Fun Punishers: Why My Kids Make Me Want to Be a Hermit

Ugh.  It never fails.  No really, it. never. ever. fails.  Every single time Jon and I have fun things planned for the weekend, one of our girls (usually la Gabbers) decides to pitch a complete nutty–sapping us of the will to live, much less enjoy ourselves, and making us wonder why we ever willingly got on the kid-coaster to begin with.

Tonight, Jon an I are supposed to go out to dinner to celebrate our 9 years of wedded-often-bliss.  He made reservations at one of the new, hip restaurants in town, he arranged for a sitter, and I…well, for once, I didn’t have to do much for this date.  We’ve also got our first camping trip with Maddie on Saturday (Gabbie is going to stay with my aunt and uncle, who hopefully won’t read this before then, or they may decide to retract their offer), which promises to be a late night with less-than-optimal sleep.  So, there’s stuff going on–potentially fun stuff, but stuff.

And, right on cue, what does Gabbie decide to do last night?  She fun-punishes, like a boss.  First, it took her three tries to even go to bed last night.  It was 8:30 before she managed to actually go to sleep.  Then, just as we were about to call it a night, around 10, she starts crying.  Going in to pick her up, it was pretty clear she wasn’t about to let me try to put her back to sleep (She started doing this back-arching, growly crying thing that she does.  It’s about as pleasant as it sounds.), so I took her downstairs and asked her daddy to turn off Fringe, which I had just succeeded in convincing him to start watching (See?  More fun-punishment.), and turn on Bob Ross because there is literally nothing else in the history of the world more relaxing than “The Joy of Painting.”  Unless you’re Gabbie…

At 10:30, she’s still wide-awake, but Jon decides that he needs to go to bed.  After all, he has to work in the morning.  (Yes, yes, you’re right.  I had to work, too.  The injustice of all of this is most definitely not lost on me.  Also, I may be slightly bitter.  I blame all the sleeplessness.)  At 11, I can barely keep my eyes open, so I try taking her back up to bed.  We rock, and we sing, and we talk to our zebra and baby, and we squirm, and we yell, and we talk some more.  11:45–I try just putting her down and leaving the room.  And it works!  For 3 minutes…  Then she’s growl-crying again, and after 5 minutes, when I go back in, she’s standing in her crib crying, having thrown both the zebra and the baby to the floor in a fit of passion, which she now regrets.  (I assume.  I honestly have no idea what goes on in this child’s head.  Clearly…)  Since rocking now equals screaming, I take her back downstairs and really bring in the big guns–a David Attenborough documentary about the birds of paradise.  Surely, lovely pictures of colorful birds and lush jungle paired with Mr. Attenborough’s sheer Britishy-ness…  No, as I doze my way through the documentary, it’s clear that she’s still very much awake.  She’s watching, but she’s also messing about with her sippy cup and talking to the cats.

Nature documentary having failed, I schlep her back upstairs and just put her in bed.  It goes about as well as everything else has, but now Jon is complaining that she’s crying, and do I honestly think just leaving her in there is doing any good?  Um, no, I do not, but considering that she thwarts any and all attempts to put her to sleep…  Back in I go.  First, I get rid of the damn baby.  It’s hard and plastic, and I have no idea why she wants to sleep with it anyway, except that she’s going through a baby-phase right now.  Secondly, I force, force, her to sit in my lap and rock.  I hum “Sweet and Low” over and over and overandoverandoverandoverandover.  Finally, she is tired.  Her eyes are half-closed, and she’s still, but she still. will. not. go. to. sleep.  I mentally say “Screw it,” I put her back in bed, and I leave.  Falling into bed, I mutter to Jon, “I’m done.  I’m going to sleep.  If her crying bothers you, feel free to do something about it.”  Five minutes later, she is asleep.  It is one-frikking-thirty in the morning.  She woke up at 6:30–because she pooped her pants.

Still not sleepy...

As a one-off, this seems funny, but she does this all the time.  It’s like she has a sixth-sense for parental fun, and as soon as we plan something, her alarm bells go off.  She’s like the Grinch, except for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, not just Christmas.  (Christmas, too, though.  Of course.)  I know you all think I’m exaggerating, but seriously, if you hang out with us, think back–how many times, when we’ve gotten together, have I said, “I’m just exhausted!  Gabbie had a terrible night last night.  She was up for 2/3/4 hours, just up.”  Yeah…  You know I’m right.  Our kids are Fun Punishers, and I’m going to go live by myself in a cave (once I have the energy).

Oh, and “Nana?”  One word, one single word, about how well she slept for you last week, and I will personally prank call you every night at 3 a.m. for the next month.  Why not?  It’s not like I won’t be awake anyway.  🙂