Tonight was a rough one. You have really been testing your limits lately. I know, it is really, really, really hard being three years old (you tell us this all the time). I know you have big emotions and don't know how to handle them. You have been yelling, hitting things, and not following the rules. Daddy and I are having a tough time too. This is the first time we have had a three year old. We are trying to do our best, but are not sure if we are doing it the right way. The consequence of not listening at night is to take your bedtime story away. Believe me, it hurts us just as much as it hurts you. I would have a much easier time taking away a toy, but to take away a book, ugh, I hate it.
Tonight, when you were told no story, you ran into the corner, tears streaming down your red face. You turned around, eyes wide, hand on your chest and said through your tears "I can feel my heart beating. My heart hurts because I'm upset." Oh Baby Girl, my heart hurt too. It will always hurt when you are upset, even when you are a grown up. I wanted to give you that story back. It is so hard not to give in when you are crying, pleading for your story time, apologizing through your tears, saying between sobs that you are listening now. I remind you that tomorrow is a new day, and we can try again tomorrow.
Tonight instead of reading a book we had a few minutes of cuddle time. You snuggled up against me in the dark and said in a voice still shaky with tears, "Tell me a story about when you were a little girl at the pool." So I held you tight and told you about when I was finally brave enough to jump off of the high dive, and how the walls of the bathroom were painted the same blue as the bottom of the pool. Daddy carried you into your room and we tucked you in.
As I closed your gate I reminded myself, tomorrow is a new day. We can try again tomorrow.