BAM, he tried to launch himself over my arm and off the bed to play. It appeared calculated, and Monday-Morning-Quarterbacking, is actually pretty funny. But last night? Last night I was slightly pissed at, what appeared, to be manipulation.
Reminds me of the time that my dad was wrestling me to the ground because I was smashing mugs on our hardwood floor (I was probably 17), and he pinned me and I let myself fall limp for a minute to get him to buy my surrender before I began fighting again. It’s a good strategy in theory, but in both cases, it didnt’ work. After only an hour, Potamus was asleep, but it has left me with a knot in my stomach about what’s to come.
Boof says most parents struggle with bedtime routine, and I want to know from you all…is that true? Do all parents struggle with bedtime?
And I know that Potamus isn’t being manipulative in a Ted Bundy sort of way, because I have some grasp of brain development, but it’s the same thing with our dog…it appears that X + Y behavior = manipulation. It appeared that he stopped tantruming, thought about what he wanted, and then launched for it. I don’t know what to do, I think setting boundaries is important, and a lot of attachment-style parenting is preventing meltdowns by avoiding the stimuli, but what to do?