Topic Tuesday {When They’re Different Than You}

I know it’s not a surprise to any of you when I say that my kids are very different from me.  For one, they’re all boys and I’m most definitely a girl.  You can tell by the way I squeal when there’s a huge spider in the house and the way they don’t and just walk up to it and smush it with their bare hands.  (Apologies to my spider-friendly readers but we don’t catch and release outside.  We kill.)

There are times, however, when I’m completely gobsmacked at our differences.  In fact, at times they are so different from me that I don’t even know what to say or how to explain or even really be a good parent to them.

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love sleep.  My parents never had to give me a curfew when I was a teenager because I was always happily home by 9:30.  I just loved being in my bed and knew that in order to survive the following day I needed a good 10 or 11 hours of sleep.  You’re jealous of how cool I was, aren’t you?

But truly, I find such joy in the simple act of falling asleep.  Head rested on pillow, body relaxed and breathing deep, eyes closed and just finding peace in those moments before you drift off.  I even go so far as to contend that those of you who regularly fall asleep reading or watching a movie are robbing yourself of the preciousness of this time.  My husband is one of these and I tell him repeatedly to put down the book and just let the sleep happen.  Feel it. It is a most precious gift of God.

My boy feels the exact opposite of me.  As in, we couldn’t be more distant than on this topic.  He loathes bedtime.  Hates night.  Detests the act of falling asleep.

I’ve never really known what to do with this.  We’ve tried sleep props like special pillows and blankets and stuffies galore.  But he’s big now and these things don’t entice like they once did and even then they only did the trick for a night or two.  I know there’s something bigger to it for him.  Something unsettling, almost.  So we pray with him and for him and blessing over him each night.  We ask that he feel safe and peaceful and rest in the comfort of Jesus being near.  He still hates it.

It breaks my heart because I long for him to know the joy and peace that I do in crawling into bed and falling asleep.  I want him to know that this is a good thing.  Something God has given us to rest and rejuvenate our minds and hearts as well as our bodies.  But every night it’s the same thing.

I asked him about it tonight for the 47 billionth time.  Are you scared, I ask and he assures me no.  Is it the dark, I question and he shakes his little head back and forth emphatically.  Then what?  What is it?

His answer brought tears to my eyes.  I just feel too alone, mom.  Too. alone.

So we’re working on ways for him to feel less alone.  Did I mention he already shares his room?  Yeah, he does. His vision of ideal, seeings I asked, was 6 beds all lined up in a row in one room.  One for Mom and one for Dad and one for each of his brothers and then one for him and, of course, one for the dog.  I have a feeling that in his ideal his bed is also nestled in the middle of Bed Mom and Bed Dad.  But I didn’t ask.  I didn’t want him to overthink it.

So we’re working on a new bedtime routine.  More together time and snuggles before bed.  Longer getting ready routines instead of our sometimes harried rush.  Less alone leading up to bedtime so that come bedtime he’s already feeling smothered and loved in the ways we want him too.  In the ways we do.

What about you?  Are there ways that your kids are so different then you?  How do you parent them in it when you can’t quite grasp the way they think?  Do any of your kids have sleep/night issues?  Have you found something that helps?  I’d love to know…

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2 thoughts on “Topic Tuesday {When They’re Different Than You}

  1. I have been blessed – my girls seem to love sleep just as much as I do. (Well, except for the whole waking up at 5:30 thing). We started a great bedtime routine from infancy on – they get their glass of milk (or juice), we snuggle and read 2 books (or chapters) a piece. We sometimes chat a little about the good and bad during the day, sing two songs each, say prayers, hugs, kisses and then a little Norah Jones to fall asleep. Some days I just want to point to their rooms and say “Go to bed” and have them go and get themselves in bed and go to sleep with no effort from me, but to be honest, even on those days I really do enjoy the little routine myself. We’ve very rarely had to endure the typical stall tactics – I need a drink (they’ve already had one), I have to go to the bathroom (they do that when they get their PJs on). However, recently they have been requesting to sleep together – in the same bed (they already share the same room). Some times when I check on them before I go to bed, I will find them fast asleep in the same bed. So, not sure if it’s feasible for you, or if the brothers would be on board, but would it be possible to have a shared bed to not feel so lonely? Of course, the size of the bed and the size of the children would play a role too. We only have twin size beds, which works right now because they’re so small yet, however, I did offer to push their two beds right next to each other.

    As for being extremely different – I keep waiting for it. Right now it kinda scares me to see two little mini Me’s running around. Of course, we all have our differences, but there hasn’t been anything yet that I just haven’t been able to GET. One likes salty things – more like her dad. One likes sweet things – more like me. Little things like that – but those, I get. I’m thinking that as they grow I will tend to see more and more differences, but right now it kinda scares me to have to parent – well….me. 🙂

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  2. That’s a great routine you have there, Lara! We’ve always had a fairly simple routine but as they get older it tends to get shifted more often than not. One has youth group and needs to be picked up, another needs more help with homework or a project they’re working on, or they’re all running about the neighbourhood with their friends and we’re so happy that they are that we don’t call them in for an extra 15 minutes and then frantically hustle them into bed.
    Of course, it’s also easier as they get older because they brush there teeth on their own and can button up there own jammy’s (if they wear them at all) but sleep for him has always been an issue.
    He would LOVE to share a bed with one of his brothers and sometimes they do but he’s not fun to sleep with. He flails and snuggles and the other boys want nothing to do with that. Can’t blame them one bit.
    We’re going to try taking their bunks down and putting them side by side in the room instead just to see if that’s better for him. But I really feel that even doing that will only be good for a few nights and then something lingering will bother him.

    I’ve told him this might just be his “hard” thing. We all have one (or many!) and nighttime might be his. So we just keep praying and falling asleep and trust that God has a plan, even in this 🙂

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