why can’t the bedtime routine be enjoyable

Since the little ones are now in school and the little girl has to get up earlier than before, we’ve decided to put them to bed a half hour earlier which seems to work out alright.

Last night, I was reading both children a book in the little boy’s room, reading the hungry caterpillar and she had a puppet which was an octopus. She does this thing where she’ll pretend that the puppet is eating whatever food the caterpillar is eating and usually it’s a fun time for both of us, especially if I have a puppet or sock on my hand and tickle her when the caterpillar is supposed to be eating.

tonight, I was trying to read the book and she kept interrupting me on every page saying "No daddy, it’s not the caterpillar, it’s the octopus". I asked her not to interrupt and finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I slammed the book on the table and let out this almost inhuman scream and left the room. After about a minute downstairs, I went back up to the second floor and she was quietly crying in her room, and rightly so, (the insanity of my impulsiveness has got to be checked because, that’s no way for her to go to bed or for us to end our day) and (it’s at those moments when I think to myself, they deserve much better than this" but at least I’m not just working on the house all the time.

Anyway, I calmly asked her if she wanted me to read her a book in the little boys room and she cried "You’re just going to scream at me again" and I tried to explain that I always ask her not to interrupt and I’m not talking about not ever talking while we read but when she interrupts a sentence, it’s usually with something way out of nowhere that’s not even related at all to the book.

She said that she wanted to read a book in her room so we read good night moon and half way through, I had to leave because I started to cry and I couldn’t read that way. I came back after a minute and finished the book, gave her a hug and apologized for yelling at her.

I always feel that my apologies are so hollow because I say I’m sorry for doing x, usually yelling but I don’t ever seem to change any behavior at all.

I don’t enjoy yelling at the children but they don’t seem to listen any other way and I think that’s a sad way for them to live and for me to interact with them. Maybe I need an anger management class or some really good drugs so that I’ll be so mellow that this stuff won’t affect me anymore but then, they might as well have a robot for a parent. Oh, they already have that, why make it two?

I just don’t know what to do anymore and I’m almost about to cry while sitting here typing and that’s pretty unusual. It’s happened before but not for a very long time.

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12 thoughts on “why can’t the bedtime routine be enjoyable

  1. SD Gates says:

    Hi my friend. They say parenting is the hardest job you will ever have – and I think that is probably true. Maybe when you read the book next time just insert Octopus wherever “Caterpillar” is supposed to be. I am sure she will get a kick out of it.
    We all have our blow-ups – can’t always be a perfect parent. Sometimes things just push you over the edge. And kids have a way of making one feel like a total piece of crap, but then they get over it much faster than we do. Just tell her that everybody has fits, even big people are allowed to have tantrums once in a while, it is just part of being a normal person.

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  2. i’m not a parent nor have i ever played one on TV, so take these words with as large of a grain of salt you want. i have heard it said that a timeout is as much for the parent as it is for the kid. that gives the parent time to collect their thoughts and come from a point of calmness, thereby reducing the possibility to kind of emotional explosion.

    how do you think last night would have went if when you got frustrated with you daughter, you would have said, “i can’t do this right know. i’ll be back in five minutes”? upon returning, tell her why you left. imagine saying something like, “you make daddy mad when you do that because i’m trying to do something nice for you and you don’t seem to care. shall we try again?”

    there’s my 1/50 of a dollar.

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    • walking away is probably what I should have done in the first place and so many times the wife says “You’re the adult” but that blatantly ignores the very real fact that I am much more impulsive than she is and as much as it sounds good to “walk away” in that moment, a lot of times I don’t feel that I have that sort of control and I don’t think she gets that.

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  3. You are basically a single parent with a robot android wife. You are stressed. Being a parent IS the hardest job we will ever have, and it makes it even harder when there are our own internal issues mixed with worry about the kids’ issues.
    You’re a good dad, and some positive reinforcement is always helpful and needed. Kids are pretty forgiving at the younger ages. The fact you apologized and spent time with her separately lets her know you do care.
    My kids are 9 and 13 and STILL interrupt conversations. It’s a never ending battle. You’re doing good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anxious Mom says:

    I so feel for you. It happens, especially when you have so many other stressors in your life. But you did the right thing after. I wonder how often her mom ever makes a genuine apology when she screws up? At any rate, you had a bad moment but also set an example for how we’re supposed to handle our screw ups.

    I have to deal with the constant interruptions with my son. He’s very impulsive like that. It’s tough, but I mostly think he can’t help it.

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  5. I have an excellent bedtime routine philosophy that will help with bedtime !

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