Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nightime Parenting

Due to the fact that I have both an extremely loud family and extremely thin walls our neighbors were probably able to hear the following conversation last Thursday night around 1:30 AM:


"Amira, we have looked everywhere in your room. There are no snakes. There are no snakes in Hawaii at all. If there were snakes I would NEVER let them come in your room. We are asleep next door. Everyone is asleep. You need to GO TO SLEEP."

15 minutes later, same deal except this time I sound more like this:

"If you go to sleep and forget about the snake/Grinch/cockroaches I will give you 5 pieces of pink gum in the morning. If you don't go to sleep you won't be able to play with any of your friends and we will stay home ALL DAY. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? You MUST go to sleep and be quiet. Love you (said begrudgingly, as I closed the door tightly)"

As indicated by the all caps lettering, I wasn't exactly whispering most of my speech. I was exhausted and frustrated and out of ideas. Although I wasn't exactly yelling at Amira I knew my parenting wasn't at its best, and as I cuddled up to Mohamed and hoped Amira would finally be quiet, I found myself crying. I cried to Mohamed about how frustrated I was at myself for treating Amira like that. I was so irritated with her I thought my head would explode, and all I wanted to was make her be quiet. I felt myself completely out of patience and ideas. (note, although it seem like a logical solution, we couldn't just bring Amira in bed with us because she is truly a violent sleeper, and we knew none of us would sleep.)

So, I prayed. I said a simple, pleading prayer for God to help me see Amira as He sees her. And for a moment, I think I really did. I thought of my sweet baby, afraid in the other room, not wanting to sleep and certainly not wanting to be alone. I recalled the feeling of injustice I had towards bedtime as a small child, and how I would hold onto my mom's shirt as she laid by me so that I would wake-up when she tried to leave.

I climbed out of bed and went back into Amira's room. I told her stories and sang her songs and even left her lamp on all night long (sorry, Earth). I crawled in bed comforted and awed by the honor it is to raise my stubborn, complex, beautiful daughter.

1 comment:

amy said...

patience is a virtue. patience in the middle of the night is more than a virtue. it is mind-blowing. it is like cirque de soliel of emotions.

i have heard you talk to amira lots of times when you are really frustrated, so there are witnesses to attest that frustrated-you is better than most moms on a good day. just sayin'.

i am no prize when my sleep is interrupted. i fear for the safety of my little hypotheticals should they disturb my slumber.

thanks for being honest about the parts of parenting that are hard. i think it makes people feel not-so-alone because, let's face it, life ain't easy. especially at three in the morning.