Monday, 20 April 2015

Up All Night

How do you keep from raising your voice all the time?  Do you try?  Can you?  How many questions can I ask in the first thirty words of this post?

N is 4 1\2 going on 15.  She seems to have reached peak annoying for me at the moment.  I find myself trying to find excuses for her to have to go to bed early.  This is not usually that difficult as part of her problem at the moment is that she is exhausted pretty much all the time.

As has been chronicled on this blog previously my daughter has an adversarial relationship with sleep, much like our political system.  She is convinced that her life will go to the dogs completely if control of her nights are given over to the other party.  It has entirely wrong policies regarding the use of time.  I'm sure I once heard her muttering something about 'big government' the other night as I walked past her bedroom, and there was the occasion when she woke the house by bellowing 'it should be called tax relief.'*

Personally, I have always been in favour of competition for children, it does, after all, teach them some rather crucial lessons about life and the way that it generally goes, I for one am glad that I learnt about losing from an early age (I still wake up at night having nightmares about a particularly brutal loss suffered by our school football team against Framingham Earl High School, and that was almost 20 years ago now), so this doesn't concern me too much, except for the fact that at the moment the party she is leader of seems to be in the ascendancy and is standing on a platform which consists solely of the slogan 'No Sleep for Little Girls'.  Catchy, but hardly music to any parent's ears.

What this ends up meaning is that her natural tendencies for mischief and mayhem are somewhat heightened by the fact that she is severely sleep deprived and unable to control any of her actions.  Although, I wouldn't want you to get the impression that she would be a perfect little human if she got her full allocation of 12 hours.  I'm not going to run down the full list of things that she has got up to in the last few days which have had me pulling my hair out (cheaper than getting it cut I suppose) but a couple of examples will probably suffice.

I recently put up a black-out blind in N's bedroom.  This was in an attempt to stop her waking up at the first hint that the sky might be getting lighter.  Unfortunately my elite DIY skills seemed to desert me at the crucial moment and putting it up was not the simple job I envisaged.  Somewhere in the putting-up process I appear to engineer it so that whilst the blind would stay in one position like a pro, when it came to moving up or down it seemed to be quite reluctant.  OK, the blind sticks like a master poker player, and once it is stuck it takes the strength of 10 men to get it moving again.  In my attempts to get it moving I managed to pull the whole thing off the wall, and onto my head, twice.  Which had the effect of getting me to screw it in tighter (turns out if you use those little rawplug thingies everything is much better) but also to make me particularly wary of it happening again.  This led to a long discussion with N about how she couldn't fiddle with the blind as there was the distinct possibility that it could fall off and hurt her.  She seemed to understand this, and very solemnly agreed not to touch the blind.  This should have been easy for her since she is also not allowed up onto her window-sill at all and the blind doesn't come down below the window-sill.  In the end she managed to resist the temptation for almost 24 hours, although I don't know if the sleeping time really counts.  24 hours is not a long time to resist temptation.  I suppose at least she didn't do it right then in front of me, that would have been worse.

One of the only things that we don't let her do in the garden is to turn on the outside tap.  Being on a water meter tends to make you a bit nervous about your water consumption being in the hands of a slightly wild 4 year old.  This is generally well adhered to, until this afternoon.  This afternoon N was playing out in the garden with S and a friend of hers.  Sadly there was not a reliable eyewitness to what happened next but it definitely involved a lot of water and three soaked children.  Another cardinal rule broken while no-one was looking.

There is always a lot of contrition that accompanies these acts, but never any real indication that they won't happen again.  Neither of these little sins are particularly terrible, but the constant low-level misbehaviour is certainly an incredibly wearing aspect of being a parent.  I keep telling myself that it will just be a passing phase, she's bound to grow out of it soon, but the words sound hollow even to me, I'm just going to have to face it, she is going to be one of life's rule-benders.  At least things will never be dull, now 'scuse me please while I go and see if that crash was the blind falling down, or N having found her way up to the loft.  This time I might manage not to raise my voice.

*This may never have happened


  1. Relax, she's just curious! On the other hand you could buy a strait jacket - do they make those child size?

    In times to come you'll be amazed at what she has gathered from all her misbehaviour (in your eyes). It might be a long time though!

  2. My 4yo has been having the 'terrible twos' for what seems like forever. I'm holding out that she'll grow out of it soon too!