Kid Bedtimes and Gathering Storms

Grey clouds blanket my evening sky. Wind-tossed trees are
now still and a heavy mugginess descends. Swollen drops pockmark my deck, and
then nothing. 
Like silence before the curtain rises, the yards wait
quietly. A slight breeze stirs the leaves and a distant car muffler hums and
fades away. Silence again. 
My three year old tantrums from a dark bedroom bunk-bed,
trying out an angstful attitude he’s seen. Sarcasm rolls off his lips, and
tiny arms are crossed. Angry eyes burn out at me. Wow, where did he hear that
monologue? It saddens me, layered between the brief hidden humor at hearing
his, “Hmm! What do you think about that?!” final rant. 
“Daniel, I’m so sorry you’ve heard people talk like that. How
did you feel when they did that?” 
“Happy!” he huffs, crossing his arms the opposite way for
emphasis, and frowning at me.
“You don’t look happy. It’s not nice to talk like that. We
use kind words and voices.” I kiss him, and rub his back. Miniscule ribs
beneath a red striped shirt that his towering brother used to wear. The room is
dark and my hand brushes his small back for a few minutes. He’s so little. 
“Good night. I love you. You need to go to bed.”
“Nooooo!” he yells as I leave the room. We’ve hugged and
tickled and prayed together. We sang our songs, and snuggled close – me trying
to avoid his mono germs and yet smothering him in further-away kisses. 
The rain droplets have evaporated already outside, leaving
no trace on the deck and driveway, yet the grey-green sky waits. It’s dark for
seven thirty. 
He gets up again, my son. His anger intersperses with tears, and
we talk it through. There’s no more sarcasm thankfully, just sadness and
a hopeful expectation that bedtime will disappear. He’s mistaken, poor guy. 
The bedtime mandate stays; hugs are layered on; and sippy-cups are filled with fresh water and ice. 
“Good night, my sweet. I love you.” 
In silence outside, the rain falls, releasing the hot
asphalt smell of rain and tar that signals summer to me. A cool breeze starts,
and the mugginess lifts.

Linking with Shanda’s On Your Heart Tuesday, and Emily’s Imperfect Prose on Thursday. 

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  1. cabinart on May 24, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Wow, Jennifer, he has mono?? That's rough!

  2. Jennifer Dougan on May 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm


    Yes, isn't that crazy? I didn't know kids got mono. We've never had it before either, and are now monitoring ourselves too, just in case.

    He's feeling good though so that is nice.

    Have a wonderful week.


  3. LOLITA on May 25, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Daniel is such a darling and he is at the age of copying things he heard and watched. He is in the age of making pretends, isn't he?

    i do like the way you are taking things, Jen…. in all its natural way, and gently.

    Hope he is over the mono now.


  4. AmyAlves on May 25, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Evenin' Jennifer, I could picture you and your son, in the way you wrote it out. Good work "momma"! You bless my God loving heart! ~ Blessings on you and yours tonight, Amy

  5. Unknown on May 25, 2012 at 4:58 am

    Poor little man.
    It breaks my heart to hear my kids talk angry…especially when I recognize the tone coming from ME! I am really working on using a calm, soft voice even when I feel like I am GOING CRAZY, so this post really resonated with me.

  6. Jennifer Dougan on May 27, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Thank you, Lolita. 🙂


  7. Jennifer Dougan on May 27, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Hello Amy,

    I'm so glad you could peek into my home with me for this evening.

    Welcome back online! I had missed your posts. 🙂


  8. Jennifer Dougan on May 27, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Joann(Ostrich girl),

    I agree. Isn't it dreadful, sad and convicting to hear the tones and words that come out of their mouths sometimes? My little guy has two adults and two teens to flee from mimicking too, sadly. May we obey, and may he imitate the good, huh?


  9. Mommy Emily on May 27, 2012 at 3:33 am

    "he's so little." this line really got to me. this is what we need to remember, even as they're huffing and puffing and blowing our houses down. they're so little. and you responded so gently and tenderly. just as Christ would have. e.

  10. Jennifer Dougan on May 28, 2012 at 1:43 am

    "Huffing and puffing and blowing the house down" 🙂 makes me grin. Yes, and yet, yes, they are so little, so tiny and precious.

    Thanks for stopping by, Emily.

    Hugging mine tonight,

  11. Jennifer Dougan on May 28, 2012 at 1:43 am

    "Huffing and puffing and blowing the house down" 🙂 makes me grin. Yes, and yet, yes, they are so little, so tiny and precious.

    Thanks for stopping by, Emily.

    Hugging mine tonight,

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