The Dreaded Bedtime Sequence...
A child that knows they are close to bedtime will not make a peep. No food requests, no fighting, nothing. They’re aware that mom and dad are just looking for any excuse to turn that TV off. Because it’s so rare; because having calm, content children is something that we are continually striving for yet rarely experience, Louise and I will enjoy this brief utopia before the final push to get them into bed.
But of course, moments like these aren’t meant to last. Despite the fact that six kids could comfortably sit in front of that TV, one will kick or shove the other, trying to be dead-center before the magic talking rectangle. The ruckus yanks us out of that idyllic moment, and we return to business as usual. We announce bedtime. But, of course, it’s just not that easy.
You all know the drill. ‘I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m not tired, just ten more minutes, just one more episode’, etc. You name it, we’ve heard it. And I’m sure you’ve heard it all too! So, we shut off the TV and it’s to the bedroom we go. A story or two is read before the tuck-in. Tuck-in is critical! Then Louise and I go to bed and wait. Why do we wait? Because the next phase begins. At thirteen, Beth has been around long enough to give up and go to sleep; but not the little ones.
Almost instantaneously, footsteps are heard. Which one is it? Hmm … that cadence means it’s Zoe. Cute-face in full force, she arrives at our bed with more requests. She wants snuggles, she’s still hungry, she’s not tired, she needs her ‘noculars’ (binoculars) to watch the birds. Louise and I take turns dealing with this. Depending on our energy levels, we either shout or pick her up and carry her back to bed for yet another snuggle.
Minutes later, we hear Zoe and Emily talking. This quickly becomes arguing. It’s obvious they are both out of bed. Then we hear screaming, and toys being thrown against walls. Mom and I are tired, and timeouts require extra energy, so we yell from our bedroom. The little insomniacs appear. Other excuses include the blanket not being on correctly and needing help to find a particular stuffed animal to cuddle with. For people who have more sleep requirements than adults, they certainly don’t act that way.
By the time Louise and I confirm that they’re out cold, we’re usually too tired to watch a show together. To have a semblance of a relationship (what’s that?) it’s critical that...