Parenting. Counting down to bedtime.

toddler, parenting, parenting a toddler, terrible two's, tantrums, mom blog, canadian mom blog

Last night was just one of those nights with my toddler.

The type of night that that makes it hard to be the mom I want to be.

The type of night that leaves me thinking that bedtime can not possibly come fast enough.

We honestly don’t have these nighst often in our house. Lilly has her moments, but we lucked out with a generally chill kid. Unfortunately, just as I paid my dues for having a good sleeper, her overall good behaviour has just left me ill prepared for the evenings that she decides to break out her terrible two’s.

It started with daycare. I love how a child who can put up such a fight when I drop her off, can then make it so difficult to leave just a few hours later. I pulled out my best I’m-so-happy-and-not-annoyed-at-all tone and explained that if we had get home right away if we wanted to see Daddy. He was on a night shift last night and leaving shortly.

5 minutes later.

After chasing her around the house, I finally got her to head down towards the front entrance. She then began to play that game. All toddler parents know which game I’m talking about. The one that leaves you wondering how much your toddler truly has in common with a mild sociopath.

She plopped onto her butt and began coming down the steps.

One step at a time.

About one step per minute.

Starting at me the entire time.

With a slight grin on her face.

Another 5 minutes down.

I finally had her boots on, but she decided to play ‘limp-arm’ while I was trying to get her coat on. It broke my calm resolve. I looked down at her and said, “That’s fine Lilly, you can stay here. I am going home to see Daddy. Bye.”

And then I left.

Ok, no I didn’t.

But I did take her bag out to the car and took my time walking back up the driveway.

It’s moments like these that I feel truly blessed to have a daycare provided who is a friend, and more importantly, is on the same page as me. By the time I got back to the house, she had Lilly’s coat on and the little monster was singing a different tune.

Another 5 minutes gone.

We were finally in the car heading home, when I see our truck coming towards us on the street. I wave a somber wave towards my husband and inform Lilly that Daddy has left for work already.

It took everything I had to hold my tounge and not start spouting off “I told you so.”

Instead, we parked in the garage and called him so she could say goodnight.

I had truly hoped that maybe this would take her down a notch and that there was still hope for a relaxed evening. I was dead wrong.

She pulled the whole ‘limp-body’ routine while I tried to help her out of her coat and boots. Then proceeded to tell me, “I no want dinner!” and took off running. She ran into my room and start tearing through my bathroom before I even had my boots off. I caught up with her, asked her to please stop and was met with a stern, “no!”

In my head, the countdown began.

2.5 hours left until bedtime.

By this time I was exhausted. I laid down on my bed and seriously contemplated a taking a nap and just leaving her to terrorize the house. She rolled around on the bed beside me singing, “no, no, no, no, noooo!” in a super cheery & high-pitched voice with a smile on her face.

At least she was happy.

7pm approached and I knew I had a responsibility to get this child fed. And so I mentally prepared for the dinner battle.

And a battle it was.

toddler, parenting, parenting a toddler, terrible two's, tantrums, mom blog, canadian mom blog
I threatened the ‘Naughty Spot’, so she turned around and put poor Winnie the
Pooh in a ‘Naughty Spot’. Oh, bother.

After a tantrum in her play room, tearing apart her bedroom, and her projecting some discipline onto Pooh Bear, we finally made it to the kitchen. I began to warm up some leftovers and asked her to sit at the table. Naturally, she ran in the opposite direction into my study.

Less than 2 minutes later I discovered that she had already removed several books and trinkets from my bookshelf and was playing with them on the sofa. I asked her once again to go sit at the table.

Then I asked once again for her to go sit at the table.

Then I told her to get her butt to the table. Now.

As we sat and ate quietly, I thought about how often I have to use the words no and now on nights like this. How often I have to say the dreaded because I said so. I know we can’t moms we want to be 100% of the time, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

She sat for over 15 minutes, pushing food around her plate and whining about how she wanted her shows on. The audacity of this child…I just…*sigh*

1.5 hours left until bedtime.

I opted to use this to my advantage and dug bribery out of my parenting playbook. I offered up shows for a cleaned plate and finally saw some success.

I turned on her show and prepared for some quite time when I remembered that it was my mom’s birthday and we had a Skype date. While I was looking forward to seeing my Mama (especially after this evening), I was not looking forward to trying to keep my squirming 2.5 year old in front of a computer screen.

Waiting for my Mom to come online, I opted for another parenting trick and gave Lilly my iPhone to play some letter games. Don’t judge. She was learning. She was quiet. I was staying sane.

Now, in true my-mom-is-a-liar toddler fashion, she poured on the charm for Nana. Singing her Happy Birthday and blowing kisses. This lasted for about 5 minutes until she decided she was done and slid off my lap. Obviously annoyed that I was giving my attention to someone else, she began throwing things at me. True story. My mom was a witness.

We said our night-nights to Nana and shut down the computer. Lilly decided that it would be great to end the night off with taking a random object off my desk. I asked her nicely to put it back. She squealed ‘no’ nicely and tried to run away.

I took the item back and put it on my desk.

She grabbed it again.

I took it back.

We did this three more times.

We both gave up.

30 minutes left until bedtime.

PJs on and snack in hand, we settled down for the home stretch. I put on some Treehouse and cuddled beside her on the couch. For the last 15 minutes of the evening I had my little girl back. The one that snuggles, tells me she loves me and wants to sing songs with me at bedtime.

I have no idea what can trigger these nights with an otherwise well behaved toddler.

This morning I asked my daycare provider if maybe she had laced their lunch yesterday with baby crack. She assured me she hadn’t.

I truly despise nights like last night. Not because my child was difficult, but because she won’t be a child forever. I understand how precious time with her is and that any night that I spend counting down the minutes to bedtime leaves me feeling guilty.

Ideally speaking, what doesn’t kill me drive me insane, makes me stronger. If our next child give us a dose of the real terrible two’s, maybe I will be better prepared.

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