A couple of weeks ago, Steven and I were totally frustrated with ourselves. Over the summer we weren't consistent with bedtime, which is great, except that it all seemed to catch up with them this one evening around like 6:30. All of them were freaking out, hitting each other, crying and whining, just absolutely tired. We could see it in their eyes.
"To bed!" we cried. They all protested, but sluggishly got into PJs and we got them into bed in record time, assuming they'd be out in seconds (they really seemed and were that tired). But they didn't! They stayed up, fighting, coming downstairs, waking up Merit, and still so so tired. Steven and I were at a loss. If kids are tired, put them to bed, right?
The next night, the same exact thing happened. We have thankfully grown past the age of getting mad at the kids when they don't stay in their beds, we were just confused and worried. Our kids are a delight to be around when they aren't tired. When they're beat, they are beasts.
We talked about it that night after they'd finally all drifted off (after lots of crying and fighting and grumping) and it was neat. The Spirit spoke to both of us - choose a bedtime, and stick to it. Whether they are exhausted or totally energetic. Keep it the same time, every night, and they will get enough rest.
So we decided on a time (7:15), and have stuck to it fairly well (we have kept them up later a few times when we've been out at friends' homes or doing something fun on the weekend), but it's amazing. It is working!
Will and Gage share a room now. We started this summer since we knew that they schedules were going to be pretty much tossed out the window, and so it was fine and good that they totally kept each other up every night, but with school starting and their beastly behavior, we needed help.
I love that I know that the Lord cares about my kids' bedtimes. He does! He cares, and He answers us.
Right now, my parental concerns vary quite a bit by child, but one that I'm sure I'll laugh about soon, is Will's reluctance to eat any fruits or vegetables. I used to think that the parents of picky eaters were not trying the right things. Boy, have I been humbled.
Gage will eat anything, Kjel will eat (almost) anything (her favorite food is sushi to give you an idea of her palate). Will won't. He just won't. He sees a vegetable and says, "Ewww, no." He sees a fruit and says, "Ewww! Please! No!" It is so discouraging at times.
I prayed about this a lot at the end of the spring/early summer. It was stressing me out so much. I tried "starving" him into submission. Didn't work. I tried sneaking veggies and fruit in. Didn't work. Plus I don't want to sneak food into him, I want him to choose to eat healthily.
We prayed and prayed.
And then! Ta-da! Nope, he still won't eat many fruits or vegetables (sometimes a banana, and he will drink fruit smoothies), but the answer came to me: teach him that he is a child of God. And then when he is able to reason, he will make the right choices for his health. Until then, be sneaky.
It's working. Fairly well. I still worry over him. But I feel mostly peace about this.
When Gage gets mad at us for disciplining him, we tell him, "Heavenly Father gave us a job to teach you to be the best man you can be, so that you can be happy on earth and live with Him and all of us and your future family again in heaven. Don't be upset with us for doing the job that Heavenly Father gave us."
The thing about it all that I love and am in constant awe over, is that He doesn't force us to do this alone. He doesn't throw us out in the deep end and say, "Swim or die." He walks with us and gives us answers as we ask - sometimes the answer is "search, try something and if it doesn't work, try something else", "wait", "not at this time". But He isn't off tending everyone else, He's here, with us, helping us learn to put our kids to bed, helping me learn to get Will to eat veggies, helping Steven and I learn to communicate... He wants us to make it, He wants us to make it and be happy, and live abundant lives.