As my kids get older, getting them to bed has its challenges. For both of them, having a set time to be in bed has been a big deal. Anytime between 7:30-8:30pm usually gets them enough sleep to make them bareable the following day. Anything after that…it’s a crapshoot. Either way, there are many steps to getting our lovely children to bed…bedtime rituals, if you may…and some are more aggravating than others.
Let’s start at the beginning. Books. Gotta read books. If we let them pick them, they are usually the same ones. Over…and over…and over. We’ve read the Fancy Nancy series to Ava so many times that she has 2 of them memorized! And now that Christopher can read on his own, he prefers to read his own books. Which is a double-edged sword. I like that he is reading on his own (although I always enjoyed reading to him!), but he reads so much slower that if the book is larger than 20 pages, he could be up all night. Because, as all of us with kids know, there are no greater procrastinators in the world than a kid who doesn’t want to go to bed. So we get the books read and then move on to Step 2: teeth brushing time!
Yay! We love to brush our teeth…right? Sure! As long as he gets to put his toothpaste on his toothbrush using the same kind of toothpaste that she wants to put on her toothbrush and why does he get to put it on first? because I got here first and I had it first but then he took it and put it on his first and I WANTED TO DO IT?!? (commence crying) Yeah…brushing teeth is all kinds of fun.
Peeing is next. Usually its a mad scramble to see who can finish brushing first. If Christopher gets done first, Ava will always really have to go “really bad”. I tell Christopher to make it snappy, to which he then proceeds to stand there with his ________ out and this dumb look on his face that says, “Are you talking to me?”
YES I’M TALKING TO YOU! HURRY IT UP ‘CAUSE YOUR SISTER’S ABOUT TO EXPLODE! (commence crying)
Now we have to go upstairs and decide whose room is the hotspot for saying our goodnight prayer. My wife has some system figured out. I think it has to do with odd and even days. I haven’t really paid much attention to it. Usually by the end of the day I’m so frazzled that I can’t even tell you what day of the week it is, let alone what the date might be. So I just say…”It’s Ava’s room tonight!” Two reasons for this. First, Ava has the bigger bed. Gives the kids more distance between them during the prayer, otherwise they nudge and fiddle around and get to giggling and it takes forever to say the prayer. Secondly, Steph puts Ava to bed, I usually put Christopher to bed. Ava has more “stuff” that needs to be just so or else (commence crying). So, I try to get out of Ava’s room as quickly as possible to avoid all the nonsense. Kapeesh?
Ooookay…I didn’t realize how long this was getting. Let’s break this down to make it faster. Here’s the checklist of what Christopher needs before I am able to walk downstairs…
- His animals ALL have to be in place (and trust me, there are hundreds of them!). If one is lost, there is a search team (aka Mom & Dad) that is dispensed and the entire house searched until said animal is found. If animal is not found…(commence crying)
- The closet door HAS to be FULLY closed.
- Nightlight on.
- Steph’s closet room light on.
- Fan on and positioned so it is blowing directly in his face.
And then there is Ava. needless to say, her list is quite extensive and changes from time to time, depending on her memory and whether or not she’s just drop dead tired (when she starts making stuff up). Here’s a short list…
- SHE must turn on her nightlight
- SHE must turn off the hallway light
- Bathroom nightlight on
- Fancy Nancy and Posh Puppy at the foot of her bed…face down (haven’t figured that one out yet)
- All her princesses lined up on the pillow beside her
- Gwen Stefani dog (don’t ask) on the pillow as well
- Box of tissues at her side (her future husband is gonna LOVE that one!)
- Single tissue out and placed on her pillow, all ready to be used
- Lotion applied under nose
- Socks on (even in the summer)
- Fan on
Once all of this is in place, we say our goodnight. However, our goodnights aren’t simply “goodnight”. That would be WAY too easy! Nooooo…we must say goodnight at least 322 times and Ava must ask what time the sun will set and what time she should rise in the morning. We blow Christopher kisses. Ava must know that our cats and dog are downstairs and not going to bother her while she sleeps. We say goodnight a few more times and then Stephanie says…”That’s enough!”
And that’s it.