I like to consider myself a fairly good parent. I love my children dearly. I love being present for their day to day, watching them grow and learn and laugh and love. I love kissing boo-boos, wiping tears, giving hugs, and tucking them into bed with a prayer and a kiss each and every night. At 10, 8 and 7 they’re at great ages too. I am the first to admit that while I loved the baby, diaper and bottle phase, I find the one we’re in now a bit more fulfilling. Newborns are a TON of work. And while they’re cuddly and squishy and warm and adorable, for me the work outweighed the fun BIG TIME. But now, now my kids are pretty fun. These elementary school years are my jam. My kids are hysterical. They have these awesome little personalities that are forming before my very eyes. They’re funny and loving and kind. They make jokes that actually make sense (most of the time), they are wildly imaginative and create detailed, intricate games and activities that are astounding to watch, and they are forming friendships with peers where they’re learning conflict, resolution, selflessness, kindness and empathy. They’re really turning into cool kids, kids that if I was in their class I would want to be friends with.
That’s one reason why I dig the elementary school years so much. The other is that they’re also becoming more self-sufficient with each passing day. The elementary school years represent to me the perfect balance of freedom and need. My kids still like me. Most of the time. They want me around and aren’t embarrassed by my very presence yet. They think I’m funny and appreciate for the most part, the things I do for them. But they don’t need me for everything anymore. They can dress themselves, pack their backpacks, clean their rooms and handle their “business” (oh dear Lord thank you for this one) all by themselves. This frees up quite a chunk of time for me to pursue other interests, like going to the bathroom by myself and putting on actual clothes and maybe even some makeup. Sure, I still need to drive them places and keep the household running smoothly, but the overwhelming and sometimes oppressing need of newborns, babies and toddlers is gone. Allowing me more time to enjoy them without the burden of 100% care hanging over me.
And most of all, the thing I love about the elementary school years is….SLEEP. Gone are the days of middle of the night feedings, diaper changes and floorboard pacing that newborns bring to the table. I absolutely adore sleep. It’s wonderful and glorious and I need at least 8 hours of it. Therefore, my nighttime parenting philosophy, as I’ve mentioned before (read all about it here) is very reminiscent of last call at a bar. You don’t have to go to sleep, but you can’t be near me. After 8:00pm you can expect to find my children upstairs tucked nicely in their beds, or at the very least in their rooms or the playroom. I typically get peace and quiet from 8 until 6:15 the next morning, and it’s fabulous.
Which is why I only consider myself a fairly good parent–not great, not fabulous, and certainly not wonderful. Because occasionally my kids still need me in the middle of the night. Occasionally, nightmares happen and my not-so-little babies still need caring, compassionate cuddles from their mom. And I’m embarrassed to admit it, but when this happens and one of my darling children come to me at 2:00am, I am a total and complete monster.
I really don’t know why I am the way I am. I know logically that my children still need me and that they’re scared. Heck, I was the whimpiest kid on the face of the planet growing up. I convinced myself at age 6 that bullets couldn’t go through fabric so I would meticulously close my curtains so that there weren’t any gaps and attempt to lay completely still with every inch of my body underneath a blanket just in case a bad guy came by with a gun. I would pad down the hall to my parents room so often that my mom, in total and complete desperation I’m sure, taught me that if I repeated “I’m not going to have a bad dream” to myself over and over as I fell asleep I would, in fact, not have a bad dream. I wore that trick out so much that I’m pretty sure my freshmen year college roommate would tell you that she sometimes heard me whisper it to myself in rhythm as I fell asleep in our shared dorm room.
So you’d think that I would have compassion.
But NO……something happens to me when a little face pops up next to my bed in the middle of the night. I go full-on hulk and act like a monster. A typical conversation goes something like this:
Child (through muffled sobs): Mommy……mommy…..mommy…..
Me (face down in the pillow, eyes still closed): huh?
Child: I had a bad dream.
Me (wiping drool from cheek, one eye open): You’re fine. Go back to bed.
Child: But mommy. I had a really bad dream.
Me: It was just a dream. Dreams aren’t real. Go back to bed.
Child (working into true hysterics at this point): But mommmmmmyyyy….I’m scared. A bad man is up there. I want to sleep with you.
Me: There’s no bad man. It was just a dream. Go. back. to. bed.
Child (now in full blown crying/whine): Buuuuutttt, mommmyyyy…I’m scared. I want to get in bed with you. I want to sleep with you.
Me (with an overly dramatic sigh of resignation): Fine. Go crawl in on Daddy’s side.
I’m not even nice about it. I have no compassion. I don’t acknowledge their fears and validate them. I don’t cuddle them or coddle them. I am just not nice. And then I send them to their (sleeping) fathers side of the bed. What is wrong with me, people? I always wake up and regret that I wasn’t more caring. I feel awful for not giving them the love that they needed in that moment. But each and every time, the same scenario plays itself out.
Now, in my defense…..if a child is throwing up, sick, or in need of some serious help (as if there were actually a bad man in their room trying to get them) I am 100% all-in. I’ve never turned a vomiting child on my husband and burrowed back down under the covers. No. If they REALLY need me I’m there, no matter what time it is. But it’s as if my sleeping mind has an instant assessment ability and can sniff out a fake nightmare without my full consciousness required, and I react accordingly. It’s become such a thing with my family that my children have all adapted to this little “quirk” of mine in their own different way. My oldest, his way is to not care whether or not I’m nice. He’s going to come and wear me down with persistence until he gets the response he needs. Whether it takes 10 minutes or two hours, he’s in this midnight game to win. It should also be noted that most of his nighttime hijinks he would prefer I NOT be present for, because they’re naughty, so he doesn’t stop by too often anymore. My middle son, God bless him, NEVER EVER comes in. I swear that child would stay in his room through a serious case of the stomach flu and not tell us until the morning. I’ve had to get proactive with him and tell him that he can come out if he needs me, that I want him to come get me. And he still rarely does. My youngest, though, she’s smart (and arguably spoiled). She now goes to her daddy, who is absolutely kinder when awakened and also a lot more likely to win in a battle against an actual bad man. He always lets her in and he always cuddles her until she’s not scared anymore.
And he always tells me all about it in the morning with the triumphant glee only a favorite parent can manage.
And I get it. He is better at it. I bow down to him in well-deserved parenting reverence because I’m awful. I love sleep and if you take it from me for some reason other than near death or gastrointestinal distress, I’m probably not going to be super nice about it.
And that is why I’m just a fairly good parent. I love my kids all of the time. I just don’t know how to show it in the middle of the night. I’m sure there’s a parenting webinar or podcast I can hop on to get better at this stuff.
Oh, who am I kidding? We all know that I’m not going to do that.
It’s safe to say I’m a work in progress here, people.
So, when I’m feeling guilty in the morning for being a total and complete bear just a few hours earlier, I do my best to make it up to my precious angel children. I always say I’m sorry for being so grumpy at night (see? modeling humbleness is great parenting, right? I have my moments, y’all). I give extra hugs and kisses and make sure to be attentive to their every need. And in a case of extra grumpiness, I head to the place where I am best equipped to make all right with the world. You guessed it. The kitchen.
I make a breakfast that surpasses our regular fare of cereal, toast and a lick and promise. Sometimes pancakes, sometimes waffles, and sometimes these adorable Scrambled Egg Crescent Cups. I cannot even begin to stress just how much I love Crescent Rolls. They are an answer to a busy moms prayer. I buy them in bulk from Costco (ironically, also the answer to a busy moms prayer) and use them multiple times a week in multiple ways. Now that I think of it, I should probably do a round-up post of all of the ways I have creatively worked Crescent Rolls into a meal. Stay tuned….that newfound brilliance will undoubtedly show up shortly. But I digress, these little cups are cute, easy and make a fun and delicious way for your kids to get their eggs in the morning. They’re also undeniably impressive for brunches and family holiday get-togethers, where it’s also entirely possible that you have some making up to do as well.
Scrambled Egg and Cheese Crescent Cups
- 1 package Pilsbury Crescent Rolls
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup diced ham (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cooking Spray
- Step 1 Heat oven to 375
- Step 2 Lightly spray cups of muffin tin to prevent sticking.
- Step 3 Cut Crescent Rolls into 8 squares (ignoring the pre-cut triangle lines on the dough)
- Step 4 Line cups of muffin tin with rolls, pinching dough together and stretching out to cover any gaps.
- Step 5 Sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese in the bottom of each cup and top with about a teaspoon of diced ham, if using.
- Step 6 In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a dash of water and salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 7 Pour about 1 tablespoon full of eggs into each cup, being careful not to overfill.
- Step 8 Top with a remaining cheese and ham.
- Step 9 Bake for 12 minutes, until rolls start to brown. Then cover lightly with tin foil for 5 minutes more or until the eggs are completely set.
- Step 10 Serve with hot sauce, ranch or ketchup.