Monday, August 18, 2008

My 6 Year Old Got Me In Trouble!

Yes, I know I'm the almost 40 year old parent (I know - those of you who actually have read my profile are saying, "but I thought she said she was thirty-something - but 39 is still in the thirties - right??), but I still got busted, nonetheless.

So let me give you a little background. Somehow between the end of Kindergarten and the beginning of First Grade, Allie's bedtime has changed from 7:30 - 8ish to 9ish - and I use 9ish loosely. There were many nights over the summer that she didn't even see her pillow until 10pm. And even if she did go into bed at 9, she came out of her room no less than 2 - 4 times and rarely fell asleep before 9:30 or 10pm. I know you are saying that summer is different and lots of kids go to bed later. While I agree that summer is a time for later nights and looser routines, Allie still had to get up each morning and be at camp by 9am.

Last year Allie woke up most mornings between 7- 7:30 - so she was getting anywhere between 11 - 12 hours of sleep each night. Now, while she is waking up around the same time, but because she is going to bed later, she is only getting anywhere between 10 - 10.5 hours of sleep each night.

Last week we finished our first week back at school and by all accounts it was a wonderful week. Then on Friday night Allie had a "late over" at one of her friend's house where 7 girls had an evening of swimming, pizza, movies, and fun and parents picked up at 10pm. On Saturday she had a birthday celebration with one of her closest friends where they went to a pottery painting studio and then out to lunch to celebrate her friend's birthday. The celebration was topped off with decadent donuts with sprinkles and a carousel ride. That night we had an event at our synagogue and the next morning we met some friends to go bowling at 9:30am. Allie ended her weekend with a birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza for another one of her good friends.

Think Missy Miss had a lot going on over the last week? Oh, let's not forget the gymnastics twice a week where she doesn't get home until 8pm and we are lucky if she is asleep by 9:30!

Well, what happens when you mix lots of events, the first week of school, not the best amount of sleep and a 6 year old girl? I'll give you one guess. . .yes, you are right. . .those ingredients can make the best meltdown ever. And I'll skip the gory details, but suffice it to say we left Peter Piper Pizza before some of her friends did and she wailed in the car the entire ride home and it took her Daddy a good 30 minutes to calm her down, listen to her tale of woe and discuss with her why we left early.

So, after Allie went to bed on Sunday night, my loving yet practical and notalwaysneedingtomakesocialplans hubby says that he thinks I might not want to over pack her week with playdates so she can have some down time because he thinks she is running a bit on empty and we also have another jam packed weekend coming up. He also was quick to point out that while being tired was not an excuse for her behavior, he felt it was definitely the reason why and that if I want the week to go smoothly he would really suggest that other than gymnastics on Tues. & Thurs. this week, I don't make plans and we just come home and hang out. I don't give much thought to it and mutter "okay" and we both go on to other things more exciting to discuss.

Fast forward to Monday afternoon. Completely disregarding my hubby's advice/thoughts/words-of-wisdom, my girlfriend and I decide to take the kids for ice-cream after school. Thanks to Christine at From Dates to Diapers and Beyond, we went to Baskin-Robbins where we saved some money! What a great giveaway - thanks again Christine!

The kids had a great time and I loved hanging out with my friend too. When we said our goodbyes (over 2 hours later! I mean, who spends 2 hours at a Baskin Robbins???), Allie didn't even put up a fight when I said we had to grab a few things at the grocery (she typically lets out a guttural grown when I mention grocery shopping). On the car ride home when I suggest that as soon as we walk in, she should do her homework and after I unpack the groceries she should take her shower so it is out of the way, she immediately says that is a great idea. At this point, I have no reason to think that our evening is going to be anything but enjoyable and stress free.

As we walk in the door, we start Allie on her homework which she does happily. While I finish unpacking groceries I tell her to go play and then we will take a shower. About 15 minutes later I find Allie and tell her that I finished putting the groceries away and we should start her shower. She looked at me as though I spoke some foreign language and didn't really say anything or make a move to head to the bathroom. I repeat myself. Allie then tells me that when we talked about a shower she didn't realize that I meant I was going to unpack the groceries so quickly and that she thought I would unpack the groceries later at night and that was when she wanted to take a shower.

Uh oh. I saw where we were headed. I was now negotiating with a 6 year old about when to take a shower - I'm not sure when she exactly started to win. Was it when it turned to a negotiation, or when I continued to negotiate and then finally after 20 minutes of getting nowhere, I just told her "fine - take your shower whenever" - that was the best my undergrad and law school education could come up with? "Fine" and "Whenever"?? Oy!

Or maybe she started winning, when after I muttered by "fine" and "whenever" I got more aggravated about why does showering, brushing hair/teeth and washing hands and face with her ALWAYS cause me soooo much grief when she is tired? So I turned to her to offer some more motherly and helpful and motivating words - "I said fine - just don't take a shower and be smelly and then kids won't want to be near you because you will be dirty". Did that push her buttons to get her to jump and take a shower - no, it pushed her tear button though. Oy. I felt 2" tall. That was so unhelpful and so unnecessary of me and soooooooooooooooooo unmotherly. So where are we now? No shower and I feel like crap.

So, I said I was sorry and I told her I shouldn't have said that but I was frustrated. She said that it was "okay" but she was sad and she needed to talk to Daddy. Uh Oh - I thought. How soon before he tells me "I told you so" about the playdate???

So, 15 minutes and 16 seconds later she comes out to me and tells me that she is really sorry about not taking a shower when I asked and she wants to take a shower now but before the shower, "I just need to tell you something. You hurt my heart when you said no one would want to be near me. Daddy said you didn't mean it but that wasn't a nice joke then". Ok - knife in heart, but yet spoken from her heart and very effective. I pulled her close and said I was so sorry and said I loved her more than anything and that I don't want to hurt her heart.

Speaking from her heart and effective. Hopefully I can remember that her tactic worked better than mine did the next time I get frustrated that I can't get her to take a simple shower. . .

Maybe next time I'll try taking my hubby's suggestions into account. . .he said while he has empathy for me that she put up a fight to take a shower, he also said just because I don't know how to have downtime she needs it and he would be willing to bet had we just come home and hung out there would have been no shower negotiations. He also thought it was kinda funny that Allie ratted me out because he is confident that had she not called him and told him her whole story, I probably would have just told Hubby that she was tired and arguing about taking a shower again and I would have left the playdate out of the story . .just to avoid him telling me "I told you so!".

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Lis Garrett said...

HA! Oh, I was chuckling!

On school nights, my kids, even my nine year old, are in bed with lights out by 8:00. (although it's more for my sanity than theirs!)

My Vision said...

The old I told you so is the worst. Parenting is a huge learning curve I don't think I will ever reach the top of. It sounds like Allie is excelling in many many areas so things will work out great.