Sunday, September 30, 2018

When parenting goes a little less perfectly

"Whatever you're doing, don't stop! It's working!"

That's what Rachel's teacher told me at parent/teacher conferences.

If only she knew...

Benjamin slept in until nearly noon today, which is highly unusual for him. I woke him up a few times before he finally got up, but he kept falling back asleep. When he finally got out of bed, his sisters teased him a bit about needing breakfast when everyone else was feeling ready for lunch.

"What?" he asked peevishly. "I stayed up all night watching television, so of course I'm tired!"

"You did not stay up all night watching television!" they said.

"I did so!" he insisted.

He seemed so genuinely honest that I began to wonder if he had. I went to his bed and found Andrew's iPad with a set of headphones. The battery had been completely drained.

Andrew was out doing the grocery shopping so I texted him to ask him if we'd possibly forgotten to tell Benjamin to go to bed last night.

It was another canning night—this time we were doing pears. I started peeling pears around 7:00 and we were still doing pears when Rachel and Miriam had finished with their show and came downstairs to say goodnight. Benjamin should have previously finished his show so we figured he'd already fallen asleep.

"It's only 9:30," they begged. "Can we stay up to help with the pears?"

I'm not one to turn down help when it's offered (usually, at least I try to accept help when it's offered (sometimes that's harder than it sounds)) so the girls ended up stuffing jars with prepared pears. It ended up being quite helpful because the jars we've been working with are hand-me-down jars from a neighbour and they're all narrow-mouthed (or is it regular-mouthed?) so grown up hands don't fit inside the jar very well (wide-mouthed jars are much easier for a grown up to pack full of fruit). The girls were able to fit an impressive number of pears inside their jars.

We got the first batch in the canner, sent the big girls to bed, and got our second batch ready to go. Once that was in the canner, Andrew and I went upstairs to rest for a while. It was just after 11:00 and we were worn out from the day. We had strawberry milkshakes (we'd made milkshakes for the kids earlier) and watched a show. But first we'd checked on the kids.

The girls were in bed, the baby was swaddled in his crib, Zoë was softly snoring, and Benjamin was tangled up in his blankets as still and quiet as can be. So we closed their doors and collapsed on the couch.

Around 12:30 we were getting ready for bed, which meant that it was time to take Zoë for her mid-night potty break. I don't know why it's taking so long for her to get the hang of staying dry all night long. Potty training Benjamin was a train wreck, I know, but her older sisters both took only a few weeks to catch on waking themselves to go potty (and then just sleeping through the night without wetting the bed). We've been waking her up at night for about a year now. Ugh.

Anyway, Andrew's hand was on the doorknob when the door suddenly opened and out skipped Benjamin, rather merrily. "I just have to go to the bathroom," he sang.

Andrew and I shot each other a look that questioned how asleep that child had been...but it was midnight so surely he was just...feeling peppy?

And then he was quite insistent that Andrew hurry and put Zoë back to bed and close the door behind him. He said it was because he has trouble sleeping with the light on but now we're wondering if it was so that he could get back to his secret show-watching. He'd been given instructions to watch one episode and then his show time was over. But who was he to argue with the autoplay function Netflix so generously provides?

I had Andrew check how much of his show he'd gone through. We don't know how much he actually watched (because he did eventually fall asleep) but the iPad played 32 episodes of How to Train Your Dragon (S1E3 to S3E9—that's twelve hours' worth of show time!) and he has been spouting dragon trivia all day long so I'm going to guess he watched a lot (very still and quiet, all wrapped up in his blanket (he often sleeps with his blanket over his face, which I don't like the same time I can't really it was a very good decoy)).*

Needless to say, regardless of how awesome Benjamin thought last night was, we aren't going to be having a repeat any time soon! Though his sisters are very well trained to ask before they start more episodes than they've previously bargained with us for, he definitely took advantage of our trust.

Perhaps our parenting could use a little tweaking after all!

* He also mentioned falling asleep at some point, but with the headphones still on. Some point later on, the noise coming from the headphones woke him up. So what did he do? He watched some more until he fell asleep again!


  1. For me, it was a book and a flashlight. I usually slept with my head under the covers, too.

    1. I can't stand putting my head under the covers, though burrowing didn't bother me as much when I was younger.