Last night William went to bed at 11 pm, after a two-hour stand-off during which he woke up his sister at least four times, culminating in Adam and I turning all the lights off in the house and going to bed without any adult time. Well at least he's going to sleep in, right?
This morning at 6am my son, who normally wakes up between 7:30 and 8am (all other parents, feel free to hate me now), got up screaming his head off, as if he had only just paused for a breath and was now resuming his tantrum.
The rest of the morning went neutrally. No stickers went up on his "good listening" chart, but I had no impulse to tear any off either. After lunch, I decided that we should take advantage of the nice weather and head outside. William thought this was a great idea, he just had to watch one more racing crashing car video on youtube first.
We ended up on our way to the park a block from my house. I didn't bring the stroller, so I was holding Jadzia by the hand while William ran ahead (he knows to stop at the corner and hold hands to cross the road). My 15-month-old has become a fairly good walker in recent months, but her legs are shorter than the rest of us and it took a long time to walk this way. William kept running ahead, then running back to us, then running ahead again. Immediately after we got there, he noticed that he forgot to bring hotwheels cars to drive down the slide and wanted to go home and get some. Just play without them, said I.
Not knowing what to do with himself, William went down the slide once, then lay down in the sand. Jadzia put about five handfuls of sand into her mouth, one after another, and cheerfully cooed "Noooo!" when I tried to stop her.
I remarked that William looked tired and he leapt up and started throwing sand (an obvious no-no). I told him we had to leave because neither of them were playing with the sand properly. I could've given more warnings, but then sometimes kids misbehave because they want to go home.
William burst into tears and started screaming. I know that people tend to use the term "screaming" when a kid is only crying. This is not what I mean. The sound that came out of William's mouth was an ear-piercing, high-pitched noise, somewhere between a rabid squirrel and a horror-movie heroine. I grabbed a squirming Jadzia by the waste, and held William's hand as gently as I could while he thrashed around trying to get away. With his free hand he hit and scratched me, and my left forearm now looks as if it has been mauled by a miniature wolverine. The school kids and teachers were out for recess, and observed the whole horrifying ordeal.
He calmed down soon after we got home and I lay down in bed with him. Of course as soon as he started to doze off he jumped out of bed and ran back to the computer. The only guaranteed way to get William down for a nap is to drive him to sleep. I mean literally drive him to sleep in a car.
I was completely honest with him. I told him that I thought he was tired enough for a nap and that he would probably fall asleep if we drove anywhere. I would drive towards Ikea. If I was right, and he fell asleep, we I would drive home and put him to sleep. If I was wrong, and he was still awake when we got to Ikea, then I would let him play in the ballroom. This was a win-win deal for me. Either I get a napping child, or someone else can deal with him for an hour. (Why don’t more stores have these ball-rooms?)
At first I wanted him to sleep, but as we got halfway there I started liking the idea of having a peaceful snack in the Ikea cafeteria. And then they both fell asleep and I drove home.