There is a routine and a ceremony. The teeth brushing, the bath, the donning of the jammies and the tucking of the blanky.
And lately, there is the holding of the hand to sleep.
I do not enjoy this. I am getting a very stiff back, sitting on the floor night after night, holding her hand to get her to stay calm to fall asleep. She did not always require this extra time consuming step. It seems like, for a long time (or maybe it was long in my memory, a golden age) where she would talk to herself and drift off to sleep with minimal re-visits- less than 12.
But she got scared with the advent of preschool. There was monsters and new fears. And a desperate need for mommy.
Lately, she seems to be coming out of it a bit. She allows me to leave without promises of return. Before there was uncontrollable sobbing. Then, there came the allowing me to leave with promises to come back. For the last couple weeks, I’ve been able to say good night and leave. This is progress
I can use this released time to practice some yoga and release the pains in my back.
But tonight, this night of christmas break and no preschool, she was going through the ceremony, and she hit me. She does this frequently. Not hard, but it’s a bad habit and it interferes with the donning of the jammies.
I was starting to lose my temper, and she was wiggling past the safety zone into going-to-hurt-herself territory. There was a time out. I have to hold her in place for the time out. She took on a remorseful mien and said “not supposed to hit” I asked her to say she was sorry. She said it.
But punishment is a time-boxed thing. She had to complete her punishment. She kicked me.
Now I really lost my temper. I told her I wouldn’t hold her hand tonight.
“NOT FAIR!” she said
But I said it. She can’t hit. And I said it.
Daddy finished the tucking ceremony. He is on hand for further necessities.
But I should stand by my word. I shall not hold her hand.
She is fine. She is happy in her jammies, and content though not yet asleep. I am filled with guilt and conflict. I have exiled myself.