I used to love bedtime in our house. I truly did. We would read colorful books with joyful illustrations and cute themes. We sang lullabies. The boys and I would snuggle in the rocking chair and talk about all of the fun things we had seen and done that day. Then I’d tuck them in with kisses and hugs, making sure the covers were snugly tucked around them before I turned out the light. It was effing Rockwellian.
I don’t know what happened, or when, but now bedtime straight up sucks the big one. Take tonight, for example.
6:30pm – “Okay boys! Time to start getting ready for bed. Let’s pick out pajamas.” I’m not asking for too much here. Cade doesn’t like the pajama choices in his drawer, so he looks in Grady’s. Grady hates the choices in both drawers, so he refuses to wear anything at all. This goes on for 10 minutes, because I’m endlessly refocusing them as they get distracted by toys during the pajama selection process. Who needs Ritalin? Me.
6:45pm – Now I have to wrestle them into said pajamas. Someone told me once that dressing a toddler was like trying to put an octopus in a mesh bag without any of its tentacles slipping out. Truth.
7:00pm – Story time! What treasured children’s classics shall we drift off to sleep with tonight? The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Where the Wild Things Are? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? Cade picks a dinosaur nonfiction book with questionably violent illustrations and Grady selects a book called Super Pooper. Why do we own these things? Why are they on the shelf??
7:10pm – We all squish into the rocking chair and I read them begrudgingly. The boys and I really don’t fit in the chair anymore, but there’s nowhere better to sit so we try to make it work. By “try” I mean that I read while the boys push and shove at each other, pissed that his brother is hogging all the lap space. Know how it feels to have two kids wrestling and knocking into you as you read a hardbound book? About the same as taking the book’s corners and poking yourself over and over in the neck.
7:30pm – Oh, Mommy – you’re about to turn off the light? I have sudden onset “dying of thirst”! I must have gallons and gallons of water RIGHT NOW or I will DIE.
7:40pm – Lights out and I escape. Whew! I can finally eat my dinner, which is now cold. Wait a minute…did I just hear a doorknob click? Crap.
7:40 – 8:30 Is the Prairie Dog Hour. Each boy pops out of his room every 5 – 10 minutes with an excuse worse than the last. “You forgot the water cup in here.” “I was worried about you.” “I just wanted to pet Dwight.”
At some point they will pass out and actually sleep, but it’s a gut-wrenching slog to get them there. Exhibit A: I’ve been interrupted three times since I started this blog post.
At this rate they will be putting ME to bed so they can stay up late and watch Super Pooping Carnivorous Dinosaurs.
Crazy idea, but try putting them to bed a little later. Worked wonders for my kiddo.
Oh yes, I am familiar with sudden onset thirst syndrome. My son claims it like he invented the stalling tactic (of course he his mind he probably thinks he did). Here’s your water. Now go to bed. You have to go potty? Grumble grumble cursed potty training…All done? Nope? But it has been nearly 15 minutes. I think you can try again later. Ackkkk my ears!!! Fine. Fine. 5 more minutes. Then it is bedtime for real…
I had to laugh. So true!