Posts Tagged ‘bedtime’

On Loneliness and FOMO

How is it that you can feel so alone when surrounded by people who dearly love you? I don’t know this feeling well, because even when I DO feel disconnected from community, I can still enjoy time alone. I am content enough to entertain myself. Steven loves quiet time, and he socializes best with a small group of people.

 
(Recent photos for good measure. Indiana Pacers did well this season!)

Before Wesley was born, we would happily spend our evenings doing two different things in proximity to each other, hardly saying a word, and it was lovely. It works for us. But this child of ours, he’s right smack in the middle of our personalities.

As I write this, the lyrics to One is the Loneliest Number are popping into my head.

I took a brief online personality test for Wesley, and it claims that he’s an extroverted intuitive perceiver. Steven is skeptical about all the Myers-Briggs stuff, but I eat it up. This makes sense because I love to know about people and hone in on their skills (ENFJ, a “Giver”), and Steven believes it’s all bologna (INTP, a “Thinker”). What can I say? We are truly the ying to each others’ yang!

The test claims he’s too young to have a fully developed personality, so he could be more of a feeler (ENFP, an “Inspirer”), like me, or thinker (ENTP, a “Visionary”), like Steven. It’s so weird because he truly is a blend of the two of us. At any rate, I have to believe it’s a combination of these traits that causes him to bend over in near pain at the thought of being separated by people. This child has a serious case of fear-of-missing-out, or FOMO.

ENFPs and ENTPs are ruled by dominant extroverted intuition – a function that picks up on a seemingly endless slew of possibilities in the user’s external environment. While this is a wonderful skill at the best of times, it’s a stunting one at worst. ENFPs and ENTPs can easily become quickly paralyzed by their own rampant perceptions – wanting to experience everything and consequently following through on nothing.

These types needs to let go of their fear that there is constantly a better idea, situation, opportunity, person or chance out there for them to pursue. When they learn to focus in on what they’ve chosen, ENFPs and ENTPs are capable of incredible feats. But first they have to learn to say goodbye to FOMO.

-Heidi Priebe

I mentioned quiet times spent in the same room. We still do this most evenings, and Wes is so used to it, that he enjoys drawing or playing quietly when we’re both within his eyesight. Pulling him away is near impossible. Forget playing outside by himself (although he will if I’m also outside, a few feet away). Heaven forbid he get a cup of water without one of us assisting him.

Bedtime is the worst time of day for our 6-year-old son. Getting him upstairs is a battle of argument and manipulation, but I realize most kids are in this boat. Once upstairs and resigned, he stops fighting back and (usually) happily gets ready for bed and thoroughly enjoys our nighttime reading tradition. But once we reach the last page, he starts to protest, whine/beg and sometimes cry for me to stay with him until he falls asleep.

“It’s not fair that you and Daddy get to be together all the time.”
“I just want someone to be with me.”
“Why CAN’T you sleep with me?!”
“I hate nighttime. It’s not fair that I have to go to bed now.”
“What are you going to do while I sleep?”

He calls it “loneliness” or “being afraid of the dark.” I don’t discredit those possibilities, but he didn’t start complaining about bedtime or dark until a year or so ago. It’s gotten progressively worse, and based on his complaints, I think instead he’s irritated at being apart from (what he assumes is) the “action.”

It used to frustrate me to no end because it seemed to come out of nowhere. I refused to give in and appease him, but I felt terrible that he felt so scared. Eventually I started to ask him about his fears so we could talk through them, and it helped him relax. I stayed until he was almost asleep. It’s been routine ever since.

Yes, he’s only six, but I do worry about how to help him cope as he enters adolescence, especially with an increasingly online and social existence. We purposely don’t have tablets in our house, and while we do play a lot of video games as a family activity, we limit other screen time as much as possible. However, I don’t think I can blame social media alone for the world’s FOMO problem. Instead, I think it’s up to us to teach and instill gratitude.

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:12-13

There’s actually a lot of science about happiness, and much of it stems on gratefulness. Wes appreciates problem-solving and tackling an issue. He doesn’t always have confidence in the process, but if you can show him or demonstrate evidence, he is less defensive. I like this article about how to become happy:

  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  • Label negative emotions and feelings. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
  • Make decisions. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  • Give hugs and personal contact.

It seems a daunting task to teach gratitude. Wesley already has a soft spot for loving others, so I think, with time and practice, some of these tips and guidelines (some of which we already incorporate) and these Biblical reminders can assist in adopting gratitude and happiness to combat loneliness and fear.

Wes is probably the happiest sibling-to-be on the face of the planet. Gone are the crying fits, convinced that his lack of sibling must be a punishment from God for his actions. (Sometimes I think it’s these tears that defied our contraception methods!) He carcasses and whispers “I love you, Maisie,” to my growing belly, and he believes/hopes she will be the savior to overcome his loneliness.

Disappointment is inevitable, we all know, but he doesn’t – yet. I pray we can help him learn skills to address deep fears and teach him how to be grateful in all circumstances. We’ve got our work cut out for us!

Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones. Proverbs 15:30

Posted: April 15th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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Role Play

Over the last few weeks, Wes has enjoyed playing “Put Mama to Bed” before his own bedtime rolls around. This consists of him insisting that I lay down on the couch and close my eyes and assuring me not to be afraid because there are no monsters in the room. I then recite all of his pre-sleep stalling tactics – more stories, a drink of water, being scared, more songs, etc etc, and he gleefully plays along.

Tonight I asked him to sing me a few songs, and he participated by singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and a few others. He then prayed for me and told me to go to sleep, got up, and left the couch. I pretended to sob and beg for a story. Trying to hide a pleased smile, he came up with this little bit:

Once upon a time there was a little girl. And she was a princess and played dress up. And she was really pretty. She’s you! The End

And then – biggest, sweetest grin you ever saw! I told him I could sleep all night after that cute little story. He followed up by telling silly stories of Steven, then one of Jake and Lucy.

He’s the best.

Posted: March 2nd, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Bedtime Banter

Our child has the “oh, please, Mom” look DOWN. Every night he and I have a little conversation that goes a little something like what I captured on video this evening.

Sometimes there’s a little more reading aloud than chatting, and sometimes there’s a little more cuddling, but I love that he cooperated enough to show a glimpse of his budding personality – part ham, part sly, part smart (in both aspects of the word). And through it all, you can still see his sweetness.

PS – Wes corrected me later that we forgot 1 & 2 Timothy.

 

Posted: February 9th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Bedtime Rituals

photo (10)My favorite time of day is pre-bedtime. This is after dinner is cleaned up and the dogs have empty bladders and we all hunker down to see what Brian Williams has to report. I feel like Steven and I do at least one good thing well together – leaving work behind while we’re together as a family. Granted, there are times where we both must do something here or there after hours or click-clack on the computer for a little while, but generally we try to wait until Little Guy is in bed.

Because it’s been so darn cold this winter, we have mostly hibernated in our 3rd bedroom-turned family room, or as Wes calls it, “the TV Room.” We’ll play Trains for a while, then color, all while listening to NBC Nightly News. Then Steven turns it to PBS’ Nightly Business Report (which I can’t stand), so Wes and I will get the bathtub ready. This consists of proper drain-stopping (since our tub is ooooold and the drain stopper thing is broken) by stuffing a washcloth down the drain, pouring in the bubble bath gel stuff and swishing the water around to get a good supply of bubbles and then dumping in all the bath toys while the water fills up.

Wes used to hate HATE taking baths. I had to hose him down with a damp sponge while he stood in the bathtub. He refused to sit down in the water and cried forever about it. Thankfully we turned a corner somewhere in the last few months. Now he asks to take a bubble bath, and it’s one of his favorite things to do.

Once he’s dried off and into clean pj’s, we head back to the TV Room for Jeopardy! He really doesn’t enjoy watching the show, but he certainly loves the music and sound effects. Somewhere between Double Jeopardy and Final Jeopardy, Wes gives Steven a goodnight hug and heads to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Afterwards, he picks out a story (“‘dory”) or two, and we both crawl into his tiny toddler bed for snuggles and reading.

WES’ FAVORITE BOOKS
Bear Snores On, Karma Wilson
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (“Truck Book”), Sherri Duskey
The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones
Popcorn (or “And Ate and Ate”), Frank Asch
The Snowy Day (“Peter Book”), Ezra Jack Keats

Following the books, which on rare occasions he likes to mix it up and read something other than the above list, we launch into a few songs. Usually this takes longer than the book reading does, but it’s likely my absolute favorite part of the day. I don’t mind singing 10 songs with his little off-key, breathy toddler voice.

WES’ FAVORITE SONGS
Old McDonald Had a Band (he refers to the Raffi rendition, but we sing “Farm” at home because who can really mimick a guitar and fiddle?)
Jesus Loves the Little Children
The Wheels on the Bus
No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (not really a song, but he mumbles this all day long)
Jesus Loves Me
My God is So Big
I Just Caught A Baby Bumblebee

We also sing some of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (new PBS cartoon. The Make Believe puppet characters from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood have grown up and now have their own preschool-aged children.) songs and usually make up silly words to additional verses. I’m so pleased that Wes enjoys books and songs. He really is from my own blood. It makes me even happier that he considers this time to be “Mama Time.” It’s truly a special bonding experience every evening.

By the time we’re finished singing, he’s turned over on his side and ready to drift off to sleep. We say a goodnight prayer, thanking God for all his blessings and for our health. Out of habit from my own childhood prayers, we ask that God keep away bad dreams to wake us at night.

The projector comes on with a rotating light display of fish, moon & stars or monkeys & birds, and he’ll tell me if he wants a new scene. The sound machine is turned on with soft white noise, and the lights are turned off. As I’m nearing the doorway, Wes sometimes will start singing Daniel Tiger’s song, softly:

I like you
I like you
I like you
Just the way you are

“I love you, honey. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Mama.”
“See you at breakfast!”

Posted: March 11th, 2014
Categories: Leah
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