I’m a parent. I should have known better, right?
Last night my toddler had a full day of activities (indoor and outdoor). He also fought my wife for a nap for over 90 minutes and then finally passed out at 4:00 PM. By 5:00 PM he had to be woken up for our evening session (dinner).
Dinner went fairly well. We mostly talked about his day. He was so excited about his day that he could barely get the words out as he vibrated with excitement. He told me about the fantastic people he met at the park and the games he played there. I was hit with a fire hose of stories and information as I tried to repeatedly trick him into eating his beans.
After dinner was bedtime snack and THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL! The Patriots were playing the Texans and I wanted to watch some of the game.
No problem right? Wrong.
It was smooth sailing until I kept pushing him to stay up later and later, which was a huge mistake on my part. We were well past bedtime, but we were also only 16 seconds away from the 2 minute warning.
Then the 2 minute warning hit and there were at least 90 seconds of commercials during the timeout.
“Damn, so many commercials.” I thought.
Then it was closer to 10 PM. Nothing eventful happened as the first half came to a close and I noticed my toddler was becoming wilder and his behavior was more erratic. He was spinning in circles and making this horrible ear piercing sound;
We closed up downstairs and going up the stairs for bed was like climbing the west ridge of K2. We changed both kids and brushed their teeth. I saw my 4 year old completely unraveling by this point, but we were so close to the promise land. His eyes were completely glossed over and he was frantically running around and refusing to put his shirt on.
By now I knew I was in trouble.
We went through our normal routine of a few bedtime stories, “night night kisses” and everyone took their places. We all share a bedroom but we each have our own “big kid” beds.
My wife then put our 2 year old down and she was having a very difficult time falling asleep because at this point my 4 year old had hit critical mass. He flipped out because he wanted me to read another book, after realizing that he missed story time. Story time had been cut short because he was not listening to the stories and throwing his exhausted little body from bed to bed.
Both of my kids are night owls. There is no such thing as a 7:30 PM bedtime for my kids no matter how much we try. It just doesn’t happen, but tonight I pushed him way too far and I knew it.
While my wife was still in the process of getting my 2 year old to sleep, I took my son out of the bedroom to try to calm him down. He was inconsolable. He wanted to get his way and he was using it as a tactic to not go to sleep. I have fallen into this trap before where I have given in and instantly regretted it. As I looked into his eyes, which were drenched with tears, I admitted to myself that I had messed up big time and I felt horrible.
I knew I couldn’t let him get his way, but I had completely messed up. I did this. I pushed him too far and he was so overtired at this point that he was no longer in control of his emotions.
There are so many joys of being a parent but overall it’s very hard work. It takes a lot of patience and more energy than any human being has to offer, but somehow we all do it. On Thursday night, I wanted to feel like my old self, loving football and basking in the glory of the upcoming weekend, but I shot myself in the foot. I should have taken the kids up earlier and I paid for it, but the worst part was, so did my 4 year old, my 2 year old and my wife.
I am in control and I dictate when we go up for bed and in this instance I made the wrong choice. There are times where I can keep him up late and he doesn’t have that type of reaction, but this Thursday was a perfect storm. He was tired from his day, running on very little sleep and it was the end of a long week. As I’ve stated before, Papa messed up.
I cannot say it won’t happen again, but I have learned my lesson, for my sake, but mostly for his.