The Need For Discipline… Or Just Sleep?

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s done. I just uploaded the pictures from our weekend Louisville trip onto my Facebook page.

(See the album “Louisville Zoo Road Trip Summer 2013.”)

I love looking through those pictures, seeing how happy our family was.

And the way you smiled in most of them, it’s as if to say, “Yeah, I know I’m a sneaky rascal!”

The thing is, the happiness captured in those pictures came with a steep price- the total of 6 hours drive time to make those good memories possible.

It was rough…

We chose to drive there after work Friday night, hoping you’d sleep in the car.

You didn’t.

Not to mention, we were in the middle of heavy rain the whole time.

I did laugh, however, when you woke up in confusion as we were carrying you upstairs to our hotel room at midnight,  and you simply reacted by asking, “Wwwwwwhhhhhhyyyyyyyyy?…”.

By that point, I was so ready for rest, I didn’t mind taking the fold-out couch and letting you sleep in the real bed with Mommy.

But whereas I was actually asleep when I hit the “couch,” you stayed up until 2 AM with fidgety legs keeping both yourself and Mommy awake in the next room.

Fortunately, the splendor of the Louisville Zoo kept you entertained and in good spirits the entire 6 hours we were there.

That changed the moment we got back in the car for the 3 hour ride home.

You were extremely needy, you kicked the backs of our seats, you kept dropping your toys then screaming for them, you whined, you cried… and no seating arrangements between the three of us seemed to help.

Nothing we did or said would break your will.

(I’ve noticed that when people talk about their own temper, they attribute it to whatever ethnicity they are most aware of… I feel like it often tends to be an Irish reference. I’m not Irish, so I guess this is where I’m supposed to blame it on my Italian or Mexican heritage…)

I couldn’t take it anymore, I remember reaching behind my seat and grabbing the pink elephant squirt toy that the hotel gave you and throwing it in the floor, shouting something to the effect of “I told you to be quiet! I’m tired of you not listening to me! And I’m tired of you telling me ‘no’ when I’m talking to you!”

Mommy immediately advised to me to take the next exit so she could switch to the driver’s seat.

For the rest of the trip back to Nashville, Mommy and I tried something new:

We stopped answering you, looking at you, or responding to you in any way. Plus, we rolled down the windows to help drown out your screaming.

It took a challenging 45 minutes, but you finally shut down and fell into the deep sleep you needed so badly.

You’re a good kid. Sure, you’re iron willed, but so am I.

I will always make sure you get the discipline you need, when you need it.

But as Mommy reminded me, in her subtle and gentle way, this wasn’t a case of you needing discipline as much as it was you needing sleep.

Once we got home, we were both cool again.

The next time you act like a maniac, the first thing I’m going to do is ask myself whether or not your nap time or bed time was compromised. That way I won’t turn into the Incredible Hulk, even if you do.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

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