Monday, 12 September 2011

Go To Bed

Every night, we do the 'go to bed' dance.

It starts at about 6:30 with Eva, who is the only one who should be difficult to put to bed, and, consequently, is the easiest one to get there. We get her into pj's, cuddle on the couch with a cup of milk, and pop in her soother. Then we lay her down in bed, turn on her lullaby seahorse, and she's done. It took her till she was 1 to sleep through the night, so I figure we had this coming.

It's the older kids who seem to have a problem with the process. They have had roughly 13,505 bedtimes between the 3 of them, and still, none of them seem to get it.

Squid has (as we have already discussed) a bladder that never runs dry. So if you tell him to go pee before you read him a story (almost always 'The Gruffalo'- best kid's book EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!), he will still need to go AFTER the story. And again before you flip the light off. And he still gets up 15 minutes later and pounds on the door of whatever bathroom someone else is in, and pees another 8 to 10 liters. Then he drinks a glass of water. It's a vicious, vicious cycle.

The big kids seem to have selective hearing problems. And issues telling time. And organizational problems. And I kinda think they hate me, too.

Recently, I told them I wanted them in bed by 9:30. Whatever they needed to get done before bed needed to happen now. I used small words, looked them in the eyes, and enunciated clearly. I then had them repeat my instructions verbatim. This was at 8 p.m.

It's not that I want them to go to sleep right away. I understand that they might not be tired yet. I just need them out of my space. I don't think a few hours of undisturbed quiet in my living room is too much to ask after spending all day ruining their lives. I want to sit down and watch Shark Week, uninterrupted by sarcastic commentary from the peanut gallery (who both think "America's Got Talent' is quality TV). I want to eat the ice cream I've been hiding in the back of the freezer for 6 months without having to share a spoon. I want not to have to write a cheque for yet another replacement set of gym strip (2011 total? $125.). I have at times sent them to bed, sat down and logged into Facebook and had them comment on my status as I watched. Stealth is not one of their talents.

They both told me they had finished everything they needed to do, and proceeded to lay on opposite couches in the living room, watching 'The Office'. When I repeated myself every 7 minutes or so, they assured me that they were completely ready for bed. I really started to believe them. Maybe this would be the night they listened. Maybe this would be the night I got some time to myself. Maybe tonight was the night.

Bull. They were screwing with me.

At exactly 9:25, as I stared openmouthed in disbelief, both kids sat bolt upright on their respective couches, threw down their remote controls and cell phones, and fled like I had just released a hive of Africanized bees. I heard their steps thundering up and down the stairs, and then silence. Nothing.

I got up to look for them, and found Liz in the shower. When I asked what in the name of God she was doing, she opened the shower curtain, and stared at me through a haze of steam, shocked that I dared interrupt her nightly ritual.

"I'm showering." she pointed out.

"Yes," I said, "but you need to be in bed in 4 minutes."

"That's fine. I'll just straighten my hair instead of blowdrying it."

"What????" I almost flushed the toilet just to watch her scream. "You aren't going to straighten your hair! You need to be in bed in 3 minutes. Now go to your ROOM!"

"Fine!" She slammed the curtain closed (inasmuch as you can slam vinyl), muttering about her unreasonable mother and how I had no idea how irritating her hair was. Really? I have hair so curly I can hold the kids' hands with it. Seriously. It's like a billion rotary phone cords, sticking out of my skull. I just know how to use a scrunchy.

With her dealt with, I went looking for Isaiah. I found him seated at the kitchen table, surrounded by textbooks, piles of paper in hand, half-gnawed pencil in his mouth, looking for all the world like he'd been there since noon.

"Seven pages?" he muttered, staring at a sociology textbook like it was about to bite him on the nose. "This will take me HOURS."

How do you argue with homework? You can't tell them NOT to do it, and telling them that they should have started it earlier is next to useless. If you fling a textbook at their heads, it might make them stupid, which makes homework take longer. You can't tell them that they'll have to do it in the morning, because then YOU have to get up early to make sure they're awake to do it. There is no consequence that makes sense. I settled for throwing his pencil across the room and storming out of the kitchen.

At 10:15, I gave up and went to bed. The point was lost. Even if I did get some alone time, I'd be too tired the next day to make it worth the wait. I crawled into bed, snuggled into the blankets, and drifted off to sleep, only to be awoken 34 seconds later by a phone call from my daughter's cell, from her bedroom, asking for $7.50 for pizza day tomorrow.

I should have had cats.


  1. "IF you throw a textbook at their heads"? :)

  2. HAHA! I was WONDERING if anyone would pick up on that!!!!!!