Sometimes it feels like I’ve survived a war by the time I actually am done getting the kids to bed. It’s not necessarily because the day was so ridiculously hard, which it was. It is usually because that last hour before the kids finally resign to the fact that they are going to sleep is so horrendously miserable that I am beaten and broken by the time I actually get my butt to the couch, or directly to my bed as the case may be too often for me to be happy with.
It reminds me all too frequently of a game of dodge ball. Here take that, Mom! If I’m successful in dodging this meltdown than I’m thrown an uncooperative stage in the process of getting ready for bed next. It’s a good thing I have cat-like reflexes.
Drew is such a creature of habit that we usually can manage him if we keep everything exactly on task. When something unexpected, or something that just derails our normal routine, happens…watch out! Why, oh why, did Dad “accidentally” score that winning basket?!?! Does that mean for the first time in Drew’s life, he lost in a game of before bed basketball????? Uh oh!
With Gabby, everything is a negotiation. If you brush your teeth, you’ll earn your magnet. If you wash your hands, you’ll get a book. I’m sure in some book somewhere I’m ruining her, disciplining her all wrong and causing her to think that life consists of tit for tat. Truth be told, I can’t handle her otherwise. So either her teeth will never get brushed, her butt will never get wiped and she’ll be roaming the streets naked, or I bribe her. It is…what it is.
And the baby, my precious little baby…why are you the happiest, most laid back baby all day and then wait until the hour before bed to be a Major Crabbypants? Is that a little treat you save up for me? Is it because you’d like an earlier bedtime and we aren’t accommodating? I’d love to help you if your father would get home earlier from work so we could eat dinner at a sensible hour. It would be so nice if we didn’t have to give three separate baths these days. And I’d certainly be thrilled to put you to bed first if getting you to sleep didn’t take an hour. Throw me a bone third child!!!
To the lady in the grocery store who reminds me to enjoy these days, I say come over to my house and try putting these monsters to bed. To the columnist in the Parenting magazine who suggests night time snuggling before bed, I challenge you to not slam the door after dealing with these rugrats bedtime shenanigans. And to Adam, I say have my wine ready once I depart from this warzone.