Friday, April 29, 2011


Is there anything about your day that you just simply detest? I mean really and truly loathe with every fiber of your being? For me, it’s bedtime. More specifically, it’s getting the kids ready for bedtime. Every night around 8:30 PM my left eye starts to twitch and I have this overwhelming sense of dread like when you were in high school and you pissed away weeks worth of time that you had to write a paper and now it’s incredibly late on Sunday night and you are totally and utterly screwed. You know, like that…

It’s the same story every night. 8:45 PM rolls around and the announcement is made that it is Teeth Time and then it starts…

Aaron: Daddy is going to carry me into the bathroom!!!
Elyse:  NOooooooooooo, Daddy is going to carry ME!!!
Aaron: Nuh uh! ME!!! Carry me Daddy!!!
Me: (yelling from the bathroom) Come on, I have two tooth brushes and no kids.
Mike: Why don’t you both just walk in?
Aaron and Elyse: NOOOOOooooooooo!!!!! Carry ME Daddy!!!!
Me: COME ON!!!!!

Somehow they both get into the bathroom. I get Aaron’s teeth brushed and then send him on his way to get his bed ready. Then…I brush Elyse’s teeth. Well, first there is the fight over whether of not she will brush her own teeth. Sometimes I let her give it a try. Most nights we have messed around for so long by this point that I just flat out refuse. The next step is a very intricate dance that I like to call The Taming of the Octopus. By now, if I have refused to let her brush her own teeth, Elyse is flailing about and thrashing like I just doused her with holy water in an attempt to release the demon within. There is screaming, and pleading, and begging…but at some point I manage to get the brush into her mouth. There is still crying and a moderate amount of flailing, but somehow against all odds the job gets done.

Then, she has to tell everyone goodnight. There are four people in our home; Elyse being one of them. That means that she has to say goodnight to three people, but this part of the process is by far the longest and most painful. First, she and Aaron do their “knock down hug” in her room where she runs at him full speed, knocks him to the ground, and they laugh and giggle and thinks that it’s the funniest thing EVER.

Aaron: Goodnight Elyse.
Elyse: Goodnight Brother.

The end, right? Wrong. Aaron goes to his room to get into bed and now Elyse has to give him a hug in his room.

Elyse: I want to hug Brother.
Me or Mike: You just gave Brother a hug.
Elyse: NOOOOooooo, I have to hug Brother.
Aaron: (From the top bunk of his bed) NO GIRLS ALLOWED!!!
Elyse: (climbing up the ladder which is the only reason that she NEEDS to give Brother a hug) Nooooooooo, I want to give you a hug!!!!!

A struggle ensues and Aaron eventually relents and they hug goodnight again. Now Elyse goes off to her room to get her diaper changed and pick her bedtime story while Aaron reads his own story to either me or Mike; whoever won Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock.

The “lucky” one that got to put Elyse to bed has to go through the diaper change, then there is the choosing of the story, the reading of the story, then that story has to be given to the parent in Aaron’s room which leads to another Brother hug and the entire “No Girls Allowed” ordeal.

After she is peeled off of Aaron, she heads back to her room, but not before she HAS to use the potty even though I ask her thirty times a day to use the potty and she violently refuses every single time with such a look of disgust you would think that I asked her to poop on Main Street in the middle of the Christmas Parade.

Of course now that she has used the potty, she has to get a sticker for her calendar. By this point, if I am the one that is putting her to bed, I have completely lost all patience and I’m practically foaming at the mouth. My mind drifts in and out of a fantasy where I live on a deserted island and monkeys bring me fancy drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas and I never, EVER have to brush their teeth.

FINALLY, she gets into bed.

Me: Goodnight Elyse. I love you.
Elyse: Goodnight Mommy. Are we going to Grandma’s tomorrow?
Me: No Elyse.
Elyse: Why?
Me: Goodnight Elyse. Get some sleep.
Elyse: WAIT!!! I need socks!!!!!
Me: (gritting my teeth) OK. I start to put them on her…
Elyse: NOOOOOoooooo, I can do one. She struggles, and tries, and wriggles her piggy into the sock.
Me: Goodnight Elyse.
Elyse: Goodnight Mommy.

I close the door behind me, take a deep breath, and hope that we haven’t finished all of the wine yet. This is every night. Every single, ever-loving night; except last night.

Well, most of all of this happened last night, but the difference was that Aaron read the bedtime story to Elyse. It was adorable. Aaron has been slowly learning to read since December and he has worked his way to Super Books which are basic, little stories that, once mastered, he can take it back to the teacher, read it for her, get a sticker on his folder, and then bring home a new book.

As I sat there watching him read to his little sister I thought, “I am going to want to remember this moment.” So even though there was a potential to completely ruin the moment, I ran to get the camera and snapped this…

And when the story was over, I got this…

 Someday, the kids will put themselves to bed. One day, a long time from now, these bedrooms will be empty and I will probably miss these days and the craziness, but when I think back to bedtime, this is the picture that I want to remember.


Leslie said...

I dread bedtime, too. For many of the same reasons. And the whole time I'm thinking of all the things I can do after they're asleep. They may not even be fun things. Just the idea of completing one task from start to finish with no interruption is so tantalizing. But then, once they're asleep, I sit there and listen to them breathing and I feel guilty for wanting to hurry through things with them - even the really stressful things. And sometimes, I cry. I'm not sure if this is normal. I may be a little crazy-hormonal-depressed. Or just a mom. I don't know.