Go to Bed!Dawn Meehan
If someone told me to put away my work and go to bed at 8:00, I’d leave tracks as I ran upstairs and flung myself onto my bed. I’d probably be asleep before my head hit the pillow as well. I don’t know any adults, given the chance, who would pass up the chance to get some rest. But kids? Well, kids are nothing like adults!
Every night, my kids manage to stall for hours, HOURS before falling asleep. It doesn’t matter when I tell them to go to bed either. They just can’t manage to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. I tried to come up with a solution to my bedtime bind. Being a rational, thinking person, I figured that maybe I was putting them to bed too early. They simply weren’t tired yet. My theory made sense to my sophisticated, brilliant mind, so, I let them stay up a little later, certain they would instantly fall asleep when I sent them upstairs an hour past their regular bedtime. Nope. They naturally stayed up, goofing off an hour later than usual. Let this be a lesson to any other fool out there thinking they can use reason and logic to understand how kids work.
Then I thought perhaps they’d go to sleep in a more timely fashion if I started waking them up a little earlier. Surely that will tire them out and send them to dreamland promptly at 8:00, I surmised. I tried it for a few days. But alas, this theory did not work either. They continued to mess around at night, taking hours to fall asleep, but I also had the added bonus of crabby, cranky kids in the morning. Not to mention the fact that waking my kids up earlier put a serious cramp in my daily snooze alarm game.
Next, I got the ingenious idea that they’d all go to sleep much better if I staggered their bedtimes. If Brooklyn’s asleep before Lexi lies down, there won’t be any talking or goofing off, I speculated. “It’s just mad enough to work!” I exclaimed to myself while my teens, overhearing me, gave each other knowing glances, confirming each other’s suspicions that I’d officially lost it. I still think it was a good plan even though it didn’t work that well. I mean, how was I supposed to know it would take until 2:30 to get everyone asleep?
I thought perhaps I just needed to make bedtime more meaningful for my kids. Instead of giving them distracted goodnight kisses while reading email or writing amazing blog posts, I decided to go in their room and play with them a bit to help settle them down. Note to self: next time you try to settle the kids down to sleep, do NOT pretend you’re a zombie and chase them around, trying to munch on their brains. This, strangly enough, does NOT settle them down.
Finally, I gave up and poured glasses of wine for everyone. Sweet dreams!
*****Don’t worry. I use creative license when I write. I didn’t really give my kids wine. I woudn’t waste good wine like that. I used Benedryl instead.*****