My older boys wanted to sleep together. It was a school night, but life hasn't been normal the last two months and phantom fears come out to plague my one son when bed time approaches.
For the first month after his grandpa passed away, my son was convinced he was dying and bed time became an agonizing time of self-diagnosis that ranged from appendicitis to cancer.
So, yes, I let him sleep with his brother after admonishing the boys that they had five minutes to settle down or they'd have to sleep in their own beds.
One hour later, I made my pre-bedtime rounds. The boys' door was closed (to keep the dog in) and the light was on and they were visiting away.
I told the oldest he'd need to return to his room. Shock and indignation filled the air between the boys and I as the trial got underway. Councilor number one explained that they thought the five minutes I'd given them was to settle down and talk quietly. Councilor number two told me that they'd turn out the light and go straight to sleep.
I stared into the blue eyes and then the brown, looking closely for a hint of manipulation. Sincerity shone.
I felt myself begin to waver. They sensed the weakness and went for the kill like wolves after their prey, begging for another chance with loud promises of going straight to sleep.
I opened my mouth to give in, but had a moment of self-awareness. I tend to be weak when it comes to allowing my kids to feel the pain of their choices.
I knew what my original intent was, so I needed to discipline according to my intent. Not according to their interpretation.
If I receive a traffic ticket, the judge isn't going to say, "Oooooh, you thought a yellow light meant speed up, Mrs. Sand. Well, of course we'll wave that fine."
It's my job to lead my kids and teach them to follow, rather than try to keep up and contort myself into the image that meets their desires.
And not try to wiggle my way out of traffic fines . . .