Saturday, June 7, 2014

No Nap Luke

I'm sure you know that I have three children.  Recently, I feel as if I have gained a fouth.  And this one is a problem child.  His name is No Nap Luke.  At five, my sweet wonderful child has grown out of his daily nap.  We have instituted quiet time where he sits upstairs in our loft with a cozy blanket and a pile of books.  His instructions are to rest on the couch and read or close his eyes.  Sometimes he sleeps and sometimes he doesn't.  And it is painful when he doesn't.

"Well, it looks like I'm not going to be able to go swimming," he said breezily as he walked inside with one of my shoes in his hand.  Puzzled, I asked for some clarification.  "I just hit Drew in the nose with your shoe.  You said if I did one more thing, I couldn't go swimming," he explained.  As he spoke, he spun around in circles with his arms outstretched hitting me in the legs with each rotation.  "Thanks for your honesty, pal.  No swimming then," I said to him as I walked out to check on his brother's nose.

This had been the fourth of fifth infraction in fifteen minutes.  He had thrown a ball at his brother's head while my toddler was trying to color, dumped a full toy dump truck load of dirt on his head while they played in the dirt pile and ripped multiple toys out of his brother's hands for no reason whatsoever.  Each time, I removed him from the situation, took away a privilege and seperated them.  It was making me nuts.  Insane.  Looney.  

He hadn't slept in four days and the wear and tear was visible.  He had racoon eyes, an inability to concentrate, a need to be in constant motion and absolutely no self control.  Meet No Nap Luke, my problem child:

So what's a mom to do?  Call her mom because, well, there's nothing like her opinion.  "Make his ass take a nap!" she said in her no nonsense tone.  "But Mom, he won't sleep.  I tell him to rest and he won't sleep.  He's worse every day - It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion!" I moaned.  "You are in charge," she reminded me.  "Tell him he can't come down until he sleeps.  If he doesn't sleep until night, then he stays until night.  Let him know that part of being a big boy means recognizing when he's too tired and resting.  Until he can do that himself, you are going to decide for him," she said confidently.  I wanted to feel that same confidence.  I wanted to believe that I could banish No Nap Luke from my home.  So I tried it.

I repeated her words verbatim and he stared at me with those wide racoon eyes.  "So...I have to sleep?" he asked.  "Yes.  You don't have an option," I said hoping to sound authoritative.  "Okay!" he said.  And he went to sleep for three hours.  I could've run to my mother's house and kissed her.

Even as they get older, we have to remember that it's our job to set their boundaries.  We can give them some leeway but if they can't handle that much responsibility, it's time to reign them in.  At the end of the day, we are in charge.  (Repeat this as many times as necessary throughout your day).  Their bad behavior is our problem to solve.  It is not "just the way they are".  Bad behavior is unacceptable and it is ultimately up to us to figure out how to get them over whatever issue they are currently dealing with.  And if you can't, you can always call your mom.  Or mine - She's always willing to help.

Do you have certain behaviors that you have accepted as "Just the way they are"?  How can you become the boss and take back control?

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