Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bedtime Stories

Oh bedtime.  Why must you torture me so?

I come in from outside and tell the children to head up to bed.  No response.  I know they can hear me. I guarantee if I said I had free puppies in the garage, every last one of them would have run to me lickety split.

I say it again, go about my business in the kitchen.  I hear Beyblades zinging in the living room, and NO MOVEMENT toward the stairs.

I walk into the living room and tell them a third time to go upstairs and do potty-teeth-and-jammies.  Finally, since I am standing over them, I get a weak response saying they wanted to finish just this battle and then they would go up.

Sigh.  I reminded them (for what is probably the 7947th time of my parenting career) that they need to ask me, not inform me if they would like a moment or two longer to play before heading up.  I am a reasonable person!  I might be happy to oblige when asked first!

Once upstairs, there is a crazy lot of banging and laughing and door locking and silliness, mixed in with precious little oral hygiene and clothes-changing.  I see one child's toothbrush in his bedroom and inquire about it.  "Did you brush your teeth tonight?"  "Yes", says he.  "With what?" I ask.  "My finger", he replies, thinking in all honesty that that is acceptable.  He is quickly informed that it is indeed not and scurries to the bathroom, proper spinbrush in hand.  I hang on to my patience with a tenuous grip and tell them once again that I don't enjoy putting them to bed angry and would they please-oh-please-oh-please get down to business and getintheirbeds!

Finally they settle and Daddy comes home, saving me a bit by divvying up the parenting duties.  He is less frustrated than I since he just came up, and perhaps also because he has more patience.

Bedtime has always been a challenge for me, I'm not gonna lie.  I'm weary and so is everyone else, though the kids "are not sleepy even a bit!".  I don't have as much fortitude when I'm tired and I lose my cool a wee bit more easily.   But by golly, how hard is it to simply get changed and ready for bed?

For a child, it's really hard.  Transitions are a sticky business with kids, I've learned.  We always do a bedtime Bible story and prayers at night, which calms everyone's hearts, most certainly including mine. We've also started blessing the children individually at bed, and I'll tell ya what, dear reader, it is hard to stay angry at your children when your hand is on his head, making the sign of the cross and blessing him.

It is now 8:38 and all's quiet on the western front.  I hear nothing from upstairs, so I'm hopeful they have settled down into sweet slumber.  Soon I'll head up to bed myself and look at their peaceful faces. I'll touch their cheeks and watch their chests rise and fall.  And I'll think how sweet they look and how angelic.  And I will have forgotten all about the discord at bedtime.  Thankfully.

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