Last night was the biggest mommy screw up of my mommyhood experience. And I have a LOT so you know it is huge!
You already know how exhausting our bedtime routine is. And if not, please feel free to catch up, shake your head, and send coffee after reading Bedtime Ain’t for Sissies.
So yesterday, after being up with Katie past 11pm, being up with her from 2- 3:30am, and then having her wake up at 7am, I decided she needed some serious sleep. If only to save a day of major frustration dealing with a very tired child!
I gave her a small dose of melatonin. It took four hours, but she finally fell asleep on my floor and slept until 3pm. She so needed it!
But last night, of course, she was in no way ready for bed at 7. Or 8. or 9. Or 10. In fact, at 11:45, when I thought she was asleep in her room, I went to check on my kids, and her light was on and she was putting on a fashion show.
The routine of putting her in bed, kissing her, and walking away among protests started. At about 12:30am, she seemed to be really asleep.
I came into my office and typed and listened for a while.
Convinced she was asleep, I turned on my nightly guilty pleasure of murder and mystery on the Investigation Channel.
I went back to work and turned my head every once in a while to see that the episode of human debauchery I was watching was kind of bloody. Man bludgeons girlfriend and new boyfriend, blood everywhere.
All of a sudden, I hear, in a tiny little scared voice, “Mommy, I am scared! I don’t want to watch them killing people.”
And then true, genuine tears from my four year old.
Apparently, Katie had managed to come out into the living room, through two doors, without my hearing a thing, and curl up on my couch to be witness to my very grown up program.
My heart dropped through my feet, smashed through the tile and foundation of the house, and kept sinking to infinity.
I can not believe my little, innocent girl, who I have protected as best I could from anything that would scare her and be imprinted on her little brain to recall at the darkest times of the day, saw the reenactment of murder.
A huge, massive, big fat mommy screw up!
I tried everything after that to calm her down and get her back to sleep. She did not want to sleep in my room. She did not want to read books. She did not even want to talk about Rapunzel. She just wanted me to sit and hold her, every once in a while telling me she was scared, whimpering a little, asking why the man was so bad and why the lady did not get up after he hit her.
I fought back tears and desperately searched for a rewind button that I could push in her head.
We sat until 2:30am when she finally fell asleep in my arms.
What do I do now? How can I possibly fix this? She remembers every little thing. And I have a feeling her nightmares will worsen now that she has this in her head!
I don’t know how to handle a screw up this big.
I suppose, one day, she’ll just forget it. But until then, please send all coffee and patience to my house. Because my big fat screw up will probably lead to even more big fat terrible exhausted posts about the joy of bedtime!
**Originally Published 06/01/2011**