Standing Firm

Our grandson is 2 1/2. His parents are good about keeping a steady schedule for meals and naps and bedtime.  Prior to our visit he suddenly started a period of change into a new developmental level, and he became disorganized and his schedule became disrupted. His appetite decreased, he didn’t want to nap, and he did everything he could to delay going to sleep at night.

A typical bedtime would see Son or DIL getting him ready for bed, reading  the requisite three books, and putting on music to lull him to sleep. In the past it only took one song to do the trick, but during our visit it turned into multiple requests for “one more song”.  Many times after it was quiet and we thought he was asleep, we found him with his light on and his bed full of books. “I reading, Daddy” he would say with an impish grin. Then came multiple requests to use the bathroom, usually with no results.  Every time he got up, he also needed to be tucked back in bed. They wisely have a baby gate in the doorway of his room so at least he has to stay there and can’t come out at will.

Son and DIL took our advice to put duct tape over grandson’s light switch so he couldn’t turn on the bedroom light. He has a night light.  They also found longer songs and stories to play continuously so that he wouldn’t keep asking for one more song.  They even agreed to stand firm and not go up to his room when he made his stay-awake ploys once he was in bed and was supposed to be going to sleep.

On Saturday night after he had been put to bed after several attempted diversions on his part, I walked past grandson’s room  His door opened, and he looked at me with big brown eyes and he said in a very plaintive voice “Oma, will you tuck me in?”   Well, of course Oma tucked him in! That sort of plea is impossible to resist.  I am happy to report that his plea to me was the last of the evening, and he slept for twelve hours despite my failure to stand firm.

How are you at standing firm?  When is it hard for you to maintain your resolve?

21 thoughts on “Standing Firm”

  1. Had a dog who was amazingly obedient . . . when I commanded her to do what she wanted to do. She wasn’t obedient when I asked her to do stuff she didn’t like. We got along because she taught me the futility of asking her to do my bidding. That dog and I were uncannily similar. I stand firm when I tell myself to do what I want to do.

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  2. Nonny tells a story about when I was a toddler and not wanting to go to bed. I would get out of bed and come down the steps where my folks wete usually in the living room. I don’t know if they had baby gates when I was that age. Anyway one night I came downstairs a record number of times, Nonny would pick me up and carry me back upstairs and put me back in bed. Finally when I came down the stairs Nonny was at the end of her rope so instead of picking me up and caring me up the steps, she made me go up the stairs on my own while she followed me. I guess that was the last time I came down the stairs.

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  3. Mr. Tuxedo has from an early age been very driven by justice, in two senses of the term: 1) importance of the rules/law, and 2) fairness. So when we took care of them, Sandy would often break the parents rules for the kids, things like time to go to bed and treats they were allowed. Mr. Tuxedo then, out of his sense of justice, would report our infractions to their parents. My daughter always told them that there are parents rules and grandparents rules. Grandparents are allowed to spoil them a little bit.

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  4. well, I try to stand firm.

    Kids are hard, aren’t they? How often have we wished we could get in their heads and try to understand where they’re coming from.

    Our daughter the last few days has had trouble falling asleep too. We’ve always said her stages last twice as long as most kids. And she’s in ‘Teenager’ mode right now. Has been. Will be. So she stays up late and sleeps later. It’s kinda funny (and frustrating to me) that she’ll storm off to her room and have these long, conversations with herself, but out loud. I know you’re going to talk about me, but I think I’d rather not hear it! 🙂
    Kelly thinks it’s pretty interesting to hear what she’s talking about. And the other day Kelly said to me that daughter is processing just like we all do, except she’s doing it out loud. And that was really eye-opening for me; I hadn’t considered that. Huh.

    We stand firm, right up to the point they wear down my resolve. Haha– Fine! Go Do Whatever! It takes a lot of energy to be the opposition, doesn’t it?

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    1. I think it is harder to be the Bad Cop than the Good Cop. In our family, that wasn’t an issue. My erstwife volunteered to be the Bad Cop because that was in her nature. With a big smile, I took the other side. Our daughter today thinks she had ideal parenting: a tough parent who set standards and a mushy parent who provided unqualified love.

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      1. This is probably true Steve. And of course being a single parent means you have to be the bad cop all of the time and occasionally you get to be the good cop too.

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  5. Considering how important good parenting is, it’s mind boggling how little consideration it’s given by most people before they decide to take on that responsibility.

    My friend, with whom I went to China to pick up her daughter back in 2001, had a long-time boyfriend, Jacques, who had not been part of the decision to adopt. When she returned from China with her child, Jacques was smitten by the little girl, and within weeks proposed marriage. She accepted, and now engaged, my friend and her little girl moved into his suburban town home (fortunately without selling her own home in St. Paul). The three of them traveled to France to break the news to his parents who lived there, and they reciprocated with a visit to the US over the Christmas holidays; wedding bells seemed close at hand.

    Less than six months later the whole romance fell apart. Turns out that Jacques and my friend’s idea of parenting where complete opposites. He would get upset when the child would take pots and pans out of the kitchen cupboards to play with, and generally didn’t appreciate that his bachelor pad now had toys scattered all about.Their evening meals now featured a toddler in a high chair who was a messy eater, something that made Jacques lose his appetite; the honeymoon ended before they got to the altar.

    Like vs, my friend has raised her little girl as a single parent, and a couple of years later, adopted a sister (also from China). My friend was not willing to compromise her strongly held beliefs on child rearing, and to my mind, she’s done a beautiful job as a single parent.

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  6. I’ve finally remembered an incident when I really stood my ground. It was with an extended family member, and I can only relate that because it involved the safety of a child, I was able to not back down, require what needed to be required. The “mama lion” thing is real.

    Most of the time I am not adamant about my action, opinion, “rightness”, but once in a while I surprise myself and anyone else involved by standing firm. Usually it’s more important to the other party than it is to me, I guess.

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  7. As a teacher I taught half of the freshman for one semester and then some of the students, a little less than half, had me again in 11th and 12th grade. I stood the line with freshman on a few basic rules that had to do with interrupting the learning process in my room. I also made it clear that a few other sorts of rules such as not being late to my class were a matter of a pattern of behavior. Anyone could have an excuse for being late every now and then and I would not give it much attention unless it became a pattern. I made it clear to students and parents that certain standards had to be met to pass my class. I stood the line on these issues The result was street cred.
    When I got them again in later years I told them they knew how I operated and my goal was to not even have rules. Since I taught the top end of the class, it worked. I also told them we could have some fun and fool around a little bit if there was no need for rules. And we did fool around. They would now and then cook up excuses to throw out the learning part for a part of the class. We had lots of fun. I enjoyed watching them play me. I told them we worked hard in my classes so we could now and then play hard.
    What you may find odd is that as parenting Sandy was much more likely to be bad cop than me. But our kids did not challenge us that much.

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  8. I remember an episode of Mad About You (in the 90s, one of the later seasons they became parents) when they’d decided to follow a parenting book’s advice to let the baby “cry it out” rather than going in at bedtime to comfort him/her… It’s an excruciating half hour of television – the baby FINALLY cries itself to sleep, but the parents wish they could go back and have a do-over.

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  9. my grandson is 2 3/4 and much more advanced than renee’s . ari plays every one everyday. it’s his gift. he is so good at it that it’s a joy to watch. you figure out what he’s after then get to watch how he goes about it . i marvel at how his mom gets to his patterns and works around what he needs. i get him every wednesday and we are great friends. it turns out i figure out how to do new fun stuff and grandma figures out how to get naps done and all that regimental stuff. i take him for walks and out on the trampoline and we play piano and beat pots and pans. i found a xylophone in a box of stuff at the warehouse the other and knew he’d love it. now we have 1 month old denver to plug into the equation. it will be a fun transition figuring out how to do two. little guy just eats and sleeps . big brother is a motion machine with a brain that whirls. i can always find new distractions that stimulate and inspire
    dog training is where i’m firm. my family thinks i’m nuts. i stand my ground and don’t allow discussion. i was taught how to go from dogs wanting a vote to dogs understanding that as long as they did what i said we could enjoy the rewards of life. my stupid requests need to be honored to get there. my kids didn’t appreciate the same approach . with them i had to get creative not hard nosed.
    personal firmness i stay focused but allow pivots that keep me agile
    that’s entrepreneur for i’m not firm at all. i cut myself too much slack but i have 4 new business ditty’s along with 2 i currently am doing. strict but fluid. it’s all i can do

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