Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The fount of parental patience

I normally have an inexhaustible supply of patience when interacting with HP.  He dumps all his food on the floor for the tenth time that meal?  No problem.  He wants to read the same book ten times in a row?  Sure thing.  He is frustrated about some slight to his toddler self like the fact I do not let him run around the house with an uncapped pen writing on the walls?  I exude calm.

But yesterday, my fount of patience had run dry.  As a result, I engaged in some questionable parenting techniques as I entered survival mode.  The goal: make it to bedtime without completely losing my cool.  I started counting down the hours to bedtime at approximately 8 a.m.

HP is cutting his top eye teeth + has a cold that is preventing him from breathing through his nose + we are visiting my family so he is not in his usual environment.  That combination equaled little to no sleep on Sunday night.  He slept fitfully from 7 to 11 p.m., and from that point on was up at least every half hour.  I ended up just staying with him until the morning, but I am not sure that either of us slept for more than ten minutes at a time.  It was awful for both of us, and probably not so great for my aunt who was sleeping down the hall either.

I thought my tired child would take a nice long nap to make up for the broken nighttime sleep.  False.  He slept for an hour.  AN HOUR.  I ate lunch and read a book for the first part of his nap and then went to my room to try and sleep.  Less than two minutes after I crawled into bed he woke up.  Of course.

I had high hopes he would take a second nap since the child was exhausted.  Wrong again.  In an effort to tire him out with the vain hope that he would eventually take the much needed nap I took him outside.  In the cold.  While he was sick.  I did dress him warmly if that counts for anything.

While outside, HP found a tomato that had fallen in my father's garden.  He picked it up and started eating it.  After a few minutes, he dropped a piece, stepped on it, and smashed it into the patio with his shoe.  Then he ate it.  I felt like there should have been a sign flashing over my head that read: AWESOME PARENTING HAPPENING OVER HERE!  Because, really.  But I just could not muster up the energy to care.

I know I should have been more sympathetic to HP's plight.  The child was miserable all day.  And intellectually, I was.  But emotionally, I was angry that no nap for him = no nap for me.  Rational thought cannot gain traction in my sleep deprived mind.

Amazingly, we did make it to bedtime.  He was asleep at 6:30 and I followed an hour later.  With a large dose of Advil he did not wake up until 4:30, and eventually went back to sleep (in my bed) until 7 a.m.  And it was glorious.

Today is a new day.  HP is still sick, whiny, tired, and teething, but nine hours of consecutive sleep restored my reserve of patience.

Here's to hoping the worst is behind us so we can enjoy the rest of our vacation.

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