Tough Love


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Welcome Sadie!

July 29, 2002

4:00 AM was a very interesting moment in our home this morning. Danny woke up shrieking that he wanted his finger washed off... I thought he was having yet another nosebleed, so I went into his room to check. He wasn't really awake... but he was alert enough to know he wanted Daddy to fix his problem. Whatever it turned out to be. Because there wasn't a damn thing on his fingers.

This would be bad, because Jon was awake until 2:00 because he 'just couldn't sleep'. And Jon needs to get up by 6:00 at the very latest to be at work by 7:00.

It's also ironic, because Sadie was still sleeping blissfully from her last feeding at 9:00 the previous evening. But she was up shortly after Jon went into Danny's room, and even if Danny had wanted me to fix his problem, I couldn't really be in two places at once. So at 4:20 Sadie and I were back in our little beds and halfway to sleep... and Jon was trying to get an increasingly more alert Danny back into bed.

Finally, at 6:30, Danny did go back to bed, and Jon went to work. Around 7:30 I got up with Sadie (who's been having wicked congestion in the wee hours of the mornings). A little after 10:00, Danny made his appearance. Needless to say, an afternoon nap would have been out of the question...

Danny was a little manic by dinnertime, mostly because he was getting tired. But things really started to fall apart when Jon took him upstairs for a bath. Danny apparently dumped a pitcherful of water onto the bathroom floor. And Jon just lost it. He was way too tired to maintain any kind of patience... but I had Sadie attached to my body, as usual, so it wasn't like I could help a lot...

Well, when it became obvious that Jon couldn't cope with Danny tonight, I dumped Sadie into her bouncy seat and asked him to just keep her company so she wouldn't cry (much easier than dealing with 30+ pounds of wet, manic toddler), and I took over. Mopped the spill off the floor, answered the 12 reiterations of "What happened?"... and managed not to overreact when Danny then took both hands and splashed a ton of water out of the tub onto the floor. As calmly as I could, I picked up his towel and said, "Okay. Time to get out now." I didn't even care if he was clean at that point (fortunately he was). Somehow I got him into diaper and shorts (it's ghastly hot today), and into his room.

I read him two books, started a video, and left. I thought we were done. Of course, it was "only" 7:00. I should have known better.

Bang. Slam. Chatter. Bare feet padding in and out of the bedroom, up and down the stairs. Dozens of patient (and a few not-so-patient) requests to get back into his room and go to bed.

Then he took his yellow ball (the ball we found at Wal-mart to replace the legendary orange ball that somehow got flushed down the toilet) and threw it down the stairs. "What happened?"

Well, duh. I didn't grace the obvious question with a response, being tired and hot (and again having a hot baby clinging to my body), and he marched down the steps and retrieved it. The second time he threw it, I was on my way up the steps with Sadie in my arms, and it missed my head by about six inches. I told him if he threw it again that I was going to put it away. "Do you understand?"


"Let me say it again, so you will. If you throw that ball again, I will put it away. And you will not be allowed to play with it again until tomorrow."

He did.

Without a word, I scooped it up and stashed it on a high shelf.

Oh, the tears! "I want my yellow ball. Give me my yellow ball!" Well. I couldn't very well back down. I told him over and over that he could have it first thing in the morning. So he said he wanted to sleep.

Ten minutes later, he was sobbing pitifully because he wanted to rewind a video that was already rewound. When I came in to help him, he immediately asked for that damn yellow ball again. I gave him the same answer, just as gently and lovingly as I could. And when I left, he was lying in his bed and pulling the quilt over his head.

"See you in the morning," I said.

"See you get my yellow ball," he replied, sleepy and blissfully confident that I would return momentarily with his prized possession.

"In the morning," I repeated. "After you sleep and wake up, when the sun wakes up. In the morning."

"See you get my yellow ball."



That was at 9:00. I think I just heard him crying again. >.<

But I know I'm doing the right thing.

I just wish I didn't care quite so much how he feels....

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