Babywise, Healthy Sleep Habits--Happy Child and The Seven O'Clock Bedtime Book were my bibles. Everyone knew that I had my kids in bed by 7:00 pm, if not earlier. Hey, I was with the crew all day long and they couldn't tell time and it got dark very early. So, why not?
Putting my kids down early was a source of great pride and joy. By 7:30, I had a clean house and a sleeping foursome. I could enjoy my favorite TV programming, a good book, and--on the rare occasions my husband was in town and not at a church meeting--some adult conversation. I could get a babysitter and shop at Target, completely kid-free. I was very smug. I was a great mom and I knew it. And, geez, why wasn't everyone else doing the same thing?
Well, I shoulda known.
Nothing lasts forever, especially with growing kids around. So, using the above photo collage as my visual aid, I'll give you the lo-down and maybe you can write in with your suggestions.
1. The kids were playing beautifully in the yard together. I find that the more dangerous or messy the activity, the less they fight. So, when they decided to pull all my dead lily-branch-thingies and tie them together to make boats, I was okay with it. Better than watching Nickelodeon, right?
2. The boats were SOOO cool, they had to walk through the deep dark woods to the stream behind our house and see if they would float. A little nature and exercise, fine.
3. Dad came home and grilled our dinner. We HAD to eat outside on the patio. Great...the family meal, very important.
4. Dad made everyone clean up the mess outside. (He's the meanie...love it!) Plus, someone had to do the dishes...and I think we can all guess who. At this point, everyone was begging for cookies and ice cream. Actually, I wanted some too, so we all sat down for ANOTHER meal at the formerly clean kitchen counter. Yeah...yeah..yeah...more bonding time, great!
5. In theory, this would be the time when one parent bathed the twins while another parent assisted with homework. (You may be wondering why we don't do homework right after school. Well, we just don't. My kids are hyper little critters and need to be outside while the sun shines.) During this study/bath/bonding time, there were several phone calls and a couple of naked people just running around the house. The (3rd grade) homework proved too difficult for the on-duty parent (even though she had at one time been a 3rd grade super-student and even a 3rd grade teacher...hello!). So a mid-stream parent switch was necessary. More screaming, more phone calls, more nudity...you get the picture.
6. Once the twins were finally wrestled into bed and the homework was completed...including the always-painful read aloud and writing in the dreaded reading log, kid #2 reminded me of PICTURE DAY. This meant extra-thorough showering, toothbrushing, clothing selection and rolling her hair in rag curlers...because even though she is adopted, she somehow inherited my stick straight hair. OK, we were slowly inching our way closer to bedtime.
7. Just as we had their heads on the pillow, ready for prayers and lullabies...KNOCK! KNOCK! Who's there? The neighborhood BOO, that's who! OHHHHHH the inhumanity! Everyone was out of bed, tussling over the candy, fighting over the bucket, crying about who got to tape the ghost to the door, eating more than their allotted single piece, running back to the bathroom to re-brush, needing drinks of water. Gee, thanks, neighbor. Next time why don't you just throw a brick through the window? It'd be less hassle and mess...
So...that is why I am cranky today. And that is why no one got to bed before 9:00 pm.