Progress measured in small increments
Posted on January 20th, 2011
Evenings at our house mean screaming. It embarrasses me. I close the windows, afraid someone will think she’s being disemboweled.
Around 4, P begins to disintegrate, get disorganized, fall apart. Her center cannot hold. She loses her language, whines, clings, and starts doing crazy Rainman repetitive motions. (Actually, I’m making that up. Did Rainman do that stuff? I never saw the film.) She pretends to be various animals. She won’t eat dinner. She won’t stay in bed. She is chaos herself. I can start bedtime rituals at 6, but it doesn’t mean she’ll be asleep before 9.
If she naps, we have a much more charming child in the evening. However, the charming child will stay up all night and into the wee hours, so whereas some parents guard the nap carefully, I have spent the last couple of days keeping P busy so that she won’t fall asleep. No napping allowed.
Since I started reading Raising Your Spirited Child, things have improved. A lot. Even the last two nights have been more pleasant, although they still have involved screaming and the taking away of treasured toys each time there is an infraction, then returning them when progress is made. It’s just that maybe I did it only five times tonight, whereas it was 10 times the night before. And five times is still a lot of discipline. And it is so hard for me to be consistent because after dealing with P all day, all I want to do is sit and write and enjoy some peace, to abdicate parenting for an hour or two.
Tonight, after a very active day, she did better. She ate some dinner(!). She was mostly sweet. There was less screaming. But I am still so exhausted. Hopefully there will be another full night’s sleep tonight.