On Saturday night, I did the unthinkable and took away my son's bedtime only security blanket as a punishment for him getting out of bed for the 2nd time. It's not the first time I've threatened to do so. His now week-long bedtime issues are completely out of hand, with him staying awake well past 9pm and coming out of bed at least twice - not just making him tired in the morning, but keeping his sister (with whom he shares a room) awake as well.
So for the last few nights, I remind him that if he gets out of bed once, I'll turn off the bathroom light (their night light). And if he gets out of bed again, then I'll take away his blanket.
And usually, the loss of the night light is enough to keep him in bed.
Except for Saturday night.
Now whoever said moms and sons have this weirdly amazing connection is completely right. It's hard to explain or quantify, but it's there, usually with me wearing a big huge, invisible "SUCKER" sign that only he can see.
Truth be told, he can drive me batty, and he challenges me as a parent much more than either of my daughters did and do, at least right now at the lovely demon-possessed age of 3.5.
I never really yelled until he came along. And I've lost my cool with him more times than I care to remember.
But I could, at any given moment, or at least at any given moment when he's not whining, screaming, or begging me for food exactly 10 minutes after I just fed him a three-course snack, wrap him up in a tiny ball and stick him in my pocket forever because he's just so freaking cute.
And somehow he knows this, and so, even though I reminded him twice about the loss of "rockets," he got out of bed anyway.
I've never actually had to take away the blanket. We're pretty consistent with 1-2-3 Magic* which works extremely well for those small, annoying behaviors (like whining, backtalk, etc.) that don't necessarily warrant a huge punishment (time out, loss of toy, loss of major privilege) but give us some way of keeping them under control.
And if I do take something away, I'm pretty careful about what it is - dessert, television shows - things that will be effective but not mean. Or worse, will not make my own life a living hell.
No TV for a week? Ha. Yeah no way.
But alas. He got out of bed twice. And I said I was going to take away the blanket, and so I did.
And oh did it pain me.
The terrorizing, torturous screams didn't help the situation. And I did my darndest to figure out a way to give it back to him without looking like a complete doormat.
But there was no other way.
To my surprise, he fell asleep pretty quickly, unharmed, at least for the moment, by the blanket trauma. Of course, I, on the other hand, couldn't stop thinking about it, and suddenly realized that all the stuff we think is tough on the kids is much tougher on us.
But in the end, I know it will do us and our relationship a world of good. And that's really what matters.
It's not about now. It's about what's to come.
*This is an Amazon affiliate link, which means I get a small kickback if you order through that link. If you prefer not to do that, then just order directly through Amazon.com. Either way, it's a great book, and I was not paid or asked to say so.