Just the other day, I was getting Choo-choo ready for another naptime. He went potty, we brushed his teeth, and I gave him a small cup of water to drink. I also let him stand in the kitchen and drink from his water bottle since I knew he’d ask for water as soon as we climbed into bed. I assumed giving him water downstairs would nip that upstairs thirst, or “thirst” aka stalling, in the bud.
Wow, was I wrong!
Once in bed, Choo-choo kept asking and asking for a drink of water, even though I told him no.
Now, before you start thinking I’m “Mean Mommy,” remember that he already had water to drink immediately prior to naptime.
While still in bed, Choo-choo started whining about the water so much that I had to remove myself from the situation before getting angry. Well, truth be told I was angry inside and it was starting to show on the outside.
Of course, Choo-choo cried and screamed and cried some more when I walked away, partly because I left and mostly because he didn’t get what he wanted.
Now, could I have easily just given him a drink of water? Well, sure. But I was certain this whole situation wasn’t about water or thirst. It was about Choo-choo wanting things a certain way and completely freaking out when this doesn’t happen.
For example, Choo-choo and I have a bedtime routine we do every night, even when on vacation. If we happen to change something, like adding a new song to our lullaby list, my son wants this every night after. So when he asked for a cup of water one night at bedtime, it became a ritual for him to tell me he’s thirsty and ask for water every time he is in bed for sleep.
Besides, what would giving in to his screams and whines teach him? Choo-choo already knows how to push my buttons and manipulate me into giving him what he wants. (I think most kids have those skills when it comes to their parents, actually!) In order for me to put a stop to it, I have to play my part as well.
It is difficult and uncomfortable for me to sit in the other room and listen to my child cry, but I had no other option at the time. Then, since he was still awake, his cries turned into talking (to his toys and stuffed animals I’m sure). While there was a quietness to him, he was still alert enough that I knew he was not going to fall asleep any time soon.
I went up to make sure he would at least try to sleep. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be, even though I had to change his pull-up first. After tucking Choo-choo back in and giving him more kisses and hugs, he once again asked for a drink of water. (Gotta keep that routine of his, remember?)
With a stifled sigh, I wished him a good nap and sweet dreams and left him in his room to drift off to dreamland.