Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Five Universal Laws of Bedtime

There's something magical about the phrase "Time for Bed!" It spontaneously transforms our children into tiny little atomic particles of destruction and evasion, ricocheting off of everything except their toothbrushes and their pillows. And we invariably wind up standing in the hallway making threats of such cosmic - and comic - proportions that, when we finally do retreat downstairs, the kids whisper to each other, "Do you really think Mommy is going to the moon tonight? Why can't we go? She's so mean..."

1. The Hydration Equation
This refers to the sudden onset of extreme thirst and/or hunger that is timed to delay going to sleep and to possibly make mommy's head explode.  Remember that thing called dinner? The thing you didn't feel like eating? Remember the full glass of milk you left on the table twenty minutes ago? YOU ARE NEITHER HUNGRY NOR THIRSTY, YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP.  You can't fool mommy. 

2.  The Elimination Lapse
You do three things in the bathroom. Brush, wash and go. And, every night, we do all three of those things. So let me ask you something, because I just don't understand it. Why do I have to remind you to pee?  I am inclined to think that you don't pee on purpose because you know I'll ask you if you remembered to brush, wash and go and then you'll have an excuse to get out of bed and ask me four hundred questions.  Rather than just go to sleep, so that I can fold laundry with my nice glass of wine and something cheesy on TV.

3. The Lunar Revelations
By the time bedtime rolls around, the children have been home from school for somewhere between four to seven hours. In that time, there's been opportunities to play, eat, possibly do homework, rat on their siblings, pretend to take a bath, eat some more, play Wii, smack someone, sit in Time Out, complain about dinner, eat dinner, whine about the woefully pathetic dessert selection, tell your parents about every stinkin' moment of your school day including when you thought you were rappers and eat some more.

Why, dear children, does bedtime suddenly coincide with a daily epiphany of all the sh*t you forgot to do? Things like an art project. Or get out the note that your teacher sent home to remind mommy about the Field Trip she agreed to chaperone. Tomorrow. With cupcakes. Is your bed the trigger for your memory? Because if that's the case, we have a problem. In that somehow you can look at your bed every morning and still not remember that maybe making it would be a good idea.

4.  The Proximation Predilection
After spending the entire afternoon ignoring me & rolling your eyes, now you want to snuggle? You must think I'm an idiot. You just want to drag out bedtime as long as you possibly can until I -- oh, all right. Come here and snuggle.  I love you, too.  Just for five minutes though. GAAAHH! Your feet are cold! And please stop shoving your elbow in my boob. That dent is not going to come out. 
5. The Quadratic Formula of Equality
No matter how efficient you think you are, there is no getting around the fact that the bedtime routine will take ten minutes per kid. Add a bedtime related chore - say getting backpacks filled and placed by the door or exterminating a monster infestation under a bed or in a closet - add another ten minutes. Per kid. Then factor in the super-annoying, post-tuck-in, pre-sleeping, multiple-mom-shout-outs and requests-for-sh*t.

And that's when we turn from kind, loving mommies into crazy, seething lunatics who threaten our kids with snakes if they don't stop making noise for the love of Maude. Luckilly, there's a new book for that...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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