In my mind, bedtime is this dreamy, slightly out of focus montage of bubble baths and yummy smelling shampoo, soft cozy jammies, singing the ABC's while brushing teeth, doing cheers with the little paper cups of water, giggle swishing and spitting en masse into the sink before collectively climbing into one big bed for an awesome story that culminates in three sleeping kids that have to be lovingly moved into their own beds and - as I quietly close the last door - being greeted by McLovin with a glass of Pinot Noir in his hand. And, it's over with at 8:45pm.
McLovin also looks eerily like Daniel Craig.
Rather, it's a little like this...actually, it's exactly like this. "Time for bed!" - we've discovered - is the kid equivalent of declaring war on a hostile nation. A hostile nation of short people who have no intention of making this soft, cozy, fuzzy nor over with at 8:45pm. In fact, they've basically already created a war plan that will guarantee my surrender at some point.
I call it The No Bed Doctrine.
- Disorient the Mompetition: My kids employ one of two strategies that I have yet to conquer. It's either The Whine & Evade, which involves all three of them disappearing in three different directions the moment I call bedtime. And then it's like they're everywhere and nowhere at the same time. McGee is complaining from the kitch -- nope, she's in the bathroom. Or, maybe the laundry room...where the hell is she? Lefty and Happy -- being the cunning sort -- have hidden themselves away with the baby monitor, so I go looking for them where I hear their voices. And, just as soon as I figure that little trick out, they've lit out for another room. Slithery little men. They'll make excellent long-term bachelors.
- War Zone Isolation: This usually happens in the bathroom, forcing me to cross a minefield of slippery wet bath toys to acquire my prey, in the form of a lotioned-up naked 4-year old who has less grip than a Wesson-ed pig at the Iowa State Fair. Having been incapacitated by foam alphabet letters wedged in between my toes and blinded by soapy-water filled squirt toys with eerily accurate aim, the naked villain escapes, and I'm left with seven inches of water on the floor, towels that weigh 67 pounds each and a soaking wet prisoner of war -- the geriatric gimpy beagle - glaring at me from inside the bathtub with a half of bottle of Johnson's baby wash embedded in his fur. He "detonates" about six seconds later, slinging a noxious combination of wet fur, foam and filthy water all over, well, everything. But, mostly me.
- Chemical Warfare: Toothpaste is a funny thing. It slips off of everything it's supposed to stick to, specifically toothbrushes and TEETH, and yet sticks to everything else, predominantly clothing, sinks, countertops, faucets, mirrors, wet dogs, dry floors, hair and doorhandles. I estimate in my house, toothpaste is 20% cleaning agent, 75% toxic blue ooze, and 657% of the reason I'm going to lose my ever lovin' mind.
- PsyOps: "Well, all the towels were wet, so I tried to dry off with toilet paper, but now I have all these little wormy things on me..." "I used the dog's towel...it smells funny..." "I was supposed to finish that adobe village for tomorrow's class project..." "I tried to make some milk, but I spilled...you should hurry, it's still dumping out of the jug..." "I didn't wash my hair in the shower, so I used Daddy's shaving cream..." "I thought it was lotion...what is D-E-S-I-T-I-N? It's kinda sticky..." "I needed a haircut...I think I didn't do such a good job..." "Mom, why is your eye doing that wiggly thing like that?"
- Fictional Truce: Thank you, Ben Ten and Star Wars and the Hardy Boys and Olivia and Magic Tree House...you are my Vienna Accords. You are also the reason the IHPs don't sleep in potato sacks in the shed. Because, for eleven minutes every night, there are three mostly-clean, quiet, non-arguing faces all mashed together on two pillows actually agreeing to listen to the same story. And for a few moments, we have detente...or so I think. Little do I know they're silently communicating with each other through Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I'm pretty sure if I'm reading the story about the Tiny Biter Taker Eaters, they're plotting to do exactly that tomorrow. I would really appreciate it if Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle would open up a Can o' Wup-Ass one of these days.
- Aftershocks: And, just when I think it's done and the prayers are said and the roses (best parts) and thorns (worst parts) of our day are announced and the kisses are doled out and the night lights lit and the doors shut and there *might* even be a wine-bearing McLovin at the end of the hall, they deploy their final weapon. "Moommmmm, I'm thirsty." "Mommy, I need to go potty..." "Mom, I can't find my bed...my room is messy. Can you help me clean it?" "Mom, can I have a snuggle?" "No, I wanna snuggle FIRST!" "NO! ME FIRST!" [crying] "I wanna go first! It's not faaaaaiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"
Which means I deploy my ONE weapon: Operation McLovin. He stands in the hallway and addresses three closed doors.
IHPs, in unison: What?
McLovin: What face do you think Mommy is making right now?
IHPs, in unison: Mad-Face
McLovin: And what does that mean in the morning?
IHPs, in unison: More Mad-Face.
Happy: And no pancakes...
McLovin: Right. Mommy is the Pancake Master. Mad-Face does not make pancakes. Tell Mommy goodnight.
IHPs, in unison: Goodnight.
Victory is mine. And, just as you might imagine, victory smells *exactly* like wet dog.
Speaking of which, I have a prisoner to rescue.
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