Monday, December 9, 2013

Our New Bedtime Routine

We just finished up our evening round of games which included Sequence for Kids, Snap and Dominos. It's his favorite thing to do lately. Also on the list: Go Fish, Memory, War, Rummy and Bingo - all part of an 8 game Toy Story themed game set. We've been playing morning and night for like 3 weeks. I like games but I've started limiting the evening to 2 or 3 instead of all of them cause I'm getting kind of gamed out:) Oh and hide n seek - he loves that one too. I try to work a show or bath or both in there just to break it up. My brain is kind of fried after a full day at work so I can only do so many games. It is pretty neat to watch him playing though and see how much he loves it and gets excited about it. When some family were in town - it was neat watching him play with them too - he just gets so proud and acts like such a big boy. It's sweet and a little bit sad cause he's growing up so fast.

Mihretu's thing lately is to hug me and say "I miss you - I haven't seen you in a really long long time" which is pretty cute and sweet, even though he says it on days when I've seen him for several days in a row. Ha ha I'll take the extra snuggles and sweetness any day though.

I posted on facebook about a week ago and asked for some advice from other moms - adoptive and otherwise - just because we were having an ongoing issue at bedtime. Mihretu still sleeps with me and no matter how much I try to convince him to sleep in his room, he's just not ready to be alone period. So he sleeps with me. I'm kind of used to it now, even though he is a huge bed hog and I often get woken up multiple times in the night by little feet in my ribs. A body pillow I bought to put in between has really been a huge help though.

Anyway, so the frustration at bedtime is that Mihretu has been over the top with the physical touch - and not in a snuggly sweet way but in a "I'm going to poke and prod mommy's face and mess with her eyebrows, lips and mouth in the most annoying invasive way possible" sort of way. Seriously, I have felt like I might all out lose my mind a few times it was so over the top. I've tried nicely telling him to stop. I've tried ignoring it. I've even lost my cool quite a number of times and yelled. None of those things worked. Telling him I didn't like it and wanted him to stop made him do it more and think it was pretty funny to get mommy worked up and annoyed. Yelling didn't work either - when does it ever? It only makes me mad at myself for losing my cool and letting it get to me. Anyway, I was desperate for ideas and had finally come to the conclusion that it wasn't good to ignore it and let him keep doing that. I finally realized it wasn't mean to not let him do it - it wasn't doing him any favors by letting it go on - he needs to learn to respect people's privacy and not do things that make people uncomfortable. I finally realized this was not a physical affection adoption thing or anything that would mess up our attachment by stopping - it was something I needed to set some major boundaries with. I was so appreciative of all the great feedback I got online and that night I calmly decided to take some of the advice and put it into practice.

It wasn't always just at bedtime either. That very night we had been at the Lighting of the Green Christmas concert outdoors at Lipscomb University where Amy Grant and others sing and they light the big tree. Well, as he was sitting on my lap and we were listening to the show - he started doing the face touching, poking, prodding thing and basically driving me crazy. I ended up getting so frustrated that we just left - we got there early to get a good spot and ended up leaving only 3 songs in cause he wouldn't sit still and he was touching my face over the top. Public places are always harder anyway. So we left and came home. I posted the status and started getting feedback about things to do. And right before bed, I'm standing in the kitchen and here comes little man behind me while I'm standing at the counter and he starts poking me in the bottom very annoyingly and inappropriately. I told him to stop. He laughed and did it harder. I said calmly "if you poke mommy's bottom again, I will put you in time out". He didn't take me seriously and he ended up right in time out. Our time out is a little kid size chair in his bedroom next to his bed. I carried him in there and sat him in the chair and told him to stay there until I came back. I said "I'm going to finish opening the mail and then I'll come get you". As soon as I walked out of the room, I could hear him get up. I said "you better sit back in the chair until I come get you or you are not reading bedtime stories at bed". He knows I'm serious cause he has lost bedtime books many times. So then he got back in the chair but started crying. I never close the door but I do leave the room. At first, I didn't leave the room cause of some of the stuff they talked about at adoption conferences and doing time in but I will tell ya what - time in didn't work at all for him. It only feels like he's in trouble for him if he has to sit there and mommy walks out of the room. He hates that. And it makes him listen next time I tell him something cause he doesn't want to sit in time out. Now, time out only consists of him sitting there for like a minute so don't go thinking it's like 10 minutes or anything crazy like that. It's very brief. Just long enough to get the point across. So I went in and got him out and he calmed down immediately when I said "ok you can get up, now it's time for bedtime books". He was relieved he still got to have books. And he did because he got back in the chair like I asked. I calmly said to him "Buddy, you got put in time out cause you were poking mommy in the bottom and I don't like that. And I don't like my face being touched all the time either. So from now on, if you touch mommy's face at bedtime, you'll have to go back in the time out chair." If I knew that was all it took - I would have done it a year ago! It worked beautifully. He almost touched my face a few times out of habit and stopped himself. I praised him for being such a good listener. And it's going on almost a week now without that being an issue. Sometimes he starts to do it and I remind him he will have to sit in time out if he doesn't respect mommy's space and that works. My goodness - bedtime is like 999% more enjoyable for me now and probably for him too since mommy isn't getting upset all the time. Praise the Lord! It's the little things people that will either drive you crazy or that you'll be so appreciative of when they go the way you hope.

So now we get to lay down and I ask him about his day at school - usually the things he remembers from the day are not the things he worked on but who got hurt or in trouble. It's pretty cute when he gets going telling me and then it sparks his memory and he remembers more and more things from the day. I love listening to him tell me all about it. And then he likes us both to get under the covers and hide from "sharks coming" as he likes to pretend. Under there, I put the indiglo light on my watch so we can see each other. Then like 20 seconds later, we both say "it's hot under here" and get out, done with that and ready for sleep. I say "Goodnight, I love you" most of the time and so now he says it before me. Then he gives me a kiss or hug and rolls over and falls asleep. I hope this keeps up. It is much better having him sleep with me when this is our bedtime routine versus him jumping all around, not holding still and mauling me half to death and driving my half crazy with face touching. Praise Jesus for this breakthrough!!!!

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