Bedtime Hysterics


Does anyone else ever feel the need to call a crisis management consultant at bedtime?  Seriously, why isn’t “bedtime crisis management consultant” a thing?

Aside from the usual night time shenanigans, there are times when a completely exhausted and overtired Diego starts to over think and fixate on some banal detail until he’s in tears and worked up over the littlest, zaniest idea.  There were the crocodiles who might escape from the zoo, pirates who might mistake us for their treasure, or even my “mean” face, which I don’t often use but just the idea of it at bedtime can set him off.

Sometimes I see it coming, and I do everything in my power to prevent the unfolding drama.  But my success rate is embarrassingly low.  For example…

“Mommy, maybe some day we can go back to the store (Barnes and Noble) and give the man enough money so we can bring home the 3-headed dragon and T. Rex puppets. I really liked them. I even have some money in my bank already.”

Ok, not bad, maybe this crisis can be averted. I could work with this.  He doesn’t seem too upset.

“I love that 3-headed dragon!”


“I just loved, really loved that 3-headed dragon. (Cue the tears) What am I going to doooooo?”

I’m in trouble.

I’ll never earn enough money!”

Big trouble.

(Cue the high pitched life-is-ending crying whisper) “What if someone else gets him before me?”

What was the number for that bedtime crisis management consultant?

“Waaaaaaahhhhhh! How will we ever find another one if someone else can get it. Oh noooo! Someone else will get it!”

The sobs begin to shake his little body.

“I’ll never be able to get enough money!  How many moneys does it cost?  30 moneys?  Never ever!  I’ll never be able to get it!”

We’ve reached full blown freak out.  Over a puppet.  The walls are closing in…there’s no way out…I’m trapped…where is his father?!  Grasping at straws, I make another rookie mistake.  I try using reason, suggesting he ask for it for his birthday (October) or maybe for Christmas.

“That takes too long! I’ll just try to save my money. But I’ll never be able to! “

Really, what was I thinking?


No, really. What. Was. I. Thinking? Why would I say anything? Why would I use logic? Don’t try and reason with an overtired 5 year old.  Just be quiet and let the thing run its course.

I start taking deep breaths and exhaling loudly. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Soon, I notice someone else breathing…or attempting to…breath with me. This is good.  The room seems to be returning to its proper size, the vertigo seems to be lifting, and the boy seems to be calming down.

Eventually, he hugs my neck, we kiss goodnight, and as I head for the door, thinking it’s finally over (because I’m a cock-eyed optimist) I hear a quiet little voice suggest:

“Just one more idea. You could buy it for me now, and I’ll always be happy.”

It’s my turn this time, “Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”


One thought on “Bedtime Hysterics

  1. Parenting is the toughest job that comes with little or no training–no manual and no guarantees that one thing will work with all children. I could have used a “Parenting for Dummies” 30+ years ago! You are dong a fantastic job with those boys, Lydia! Diego is sensitive and he will make an caring, understanding husband someday. BYW, the phone # for the bedtime crisis management consultant is 1-800-CRY-BABY (and it might be YOU who needs to cry sometimes, am I right?)

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