A Slap in the Face

A few nights ago, I offer Noel $10 to put Sparkles to bed. Putting Sparkles to bed means brushing teeth, going to the potty, a new pull-up and pajamas, reading three books, then night-night kisses for everyone. $10 is a lot, I know, Blue Eyes gave me a funny look when I said it, but it was worth it. Noel didn’t know, but I could have been talked into $50…

But, as Sparkles heard the word bed, she got upset and started crying and yelling NO, NO, NO and I’m amazed at how she can cry and yell at the same time.

I was sooooo tired. Buttercup has had diarrhea for a week. That might seem simple, but the impact was extraordinary. She was pooping so often that she got a bad diaper rash and we were changing diapers 20 times a day (it seemed like) and at NIGHT. That’s not all, at night, she would still upset after the diaper change, she kept crying and was agitated and deeply sad. I could see the deep sadness in her eyes even in the dark. So I breast feed her, something I haven’t done at night in a while. I don’t even breast feed her in the middle of the day (just morning and night), so my breast feeding days are opposite, I’m not sure what my breasts are thinking.

That isn’t all, though. After feeding, she is still upset, so I hold her in our big easy chair that reclines and I sing to her and rub her back until she falls asleep. This takes about an hour all together. It has been happening 2-3 times a night for about a week.

Only to make things more interesting, Sparkles has been having trouble with Night Terrors, we think, a mild version of them anyway. She will wake up at night and cry out for Mommy and Daddy and this is a whole other post, but Blue Eyes or I will go in, make sure she has her bear, cover her with her blanket and kiss her good night.

And they share a room. So, add to all of that, that they some times wake each other up.

I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m impatient. I’m cursing all day long. I live for the 2 hours after then go to bed, when they are least likely to wake up, when I can feel like a normal adult.

So, I really want the kids to go to sleep. I put Buttercup down already. Just one more to go. I tell Noel I will get Sparkles started, since she is throwing a fit. I pick Sparkles up to take her to our room to talk and we get to the hallway and she slaps me in the face. Really, really, really hard. We are right outside the girl’s bedroom door and the sound of the slap wakes up Buttercup and she starts crying.

There is something special about sudden and unexpected physical pain that happens when you are already tired, frustrated and impatient, while you have two kids crying during the two hours of the day that you count on to feel human.

I didn’t do anything. I waited.

Blue Eyes heard what happened and he knew he was needed right away, the same as if I was trapped atop a burning building and he knew how to fly. He came and took Sparkles. I went into the living room and sat down.

I’m tempted in times like this to believe in spanking. Such an obvious and hurtful action deserves a serious response. But I can’t get my head around telling her I’m hitting her because hitting is so wrong. I just sit.

Blue Eyes gives Sparkles a time out and she doesn’t get to read books before bed, which has never happened before and is pretty serious, in her world.  It doesn’t take her long to stop crying and fall asleep. I hold Buttercup for a while, then put her down in the pack-in-play in Noel’s room. She cries, but I can’t do anymore. After 20 minutes, she is asleep too.

Buttercup’s poops have started to look better and her diaper rash is almost gone. We aren’t in the clear though. I know I have created a monster. Last night, she woke up twice, when she hadn’t pooped, still wanting the extra special attention. I think I can wait for the crying-it-out part until Noel is sleeping at her Mom’s, so we can use her room, but probably not. I’ll put the pack-n-play in the living room tonight. I’ll still check her diaper, but then it is back to bed.

Maybe you can’t buy your way out of the tough parenting days and nights. Well, maybe you can, if you are really rich and you have daytime and nighttime nannies and cooks and maids. But, I wouldn’t really want it that way (except for the cooks and maids part).  I just say a prayer for good poops and more sleep. Good poops and more sleep. Good poops and more sleeeeeppppp. zzzzzzz.


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  1. Man, I relate to this. Remember the other night when I decided it would be more exhausting to put the kids to bed than to go roller skating?

    And this line especially…”I’m tempted in times like this to believe in spanking.” Wow. I have uttered those thoughts many times. Thank God for the pause button.

    Great post.

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