When my kids go to bed, I am done. I clock out. I don’t do dishes, I don’t clean, I don’t pick up. I am done. I consciously set this rule when Aviana was young, and started having a regular bedtime. It was delicious to have her in bed at seven and have three or four hours all to me.
As I added more kids and the kids grew older, that time has grown to be more and more precious…and precarious. The girls are old enough now that by the time they are really settled and quiet, it can be nine or nine thirty. I try to be in bed by 11.
My kids all stop napping somewhere around two and a half, and then the training of quiet time begins. It isn’t realistic for a three year old to play by himself for the entire two hours the baby naps, so I truly don’ t get any time by myself most days.
Tonight, I was planning on painting the new play space. I’m doing a mural which I hope will be awesome.
At nine-ish, Aviana came down in tears. Brielle was being mean to her and she was feeling frustrated. I desperately wanted to send her back to bed. (JUST GO TO BED! HOW HARD CAN IT BE?)
But I didn’t. I held my great big gangling nine year old on my lap. We looked at pictures of when she was younger. I listened to her complaints and frustrations of being the oldest of five. I stroked her cheeks. I silently marveled at her sweet growing self. I petted her hair. I heard her (lengthy) descriptions of what she goes through. I didn’t offer advice. I just heard her. I was here.
I truly didn’t want to be. I was trying to not look at the clock.
I just was here. I just held her.
It was after ten, and much too late to start painting. She was still teary. But she said “It makes me feel better to talk about it.”
And she went to bed.