“And they all lived happily ever after,” I ad lib as I close the final book of the evening. “Alright cutie pie, time for bed.”
Immediately her body stiffens.
“No. I don’t want to.”
“I know you don’t honey, but it’s a school day tomorrow. You’ve got to get your sleep.”
Now she slides down to the floor, eyes darkening to holy-shit-there’s-trouble-coming blue. “No. I’m not going to bed,” she says, stomping her foot.
“Oh yes. You are,” I say, calmly. “Now, do you want to get into bed yourself, or should I pick you up and carry you…like a baby?”
“No was not a choice, dear.”
Her frowning eyebrows sink practically through her chin. And then she screams.
I sigh. “Alright. You want to do this again, huh? Time for a time out.”
Then I pick her up and firmly place her in her big blue chair. She slides out, and I do it again. She shimmies out of my arms, and I do it again. She tries to kick me, and I put her in her chair, say “good night,” and quietly close the door.
That’s not the end, of course. By the time it’s over, she will have yelled, screamed, sobbed, and told me she doesn’t like me anymore. I will have a headache. But she will eventually settle down, realizing she’s not going to win. And she will go to bed, telling me how much she loves me.
I fucking hate the battle, but I’m fighting it the only way I know how. The way all the books tell me to do it. The way even Super Nanny does it.
Sometimes I worry that something’s wrong with her. Especially when she does this at daycare, and they tell me they don’t know what to do with her.
But when I search the internet? Looking for things like “my 3 1/2 year old still throws fits?” I learn that, yep, she’s pretty normal. A terrorist, sure, but acting within the bounds of expected 3 1/2 year old behavior, nonetheless.
That makes me feel a little better. Until I realize that my little terrorist is still upstairs, and I have yet to find a fairy godmother who can make these tantrums disappear.
But my mother assures me that when she turns four, this will all be over. Four, she says, is the most wonderful year of a child’s life.
I sure as heck hope she’s right on this one. Because I? Am counting the days (79) until she turns four.
So, tell me, dear readers, is there hope? A dim light at the end of the tunnel? If there isn’t, just lie to me, okay?