Just one more kiss

As I type this, Avery, my 2.8 year old, is in her crib.  Crying, thanks to me, her terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad mom.

Since my kids were wee(er than they are), we’ve had the same bedtime routine.  It evolves slightly as they age, but it’s always maintained the same formula.  I have always either sang them songs or read them books, tucked them in, gave them a kiss and said this, word-for-word, to both:

‘Night.

I love you.

Have a good night’s sleep.

See you in the morning.

Wake up happy.

And then they’d put themselves to sleep.  It’s always the same.  We struggle with hugs and kisses between sisters because Avery is a goof and likes to push my buttons and Eirinn is a germophobe who refuses to kiss her sister on the lips.

One of my buttons that Avery loves to push is my intolerance for dawdling.  Stalling, if you will.  Avery is a master and it drives me BANANAS.  What started as that simple routine I outlined above has become much, much more.  She’s manipulated the system and pulled at my heartstrings so many times that now her routine is books with Eirinn, hugs and kisses between them, then I have to take her pee (again, she goes before books, too), rock her in her glider while singing a song, then we do ONE MEEEEEELLION kisses.  One for her, one for me, one for AH, one for Eirinn, one special one, one more so she doesn’t cry (that’s what she says “one more so I don’t cry”).  Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum.

I’ve been hesitant to draw the line because of my crazy.  Mah cray-cray.  I have this thing and the thought is tightening my chest right now.  I can’t help but think “what if this is the last time I’ll see her.”  What if something unspeakable happens in the night?  I would never forgive myself for not singing one last song or giving her one last kiss.  If she wants one more moment of my time, I would forever regret not giving it to her simply out of principle.

But the sane part of me realizes that she’s on to this.  She knows moms can’t say no to a snuggle or a kiss and so she uses that to prolong the inevitable.  So tonight I drew the line.  We read, we sang, we snuggled.  I gave her five kisses and five hugs.  But she wanted one more.  I told her no, that it was time to sleep.  And that’s why she was in her crib crying, wailing for me to come back and give her another kiss.

It’s killing me inside.  It’s just a kiss.  It’s just one more kiss.  What’s the harm?  Well, the harm is tonight it’s just one kiss.  Tomorrow it’ll be one more kiss and maybe one more song.  The night after will be a kiss, a song, and another story.  You see what I mean?  Where does it end?  I know from experience that it doesn’t end until I end it.

And so, I did.  And I made her cry.  And it’s killing me.

***

UPDATE: It was killing me.  Apparently it was also killing AH who, after a half an hour, went up and brought her down for her to get that kiss she so desperately needed.

And now she’s asleep.

***

This whole post reminds me of this:

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22 thoughts on “Just one more kiss

  1. Jen,
    I have done the very same thing with my boys for the last 10 years. The “what ifs” such as, what if they die in their sleep can drive you crazy but in the end one more kiss never killed anyone – although it may drive you to want to jump out the window. I used to do a secret hand shake ending with one kiss with my boys. Each one had a different handshake and when it was complete, it was time for bed. Each one loved having something totally special with Mommy and most nights couldn’t wait to do the handshake/kiss and go to sleep.

    • I tried to do something similar to that. The last kiss (or what was SUPPOSED to be the last kiss) was a “special kiss”. We did a big MWAAAAAH!!! at the end. I thought that would work, but it didn’t. Maybe something else will work.

  2. I feel your pain. My daughter (my 2nd child, the youngest) prolongs the routine until we are all practically yelling and miserable. I work with a wise woman who has children in college, and recently after I went on and on about how my daughter was making me bat-shit crazy, she said simply, “I wish my kids’ problems now could be solved with just another hug.” Wow, I can’t tell you how that statement has stuck with me and changed my perspective . . . on most nights but not all. At some point, it’s not just them wanting one more hug, it’s us mothers trying to maintain just one more shred of sanity.

  3. My youngest does the same thing to me, and it kills me too. I also had to put my foot down, but I sneak back in after he’s asleep for just one more, for just in case.

  4. I do something similar with my grandma (and my mom does it with her, too.) While I wrote a “More…Infinity!” post about it, the summary is that I always leave and tell her I love her. Her reply is always, “I love you more,” to which I say, “No, more, more, more…” and we go back in forth until I run out the door screaming “More!” and shut it before she can yell back. The nurses looked at me funny at first, but now they get it ;)

  5. I’m not a mom (obv), but I think you’re doing the right thing. I mean, my cats so do that to me. but I have to be a good furmom and put my foot down. ;)

  6. I do this with my youngest son (he’ll be 3 in June). When I start to get really irritated, I remind myself of two things. 1. All of the running up and down (and up and down and up and down…) the stairs MUST count as some form of exercise. 2. Someday my sweet boy who is begging for my kisses and hugs won’t want them anymore. I’m saving up all of the kisses in my “I have teenage boys who are WAY too cool for their dorky mom” piggy bank.
    AMo

  7. This post really resonates for me. My little girl has recently become quite a handful at night, and many a bedtime ends with more screaming and gnashing of teeth (on both our parts) than I’d like. I usually end up feeling horrible about it a half hour later for all the same neurotic reasons.

    Anyway, I don’t have any sage advice — I just wanted you to know that what you wrote touched me and, FWIW, I think you’re doing the right thing. Thanks, Jen.

    • I do that neurotic thing all day long. Makes disciplining them horrible. I mean, they get their time-outs and their scoldings, obviously, but I think about it WAY too much.

  8. I know how you feel. a) we have bedtime routines too, which always end with me saying to them (and they repeating back to me) “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, love you, see you in the morning” every. night. without. fail. First with Lexy, then Caity joined us and now the three of us do this every. night. Heaven forbit we should alter the routine and not have a hug and a kiss – Caity goes ballistic. She doesn’t get kisses when she’s throwing a fit and she hates that – we don’t reward bad behaviour. When she’s calm again, the kisses and hugs come back. On occasion we’ll get the “you don’t love me because I’m baaadddd….” sobs. Then we gently remind her that we’ll ALWAYS love her, no matter what.
    b) I’m also so afraid that I’ll never see them again for some reason. I’ve always made sure that when I strap them into the car, I say “I love you” and give them a kiss. When I drop them off at daycare, “I love you” and give them a kiss. When I we go to the store … I think you get the idea. I don’t ever want them to think, even for a moment, that I don’t love them as much as I do. You never know when your time will come, and it doesn’t hurt to say it, one more time…don’t sweat it Jen … Avery’s just trying, in her way, to be in charge. It’s a power trip … just wait until she’s 15 ;-)

    • I dread the teenage years with her. Eirinn, I have confidence will be a breeze in comparison. But Avery will be VERY difficult. I have no illusions otherwise.

  9. I used to do that to my folks but it wasn’t because I was trying to manipulate, it was because I was OCD. I’m not saying Avery is, but jut thought I would share.

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  11. I’ve heard way too many stories of things happening to babies in their sleep. I could barely type that. I have a tremendous amount of guilt for being a working Mom, although I really can’t stay home nor would I want to. So, at night, sometimes I rock him past the point of being asleep and even though I have a million things to do I can’t put him in his crib. I think the same things you do.

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