Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the grumpiest of them all?
My children are like a mirror sometimes. They reflect my behaviour and attitudes back at me. Trouble is I don’t always like what I see.
For example, I know I need to get myself and the kids out of the house in the mornings. Otherwise we all get grumpy from cabin fever and lack of exercise. Why then, is it so hard to get my act in gear? To motivate myself?
I guess this is not a new problem. Somewhere, somehow I an sabotaging myself. No one else is forcing me to stay in the house. Once I’m outside I enjoy it. Why do I resist? I am stubborn and contrary in nature that’s why. Easy to see where Beanie girl gets it from!
There is an obvious element of goal conflict at work here. I want to play outside with my children, but I also want a lie in- I am obsessed with sleep. (And I want to clear up the breakfast dishes, and I want to stick in another load of laundry before we leave, etc.,etc.) Getting myself and the two small people up, dressed, fed and ready to face the day is no small task. So I resist it. I put it off. Until it becomes bigger and more difficult.
Oh, to be one of those (nauseating) people who jumps out of bed full of energy and enthusiasm every morning!
Or even better, full of serene, Zen acceptance if the way things are. It will take me an hour and a half (at least) to get us all up and ready to go. I could accept this and work with it. Trouble is, that means not just setting the alarm but actually getting out of bed when it goes off instead of snoozing it or ignoring or swearing it at (under my breath of course) which are my preferred options.
What is it with kids and sleep? I love sleep. To paraphrase Lola, Sleep is my favourite and is my best! Bed is one of my favourite places. Snuggly duvet, maybe a hot water bottle if it’s cold, a good book, bliss. If I don’t get enough sleep then I get A Bit Grumpy, just like Daddy Pig. Except that I actually get irritable almost to the point of murderous rage, whereas Daddy Pig’s grumpiness is really quite mild in comparison.
Little Miss Bean is of the opinion that the best thing to do with my bed is to jump on it. Monkey Boy has not yet mastered the art of bouncing to the same degree as his big sister but he is working on it. Certainly they are both agreed that sleeping in a bed is a last resort, something they give in to only when they have exhausted all other possibilities. At two and four years old the world is still new and full of excitement, to sleep might be to risk missing some of it.
I realise I am not alone and my kids are hardly unique in this respect. Talking to mummy friends or an afternoon in the health visitor clinic quickly reveals that sleep is a common obsession among parents. Everyone has an opinion on it too, from your own parents and in-laws to the person behind you in the supermarket queue. They might be good opinions, they might be rubbish. However strongly attached that person is to their answer as the only answer there really are few hard and fast rules in parenting.
However, when it comes to sleep the truth is really quite simple: they have to sleep eventually. We all do, or else we die. They may not sleep when I want them to, or where I want them to, but they have to sleep somewhere, sooner or later. (I’ve been reading about Zen, can you tell?) I cannot control my children’s sleep patterns. Acknowledging that is quite liberating. Now I just have to actually give up trying to control them in practice…Wish me luck!