April 19, 2013


Ahh bedtime.

In Parent Land, declaring bedtime is equal to crying “time-out” during a recess game of tag…except after we’re done breathing heavily, resting hunched over with our hands on our knees, and after brushing ourselves off from the serious beating we just took, we’d never dream of yelling “time-in!”. Our cry for bedtime comes just before we’ve reached our breaking point, right at that moment that we’ve stared deep into the eyes of defeat, which always seems to be approaching at an Olympic pace, running head on toward us, in my case in the form of two twinkle-toed bobbling bouncy toddlers.


We ring out that cry and throw our arms up to protect our face hoping we aren’t tagged by whatever the night will bring: I just pooped! I need a tissue! water! blanket! monkey! Mommy! Mommy! MOM-MEEEEEEEE!!!

We usually have an 8 o’clock bedtime around these parts. That means that at around 7:45, we drag our either A) limp-bodied dead-weighted or B) super squirmy probably-snuck-some-caffeine-from-somewhere children (some nights it’s one of each…yay twins!) up the stairs to start our routine. I’m big on routine.

We start by picking up whatever toys have been left out from earlier in the day. We essentially throw them in the closet, quickly close the door before anything has a chance to fall out, then we lock the door to keep the kiddos out. *Note: when I say “we”…I mean me and/or Matt. Not “we” as in the girls and I. They’re no help even though they sing, “clean up! Clean up! Everybody, everywhere!” as they pull books off the shelves, throw their pillows on the floor and un-tuck all of their bedding.

Next comes the (hopefully) final diaper change of the day, x2 mind you, and jammies. Sophie prefers her monkey jammies. She has several pairs of jammies that have a monkey and/or monkeys on them and she screams for her monkey jammies and I’m supposed to know, not guess just already know, which pair she is clamoring for. 

Olivia, my sweet, type-B-personality, passive child is pretty much good with any jammie selection as long as she is confident her silver sparkly shoes have been tucked away safely for the night. *Rolls eyes*


After jammies, we rush off into the bathroom to brush teeth! Sophie makes a mad-dash for the drawer where the toothbrushes live and will only pass them off to me, never ever to her sissy. 

The girls each have a spot on the counter where they sit and once they’re settled on their perch, I allow them to brush for themselves for 1 minute (time is arbitrary in Parent Land. Sometimes this minute ranges between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. Some things are just so darn distracting to a two year old!). 

After their 1 minute has passed, I take over and conquer the plaque pasted inside these little mouths despite facing menacing challenges like obstructive tongues, old-rotting-sugar breath and screaming, shaking toddler heads. 

Once the torture is over, a quick spit, a drink of water, and a face-wipe on the towel follow and then it’s off to select the evening’s bedtime stories. Plural.

The girls are allowed to pick one story each. Seems fair. They usually bellyache about wanting another one after the last one has been finished, but I usually win that fight. The three of us sit on Sophie’s bed while we read our stories. There’s no real reason for this except that Sophie’s bed doesn’t have a side-rail for whatever reason (we’re terrible parents) and it’s easier access than climbing over the fences that surround Olivia’s. Matt usually gets confined to the rocking chair.

After stories, it’s lights out. We mean this so literally in fact, that in recent days, Matt and I have taken to cutting the power to the girls’ bedroom. Does this sound crazy? Live it before you judge, people. Back before we jailed our children, we’d provide sips of water to those magically parched mouths, tuck them in sweetly, say our goodnights, turn out the lights, and close the door. From all of the commotion that would immediately ensue and with all of the glorious beams of light shooting out from under the door one might imagine God was having a Throwback Thursday rendition of the Creation in there. Really what was happening, of course, was that Sophie would jump out of bed, flip on the light and race for the bookcase as if all of the books that had been resting there peacefully for the night were the last things she’d ever play with.


Breaker = Flipped.

“My lights!”
“Go to sleep!”
“You took my lights!”
“Yep. Goodnight!”

Since it has been chilly (aka snowing) overnight this week, I have been sneaking into their room after they’ve truly fallen asleep to flip the breaker back to restore power to their space heater.

And that’s how I sleep at night.

Until 11:30 pm hits and Olivia screams for water like clockwork. 

She must have recurring dreams about suffering from heat exhaustion in a sandy desert somewhere. Clock. Work.

And again at 1:30 am.

And 3.

And if we’re lucky 5…because the sun is starting to peak out by 6 and if she wakes up and her room is lit, she thinks it’s okay to wake up. I say we’re lucky if her last awakening is at 5 because then she tends to sleep until about 7:30 or 8. If we’re not lucky…we’re all up early. I hate early.

It’s such a good thing they’re so cute. They actually do make the battle (read: war) worth it.