I don’t go in for big bedtime routines. I have too many kids, and I am too tired to do a whole song and dance each night. The kids brush their teeth and go potty, and the big kids read the littles stories. And then they all get in bed. End of discussion. Even that minimalist routine can take an hour when the kids are in particularly contrary moods. But once they are in bed, they are to STAY IN BED and BE QUIET. Nothing raises my blood pressure faster than having to endure repeated requests from the bedroom or having kids popping out of bed for whatever reason.
Some nights, Campbell climbs into bed and passes out cold within minutes. Other nights, he bounces around in his bed, calling out every few minutes for attention. Friday was one of those nights.
I tucked him like a caterpillar, gave him a kiss and a hug and left the room. Within minutes, he was yelling that he needed help. I went in to find him halfway out of the bed – legs on the bed, hands and head on the floor. “I fell out and got stuck,” he said. I unstuck him and left the room.
Ten minutes later he said, “Mom, if you don’t come in here, I’m going to have a nightmare!” I told him he’d be fine but didn’t go in. After a mere two minutes of silence, I heard “OK! I just had a nightmare!” Stifling my laughter I reminded him that he has to actually go to sleep to have a nightmare.
He went mostly quiet for a while, and during that time I heard muffled thuds as he climbed in and out of bed and played with toys. I decided to ignore the playtime as long as he was being quiet.
After about 30 minutes of playing, Campbell noticed that Lily wasn’t in her bed – she was asleep on the sofa thanks to a bout of strep throat – and he didn’t like it. He called out, “Mom! I’m alone, I’m scared, and I’m thirsty.”
That’s when I lost it and started laughing. But I didn’t cave and let him out of bed. He fell asleep a few minutes later, I guess after realizing that further requests for company were pointless.
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