This is not an easy post. But, I have come to a lot of realizations lately and it hasn't been comforting. Funny when things finally make sense you feel so stupid and it hits you like a ton of bricks...duh! And then the guilt sets in.
I have been exasperated, utterly and completely frustrated with Kian lately. I react, I yell, I even spanked him a couple times this week, then I feel so guilty but try to not swing radically back to the other side and baby him after and confuse him even more. But, it's not easy. These two's are killing me here. Or were. Until I realized several things today.
The napping and bedtimes have been almost unbearable, agonizing at times. Part of it is that I just want him to sleep so I can have five minutes to check email and go to the bathroom and maybe throw some makeup on before Kevin walks in the door. I can do the loads of laundry and that stuff while he plays. He helps clean up sometimes and is occupied so that housework can get done. But if its anything to do with me and me alone it doesn't happen. Karter's napping routine is so-so. He's pretty much awake for 2 hours then sleeps for 10-1, then awake for til 3ish, then takes like 2 catnaps until bedtime. I haven't really cared to put him on a schedule yet, he's working his own out. Although today I think it's time I start getting things on a more predictable pattern. (I won't force him to a minute by minute schedule.)
Kian's sleeping went from the easiest, read a book, sing a song and he falls asleep on his own in a few minutes to this drawn out screaming, crying, jumping around ridiculousness. I have been having to sit on his bed until he falls asleep. Sometimes he gets up and is crazy and it's a battle. He fights off everything he knows will put him to sleep-music, back rubs, etc. And if Kevin tries to do it he freaks out even more until I come up. I know he's two, I know there's been lots of changes, and I know my attitude has been a big factor in it.
He just fell asleep finally at 2:45 after over an hour of trying. I really haven't even tried a nap in over 2 weeks because it's just easier to let him stay up and then put him to bed at 7:30 and he will sleep until 7 am. I implemented quiet/rest time with a book or a story on tape, or sometimes a show on the couch for an hour. But tonight we are going to be out and having to do dinner at 6 pm, so I knew he needed to sleep for just a bit. I don't even want to think about what drama would have happened had he not fallen asleep. If he naps then he won't even think of falling asleep until 9 or 9:30 pm and then wakes by 6:30. I will take the 7-7 with no nap, thank you very much!
I can deal with the roughness of his "love" towards Karter. I can deal with the no nap so that he goes to bed earlier and I have some quiet time with Kevin or myself at night. I can even deal with the potty training accidents. But lately, it was an accumulation of everything putting me over the edge. I am not a fan of spanking, but I have never said I wouldn't ever do it. This week I did it out of exasperation and anger, which I always said I wouldn't do. Although, I did blurt out "If you do that again I will spank you" and felt that I had to follow through. And being called an idiot by your two year old will cause you to react in ways like that. Yeah. And spanking does not work for him. He either laughs it off and continues on or he breaks down and talks about it and it's a big drama. With Kian being so verbal, I don't want a huge spanking conversation with someone who will end up thinking i"m beating him to death because of his theatrics.
As I sat there, next to him fighting sleep and trying to engage me in conversation I thought a lot about how our days have been going. Obviously holidays always put a wrench in things but that's okay. I had tried to put a routine in place similar to one they had at daycare so that we would do outside/playtime and an art time, etc. then lunch and nap. I have been frustrated at why this isn't working and constantly blaming Kian, saying he's being naughty or he's not listening and he's in the terrible twos, etc.
Upon thinking more, I began viewing things from his little perspective. Not only did I pull him out of daycare, where it was very routine and predictable, as well as social and fun and tiring, but I stayed home and brought with me a new baby that takes up all my time and attention or has to be held, etc. Routine and predictability went out the window. Mommy's irritability increased, mood swings ensued due to lack of sleep. He never knows what he's going to get, depending on how my day/night went, will I be a pushover and sweet or snap at him and put him in time out? And upon further review-it's the beginning of the day that is the most monumental-I was always awake before him and he'd wake up and I would greet him with a smile and breakfast. Now, it's grumpy, in bed with Karter and "stop touching him" and "shh, quiet! baby's sleeping".
It's not him-it's me! Well, it's both. But, I have been putting it off on him, and I am a big contributor to his behaviors. I mean, I know this stuff, but I didn't see it and think it was happening here. It is. So...what's that mean? I need to stick to the routine I wrote out for him, especially since he will be going back to daycare in a month. I need to get myself out of bed before or at the same time he does and get everyone up and going. And tv. Oh yes, how can we forget how I ranted and raved and then finally caved and found myself almost becoming what I loathed? Just like everyone told me, I began putting a show on in the morning while I nursed Karter, then for rest time, then daddy would be conned into turning it on when Kian asked and pretty soon I realized it was enough and too much. We put a stop to all the night time tv except for special movies like before, where it was a treat. If I have phone calls to make or something like that I will let him turn on one half hour show. It's been off more because his behavior is absolutely horrible when he watches too much tv, as in more than 30 mins. And he doesn't get enough activity to be tired for nap times.
We will no longer be staying in pajamas until whenever. Instead of letting Karter sleep til whenever in the morning I think it would behoove me to get him up and going as well to start to get the daycare routine implemented. And I need to get myself to bed. On time. I know, I'm a grown woman, right? But I need to be in bed same time every night so I can get up and we can all begin preparing for the back to work thing. As well as to keep the crankies at bay. I have also been doing a lot of 'giving' to so many people my time, my energy, my ear on the phone til all hours of the night, and during the day. It's leaving me depleted, leaving me focused on other things outside my house and family. I need to cut out calls during the day and resume my hobbies at least weekly to keep myself up and feeling good and refreshed.
I kept focusing on getting vegetables in there and learning letters and teaching "educational" things and house cleaning and eating healthy that I lost sight of my boy and just being a kid and consistency I tell Kevin about daily. Perhaps it was the poem I read again today, that my mom sent to me when I went to college about parents wishing there were still little hand prints on the doors and toys to step over and more time spent playing and less time spent cleaning... Because he won't remember if he learned to read at 2 or 7, he won't remember if the floor was full of crumbs or not. But he will remember if mommy spent time taking him outside or reading that annoying book over and over because he asked, not yelling at him for 'playing' with baby brother, but snuggling all together eating forbidden snacks, not if he matched and Karter matched him and shoes were shined, but if we laughed and sang silly songs... That's my goal from here forward--again!