A Bedtime Story
It’s Sunday evening. I have checked through the kid’s school agendas, signed off on their homework (or lack thereof) and sent them off to read for a bit. This goes off with the usual fussing. “I’ve already read the book my teacher game me. Why can’t I pick my owwwnnn books?” “How long? But that’s FOREVER!” “Oh, whatever, I get dessert later, right?”
The kids are highly compliant (not). After they run out of excuses, I start the timer. Well, I really just make a note of the time and then estimate the time they need to read, plus ten minutes. A little parenting tip – don’t put clocks in rooms where your kids read or practice piano.
Their reading time is complete and I have cleaned up from dinner. I tell the kids that they may watch some television or play their video games for a little bit before they are off to bed. We are in agreement with the terms for the evening. I don’t know about other households, because I can only speak with authority about the house I was raised in, (no negotiation), and the house I am currently in charge of, (court seems to always be in session). Are other parents constantly negotiating with their children? Or, have they beat them into submission? Let me rephrase that… are other kids compliant?
Back to the story. I give the fifteen minute warning. “Fifteen minutes to bed!” All show their understanding with the usual grunt or nod. Ten minutes later I give the five-minute warning. This is where everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Suddenly, the boys want another course of dinner and dessert. The Girl wants to talk about things going on at school, guides, whatever. And apparently this is a conversation with life or death implications.
I remind the boys that they have already gone through two – four course meals today, both with dessert, and there will be no additional snacks this evening. I have a talk with the Girl about the upcoming week, ending with a little pep talk. The day is won and it is time for children in my house to go to bed. Or one would think.
I hear the kids going upstairs. “Stop it!”
“You stop it!”
“BOYS!” scolds the Girl. I see the shadow of a Webkin flying across the hall, but I am on my way to the garage to remind my husband that he should come in from whatever he is doing to tuck in his lovely children. They proceed upstairs without further incident, though I hear grumbling from all parties involved.
I come upstairs a couple of minutes later to find their bathroom counter flooded with water. “What happened here?” I ask the Apprentice, the only person in the bathroom. The other two swoop in, telling wild stories of aliens and animals and finally, how their brother spilled water everywhere. “Okay, fine. I will clean it up,” I inform them, “Has everyone brushed their teeth? Ready for bed?” Silence. Harrumph.
All the cubs are tucked into bed and I head downstairs to the kitchen. JB is eating some dinner and I pour myself a bottle glass of wine. As I take my first gulp sip, I hear one boy yell at another. I go upstairs to see what is amiss, and find that the yeller is pretending to be asleep as the other starts to tell me about this grave injustice that he must share a bedroom with his brother. There are stuffy’s everywhere, (I hate stuffys), suggesting something of trench warfare. I sigh, tuck them both in again and remind them that I love them, though I would love them more if they would get a decent night’s sleep. Starting exactly now.
All crises resolved, I return to the family room to check on football scores and The Amazing Race. A whole two minutes goes by before we hear footsteps. The Girl appears, telling us that she is having trouble sleeping. She states that she has a lot on her mind. I instruct her to sit with her father. After a few minutes of cuddling, she is back up the stairs to bed. I check again in about five.
All is quiet. The End. Anyone want to come over next Sunday?