As most parents can probably attest, one of the hardest parts of the day is bedtime!!! Good grief! Why is it when I am most exhausted and ready to put on my pajamas and veg with the Netflix controller in my hand, do my children reach deep into their bag of annoying bedtime stalling tricks? It’s like they had a team meeting and said, “Hey, let’s see how much we can aggravate mom, but wait until 8:25?” 8:30 is our standard, preferred lights out time.
Here are the most popular bedtime annoyances at my house:
Illness or Injury – Without fail, one particular child can be fine all day long, but as soon as the clock strikes 8:28, he suddenly has a headache, sore throat, ingrown fingernail, painful cut or scrape. It’s almost comical and mainly happens on the nights when I am most irritable. I know you can’t imagine that I would ever be irritable. So while he was jumping on the trampoline, his finger was perfectly fine? And he didn’t know where the band-aid box was before 8:28?
Elusive Lovies – My youngest has a pink crocheted blanket that has 25 holes in the middle of it, but she still loves this thing. It’s not a lovey that she takes everywhere with her, but at bedtime she HAS to have it. There are days when we don’t see the pink blankie all day long, but suddenly at 8:35, 5 minutes after she has her head on her pillow, having her pink blankie is life or death. For 12 years I have spent countless hours searching for elusive lovies, and usually around bedtime! Once we searched for the pink blankie for days – DAYS – only to discover it inside a random kitchen cabinet! JB had a pink dolly that I searched for in the backyard in the dark because she had gone MIA.
Sudden Thirst – This has become the favorite of Miss JB, except she will come downstairs an hour after bedtime to fill up a cup. The boys each will decide 1 minute before I turn into Mommy Dearest that they need to fill up a 20 oz water bottle with tea. Like they haven’t been given little hints for at least 30 minutes that bedtime is drawing near. Every night I make some comment to them about drinking ALL of their tea because it’s a hot commodity here. There’s no wonder I hear what sounds like bowling balls dropping without fail an hour after bedtime, about the time JB is padding down the stairs because she’s suddenly parched. Side note: I often have to carry 3 or 4 half full cups of water or lemonade downstairs from her room.
Sudden Hunger – HarpAlyse has a repertoire of about 8 foods she will actually eat. These include corn dogs, chocolate sandwiches (nutella, chocolate cookie butter, etc), ice cream, chocolate sprinkle donuts and a few others. She has a very rough life and at this point in the journey, I don’t have the energy to fight with her over food. Let your judgement fall! Needless to say, she spends a lot of time hungry. You know when she remembers how hungry she is? 8:25, when I mention that she needs to brush her teeth. And you know what she remembers she hasn’t eaten? Ice Cream! Yep. So while I’m admonishing someone for filling up their 20 oz tea bottle, I’m standing beside them at the freezer getting the ice cream out. It’s actually a pretty efficient system if you think about it.
Incomplete Homework – On several occasions, as I’m venturing room to room to give goodnight greetings, someone has suddenly remembered that they have an assignment due the next morning. Do you know how many times I ask these people between 3:30 and 8:30 if they have homework or have any projects due this week that they can work on today? Head shakes. Nopes. The incomplete homework admission is often accompanied by tears and may require me to pull out my very small remembrance of geometry or government. Let me tell you, at 8:32 I don’t want to be watching Khan academy videos trying to figure out how to find the surface area of a rectangular prism whose bases are right triangles. True story from this week!
Unable to Locate Random Things – My kids attend public school in a district that issues a laptop to every child from 3rd grade to 12th grade. Insert eye roll. Every night these laptops need to be charged because the school has no system in place for letting every student plug in their laptops while in the school building. Insert a second eye roll. I think charging stations would be a good investment by the PTA! Nonetheless, every night one of my kids either can’t find their charger or remembers at 8:29, right before they fill their 20 oz bottles with tea, that they haven’t plugged their laptop in! We search for books. We search for shoes. We search for lunch boxes – not at 6pm or 7pm or even 8pm, but at 8:31pm when their little bodies should be snug in their beds! I think every parent has muttered something to the tune of, “If I had all the time I’ve spent searching for my kids’ things, I’d have slept an extra 24 hours this year,” or something like that.
Surely these things aren’t isolated to my house!
What are common bedtime stall tactics at your house? I want to hear and we can share a virtual fist bump of solidarity.