Ah, bedtime. The exhausting tasks of the day are over and you finally get to put your precious children in their beds.
You are done. You made it. Glory.
Let the magazine reading, tea drinking, bubble bath taking, and Netflix watching begin.
Or not, you know, whatever.
A few more hours of negotiating with irrational children would be fun, too, right?
Because you may think the day is done, but your kids are pretty sure there are a few more items on their to-do lists. Let the bedtime circus begin.
In the center ring we have the following:
10. Someone will ask for a glass of water 37 times. This makes perfect sense, really, to drink high quantities if liquids before attempting to sleep for eight or ten hours. Plus, moms and dads respond in increasingly friendly and happy tones on the third, nineteenth, and thirty-seventh requests for “more water, please”. So by all means, drink up, sweet sleepy children.
9. Someone will spit on someone else. This is apparently especially fun if the glass of water is available as a source for the spit war. Also exciting is the prospect of spitting on someone from a top bunk, when that person is cowering against the wall with pillow over his face. Bullseye!
8. Someone’s pajamas (which they chose themsleves ten minutes ago) will be found to be unacceptable. They are too itchy. The shirt is too small. The pants aren’t long enough. They bunch up weird. They are too warm. They aren’t warm enough. They don’t match the right stuffed animal. They are actually too comfortable. Who can be expected to sleep in these treacherous conditions???? Turn on the lights and let’s just start over, shall we?
7. Someone will have to go potty again. And again. And again. And again. Could this perhaps have something to do with the 37 glasses of water you just drank? Nah. Don’t overthink it, kids. Just head down the hall again.
6. The bulb in the hall light will go out. How does the hallway light bulb know that 8:30 pm on Friday night is the most inconvenient time to quit? I don’t know about you, but I find that pulling out the ladder and hunting down a new 60 watt bulb on a Friday night is simply a fabulous way to welcome the weekend.
5. Potty talk and inappropriate humor. The lights go out, parents say goodnight, and the kids are quiet for 4.2 minutes while mom and dad get a safe distance away. Then those obedient, sweet children find that they can’t hold it in any longer. “Poop!!!” “Dirty diaper head!!” “Stinky potty man!!”
4. Someone will tattle on someone else. At bedtime, kids generally can’t decide if they are courageous partners in crime, or double agents ready to turn each other in for any slight misbehavior. “All I did was poke him with my pillow, and he threw a roll of toilet paper at me. And it hit me in the EYE!!!!” they say. “He sleeps in the top bunk. How did he manage to throw toilet paper at you if you were both in your beds?” I ask. They realize they have incriminated themselves and back out of the accusation. “Well…never mind. It’s okay, I guess. My eye feels better.” That’s exactly what I thought….
3. Someone will sneak a book. Ever since the invention of flashlights, kids have hidden beneath the covers and tried to finish that last chapter of the book that is way too good to put down. Ever since the first child did this, every parent has pretended to be upset and then patted themselves on the back for raising a child who loves to read this much as they walk back to the living room.
2. Someone will be scared. The bottom line is this: The combination of a healthy imagination, some shadows on the ceiling, and nighttime noises is terrifying. And in my experience, let me warn you: If you let them watch The Wizard of Oz, you may be in for a really long night.
1. Everyone will fall asleep eventually. It seems nearly impossible some nights, but sweet sleep wins in the end. If they would just lie still for five minutes, it would win a lot sooner. So, for goodness sake, children- BE QUIET. CLOSE YOUR EYES. AND BE STILL ALREADY!!!!!