And that doesn't include a bath or dispensing her melatonin. That's straight time trying to get her to fall asleep.
Two hours of nearly undivided attention, except to sneak out to tuck my boys in and say good night. Who, by the way, at her age were pretty independent in the bedtime department. Going upstairs and dressing themselves. Waiting patiently for me to come tuck them in. Staying in bed after being tucked in. Falling asleep on their own. My oldest may still be awake hours later, but he was still in bed. Reading or something. Quiet.
Two hours of Finleigh yelling. Crying. Throwing things. Refusing to put on her pyjamas. Two hours of refusing to lie in bed unless I sit with her.
Two hours to think about how ironic it all is. We were hard asses with the boys. I would not sit with them to help them fall asleep. It was important that they learn to have good sleep habits. So, we took the time to make them do it on their own. It was perhaps a little mean. But it worked.
Two hours of pretty much ignoring my other two children as they played Lego and watched TV. Feeling guilty the whole time. Wishing I could be out there with them. Talking. Building our relationship. Play a game, maybe. With their dad at work, they are caring for themselves. Only needing a reminder to get ready for bed. Only needing a quick hug and kiss. The unfairness of the situation stabs at my heart.
Two hours of thinking about what I'd rather be doing. The homework I could be finishing - I only had 10 pages left to read in my unit and had hoped to get it done in the evening. But, I didn't. At 9:30pm, I marched downstairs, poured a larger that I should glass of wine, searched the kitchen for whatever was tasty and fattening and turned on the TV, trying to drown out my frustration until the clock told me I should probably go to bed.
Two hours to wonder what I could be doing differently. A better routine? A tidier room? Different music? Comfier pyjamas? We've tried everything. We're at a complete and total loss. At one point, a wave of anger and frustration washed over me. I nearly yelled and ranted. I nearly spanked her. I nearly lost it. But, it's not her fault that her body is just gearing up to be awake. It's not her fault that it's stopped making melatonin for the day. Its not her fault. Perhaps there is better things we could be doing, but we can hardly blame her now, can we?
Two long, painful hours. Except for the loves and snuggles. The kisses.
Two conflicted hours, for spending time with her is always good. Listening to her babble on about her day at school in her broken, choppy cadence. Her toys that she loves. Her daddy. In between the yelling and throwing were sweet, touching moments. Moments that I want to remember forever.