In order to maintain a sense of order and structure in our house, we follow a bedtime routine. I’ve read Facebook posts citing studies that my friends heard about that say a routine is imperative for children’s development.
So, 8:30ish: I turn to my husband. Actually, I do this sort of exhausted flailing against the couch I’m sitting on, making eye contact at an awkward angle. I say, “We probably ought to get the kids in bed.”
He sighs. He knows that, no matter what steps we take in the next hour, it will take at least that full hour to get from prompt to lights out for all four boys.
Because, 8:45: The kids are still not in pajamas and brushed. The more responsible of them usually are, but around 9:30 or so I usually find out they only used (kids) mouthwash and have to send them back in.
9:00: I tell my slowest child that -yes, he does need pants.
9:15: Twelve goes downstairs to get a drink while I’m telling Four that he can’t have a third serving of water.
9:30: We run a teeth-brushed check. There is always one who hasn’t.
9:45: I threaten removal of computer privileges if they ever stay up this late again.
10:00: I threaten a sleepover on the front porch if they will not stop throwing stuffed animals at their brother.
10:15: An uneasy quiet.
If you think the fun stops there: I can count on someone walking in around 11 to tell me he just hasn’t been able to sleep. Or, at midnight, one waking to use the bathroom. Or, close to 2 a.m., Four having a bad dream that makes him inconsolable until 3 a.m.
I wonder if there’s a study about parents needing sleep as well.