Dear Andrew & Abby,
Well, we made it through Easter. I know! Hard to believe. We actually stayed home this year, which is unusual for us. We usually go to Papa and Grandma Dottie's house, which is also fun. But this was one of the few times we stayed at our house and went to our church and the Easter Bunny came to our house! On Saturday, there was the Easter party at church and I think you two had a really good time. You made hand print lillys and I am still proudly displaying them. Since they aren't relying on Mommy for watering, they will probably do better than our house plant.
Sunday morning, you found the baskets that the Bunny left for you and you were both VERY excited. Andrew said he LOVES Easter!! I think that is mostly due to the fact that there was an umbrella in his basket and he has been pining for an umbrella for a long time now. I've never seen a kid so excited to get an umbrella.
This week, he has been spending a lot of time studying the weather forecast to determine that it might rain and he should really take his umbrella today. On the way home from school today (it was a rainy day and he did take the umbrella), he offered to go and fetch the mail - IN THE RAIN - if Daddy hadn't already picked it up. Of course that offer was rescinded once we heard thunder and saw lightning, but that's okay.
You also both had some other junk in your baskets that cost 50 cents or a dollar or so a piece (the Easter Bunny told me that). Yes, you two are fairly spoiled in quantity, but luckily, you aren't concerned too much with quality or cost (at least not yet).
Church was good and you were reasonably well-behaved. Of course Mommy (and the other Mommies and Daddies involved) did not make the best decision in allowing the Trinity Gang to all sit together in a pew.
It felt like a really long time until Pastor invited all the kids to the front for the Children's Sermon and then you were off to the nursery for Children's Church. We are so blessed to be part of a church that accepts and embraces families with small kids the way ours does. It helps that we all sit where we're supposed to - back left corner. That's the Noisy Corner. Most people know that that's not where you want to sit if you actually want to be able to hear the entire service.
Because we stayed home, and because Mommy likes to go crazy every once in a while, we invited people over to our house to eat Sunday afternoon. Mommy loves to have friends over and to cook lots of food. So it's a good fit. Of course, the problem is that we do not have a large house. And our not large house is not even very well designed for entertaining. But that's never been known to stop us. Also, we have a lot of friends! We are SO popular! Mommy tried to keep it small - so I just invited the Russells (family of 4), the Fishers (4), the Stenbergs (4), the Herrins (4). We're all such tidy two-kid families (for now!!). But even with that, do the math with me...4 times 5 is...20! Very good! TWENTY people. Of course, half of them are kids, so that's not too bad. Oh, and wait! We also invited the Wallaces - there's just three of them. Then I got word that the Russells were also bringing Don's mom and dad - who live in town and who we know. That's cool. And then we also invited the Campbells (4) - because we just really like them and I wanted them to come. And they did. The Herrins and Wallaces already had other plans, but everyone else came. So did you keep track? That's 22 people altogether. It was so much fun! I cooked a Big Ass Ham (over 19 pounds!), and made special Easter Egg Potatoes that I love. Everyone else brought something and we had a great time. You kids got to play, the grown-ups got to talk, and there was lots and lots of food. I don't remember an Easter when I have ever felt more content and at peace, and surrounded by friends, which is all I could hope for you for any day in your life.
And then Sunday night came.
And Monday night.
And Tuesday night.
I don't even have the words to describe how awful bedtime has been. We've had good structure, followed our routine, and Mommy and Daddy have worked together. And yet...
Fits. Screaming. Throwing. Crying. Defiance. Threats. Hitting and kicking. Punishment. Spanking (yes, I said it. Spanking. On. Your. Butt.).
Last night, I actually looked up the application for SuperNanny. That's how bad it is. I guess the good - and bad - news is that I don't think you're bad enough for us to make it on to Jo's schedule. Last night, Mommy was in tears by the end of the night. Tonight, I was afraid. Afraid I was close to losing control. Daddy took over and I mostly hid in the living room. Neither of us quite knows what to do. We've heard it all and we've tried it all. How can I possibly continue to simply put Abby back in her bed each time she gets up when I don't even make it out of her room before she's on my heels? Are we really going to have to throw or give away Andrew's toys before he will give up his stubbornness and stop with the back talk? You two are only three and eight. If it's this bad now, I am really frightened of how ill-equipped I will be to handle either of you as teenagers. I can't even talk about it anymore. We need help. Real help. Not the unsolicited parenting book advice kind of help. We need SuperNanny or someone willing to pretend to be her for us. And I just don't know where to get that kind of help.
If only we had some kind of umbrella-wielding super-hero who specializes in sleep-resistant children. And no, the Penguin is NOT who I have in mind. I think adding nightmares to our already stressful nighttime would finally push Mommy right over the edge.
I love you I love you I love you. No matter how frazzled I feel trying to get you to sleep, once you finally give up the fight and close your eyes, I go in to your rooms, snuggle on you, smell your sleepiness, and kiss your cheeks and heads and hands. I adore you. Now, please.
GO TO SLEEP.