We lack discipline
Tyke is now at the stage where discipline is an important part of growing up. At least that’s what we’ve been told. For example, a common practice is to ensure the child sleeps in their own bed. Apparently it encourages independence. I think the real reason is that parents should get some “alone” time, but this is not something discussed outside of barely audible whispers.
We started this aspect of disciplining tyke almost a year ago. The transition was quite smooth. After the first few days of tantrums and alienation he took to his unique car-shaped bed (because he was crazy about cars then, trains now, I predict fire engines in a couple of years, airplanes and pilots soon after, rock bands as a teenager before settling into a practical desk job as an adult) without much fuss.
This continued for a long time till he fell ill a month ago. Terrible bout of cold and cough which lasted for an eternity, it seemed. The coughing bouts would be horrid at night as the temperature fell and he’d have fits lasting half a minute at a time. We found he slept better when he was with us. Every coughing-fit later he’d collapse onto the pillow, curl up into mommy and catch a few precious minutes of sleep, which meant we could too. Then the cycle would begin again. Despite the sleepless nights I think it was better for him because he was comforted by our presence.
The cough mercifully abated a couple of weeks ago and we went back to our routine. I came home from office last week, totally tired out. However there was work to be done and so I got down to it. Mommy San had had an equally tiring day and we both expected to drop dead for a night of dreamless sleep. We shunted tyke off to bed around ten. I settled into bed with a few obligatory tired curses, prayers for a better tomorrow, world peace, yada yada and hit the pillow with my eyes shut tight. Fast-forward one hour and I was wide awake. Mommy San was tossing and turning and I was keeping rhythm with some tossing and turning of my own. I was tired enough but I just couldn’t sleep. At 1am we thought we’d try some hot tea which turned out to be a useless idea by 2am. Then I tried something different. I scooped up tyke from his bed and brought him between us. As I snuggled into his warm neck and he snuggled into Mommy San’s, the last thing I remembered was the world fading away.
I woke up the next morning completely rested, happy and ready to weather more abuse at work with a smile on my face.
As I looked over at tyke, all warm and bundled between us, I thought of all those stentorian parenting articles and shook my head in shame. We had failed. We had no discipline.
Our presence comforted tyke but his presence comforted us too. It is so easy to forget the role children play in our lives because everyone is telling us how to be better at the role we play in their lives.
For now, Discipline has decided to take a break. Explore the countryside and maybe even take a running jump off a cliff.
As for me, I’m off to bed. That little bundle isn’t going to snuggle itself.