Friday, August 15, 2008

To Dream Perchance of Them Sleeping

Some nights bedtime is like playing Whack A Mole at the carnival, except it’s the gophers that have the mallets and they’re playing Whack a Mom or Make a Mom Wacky, depending upon how late it gets. After bathing, brushing hair, brushing teeth and bedtime stories, prayers and kisses, I’m done…and if I want it all done by 8:30, the bath water has to start running at 7:15 …am.

Summer has not helped matters. With no place to have to be, the kids have far less incentive to sleep. We have tried explaining, parents have an evening expiration time, at which point, they no longer wish to keep functioning as Mom and Dad. We need downtime…when we could read, write, eat Moose Track Ice Cream without sharing. The children think such things would lead to parental idleness.

Getting them up early to face the consequences of late nights as grown-ups must sounded promising. But tired children fight. Tired children growl. These “See now you’ll understand and listen to me because you’ve experienced the consequences of your actions” lessons never work out the way we intend.

We’ve sought to be creative about this process, alternating nights between boys and girls for shower purposes, pairing readers with non readers to speed up the routine, even ignoring some of the choices for sleepwear that indicate no change of clothes had taken place. I'm not a crazy person; I just want all sentient and non sentient beings under the age of 18 in their rooms and officially out of our jurisdiction after 8:30 pm.

The strategies we've employed have all worked about equally well, which is to say, they function for the duration that they enjoy the added glow of novelty. Turning off every light and sitting in darkness has just meant we got to field requests for water, kisses; finding books/stuffed animals, extra stories, etc. while being unable to see. Threatening carnage on the first child to come down the stairs has always meant we had to deal with a preventable crisis, the direct result of offspring following our never before enforced draconian edicts.

Oftentimes, the kids employ craft to stay out of their rooms at night. They give Dad back rubs. They bring him milk in a tall glass, ask him about his day, and offer him cookies. With me, they figure sheer numbers will keep me from getting to them individually for at least 20 minutes, and they’re right. Lacking the energy to enforce my will, I decided to try being Dad.

“Can I have a glass of milk?” I asked my nine year old. He got me one.

“And a foot rub?” I asked hopefully. Two children immediately began massaging my feet. It occurred to me, I could have a spotless home if I allowed the kids to stay up as long as they kept working.

My feet being massaged, three more children showed up. “Oh good, you’re just in time, I need a few people to fold the clothes.” I beamed. “I’ve decided, you may all stay up if you fold all the laundry.” I point to Mt. Everest sitting in the red room awaiting a good hour of work. “And then the dishes.”

The sounds of swiftly shutting doors and lights being flicked off left me thinking, “Darn, should have just stayed with the foot rub.”

If this didn't make you nod off, you might let them know over at

No comments:

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!