It’s 10:46 pm and my middle child and I are passing notes to each other.
I feel like I am being bad, like I am breaking the rules of parenting…
He casually walks into the study where I am working on the computer, pretends I am not here, and leaves a note on my keyboard.
I pretend surprise as I pick it up, to the sound of his thudding feet as he runs back to bed.
I read it, then write a note in return. I creep into his bedroom, careful not to wake up his sleeping brother, and casually drop a note onto the foot of his bed. He scrambles in the dark, grabs the note and I hear his torch click on as I creep out of the room.
This has been going on for a while…
He really should be asleep.
He should have been asleep hours ago, but he can’t settle.
He keeps coming in and out. He wants a drink, he needs a hug, he forgot to have some ventolin, he doesn’t feel well…
At first I was frustrated (seriously child… just go to bed, I have things to do and I need a break!), but when I received the first note…
Dear Mum, I feel a lot better, love Morgan
I stuffed my frustrations down and I read the note again… and I noticed things I didn’t the first time around.
I noticed the carefully formed letters, something he has struggled with for so long.
I noticed the self correction – the correct use of upper and lowercase.
I noticed that he still writes the ‘g’ in his name backwards.
It makes me stop, it makes me try to look past the excuses and read in his funny little note the need for something more… the need for connection.
So I wrote him note back.
And he wrote me one.
And I wrote one back.
The notes don’t say much…
Dear Morgan, I’m glad you are feeling better, love Mum.
Dear Mum, I love you. Love Morgan.
Dear Morgan, I love you too, love Mum.
Dear Mum, minecraft is the best, love Morgan.
Dear Morgan, minecraft is cool, love Mum.
Dear Mum, thanks for making my best dinner, love Morgan.
Dear Morgan, you’re welcome, I love tacos too, love Mum.
I wait for another reply… but there isn’t one.
I creep into his room and climb halfway up the ladder to tuck him in to the top bunk, and make sure he is ok.
He is almost asleep and he mumbles… “Thanks Mum,that was fun.”
I smile as I leave his room for the last time tonight. It was fun, breaking the ‘rules’ was fun.
Sure, he should have been asleep hours ago, but there was probably not much I could have done to wangle that tonight. But I know I definitely would have made things worse had I not kept my frustrations in check… and I would have missed an opportunity to connect with him had I never broken the rules, had I never written back.
I chalk up a win to better parenting tonight as I head to my own bed… and win for myself, because writing notes was fun, it was actually just what I needed to feel connected and worthwhile and loved… and then I wonder who has been parenting who.
Have you ever ‘broken the rules of parenting’?
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Bek @ Just For Daisy says
I read this with a little glisten forming in my eyes Kate… it’s so easy to rush them into bed isn’t it… but I’m so glad that you took the time to do that tonight!
Our 4yo used to always put her shoes on the wrong feet, every time… until a month or so ago she stopped. And I can’t remember the ‘last time’ that she did it now… so I’m resolved to really savour all those firsts and lasts and everythign in between. The backwards g got me because my little Miss does the downstroke on her ‘a’ on the wrong side :)
It’s these little clues that they are growing up and the days are passing that I often miss… I’ve added his first note to my diary to remind me not to be too busy rushing and enforcing rules that I miss these moments! :)
You are my favorite on line Mum!
aww… what a lovely thing to say!
This is so beautiful! Such a lovely reminder to slow down and connect with our little ones. Thank you!
Kate @ One Small Life says
I just love this.
That is such a darling story!
Katie @ happilyeverm on says
Love this so much, Kate! What a great reminder to take our child’s lead.
I loved reading this so much! You are such a lovely mummy! I love to get your emails from your blog! Lesley x
This is one of the sweetest parenting moments I’ve ever read! I cried!
I used to feel kind of guilty for playing peek-a-boo with my toddler before bed because it sort of wound him up. Now it’s become a fun sometimes-bed-time routine that while is just fun for him, is absolutely precious to me, seeing his smile and hearing him giggle. A bit of extra time to have him fall asleep every night is so so worth the memory and love shared. :-)
Love this reminder. Thanks so much for sharing :-)
Oh I love this. I hope to break a lot of parenting rules. I already have broken some that I swore I would never break…
This is absolutely precious. Some things are worth so much more than the “rules”. Kudos to you for living in the moment and finding a little joy in the process.
I love how you recognized the opportunity to practice writing and make a connection with your son. SO much more valuable than a few hours of sleep.
I’m not a parent, but as a special education teacher, I pride myself in classroom management. That means lots of rules, and very little time for anything other than work. Until one day, my students were simply unable to get along. So we spent the rest of the week learning how to work together by playing hangman. If they wanted to play, they had to work together. It’s amazing how quickly they learned to get along. Now we play hangman whenever we’ve all finished our work, and they all get along swimmingly.
Thank you for reminding me to slow down! My daughter is 7 & as I work with preschoolers, she seems so grown up in comparison. It’s easy to forget sometimes that she’s still ‘little’ in her own right.
She’s grown out of so many of the things she used to do when she was three or four… But I truly love it that when referring to the sworn enemy of Dr Who she still calls them Garlics!!
Oh ‘Garlics’ is adorable!
I find it hard not to grow my bigger kids up too soon too… they just seem so much bigger than their baby brother, but even my girls who are about to turn 13 are still ‘little’ in many ways.