Mommy, There's a Joe Pesci Under My Bed!: Why Do My Kids Hate Bedtime?!Serge Bielanko
I’m not sure when the flip gets switched, but I’d like to be there when it does.
When whoever is in charge of looking at all of the teenagers on Earth on the mile-high wall of monitors in The Place Where Mega Decisions Are Made (notice I didn’t say ‘heaven’ or anything like that because, frankly, I have inside scoops that would explode your mind) finally gets to my daughter in about 9 or 10 years, I wanna be right there with him.
Hell, I’ll even bring the Dunkin’ Donuts and one of those big boxes of coffee they sell (who buys those? I DO!).
Then, we’ll toast the dawning of a new era as he lets me, little old me(!), grab the big red switch with my hand and flick it with all that I’ve got.
Ha! Tah-Dah! And just like that, my little girl will join the rest of the human race older than 12 or so who all want to sleep as much as they possibly can, regular people hiding under the covers and moaning on Monday mornings.
Until then though it is what it is; and what it is is a pain the ass.
Why do toddlers want to stay awake so bad at night, when it’s bedtime? What is that all about?
Why do they roll over in their little beds one evening and just slam their tiny foreheads into that weirdo wall of conviction which whispers into their subconscious,”Psssst, hey kiddo! Over here, Mac! Hey, did you know that if you stay awake past your bedtime you’ll get Gummi Worms and cake and maybe a juice box?!!”
The kid’s left eyebrow raises.
“It’s true!” this little Joe Pesci gangster of hateful trickery assures them. “And say, did ya’ know that the more you cry and scream and blow snot bubbles out of your nose and kick your daddy in his Own Private Idaho when you are resisting your tyrant parents attempts to smoosh your liberties, that Oreos will fall out of the ceiling and into your bed?”
Is it something like that?
Because I’m starting to think that it’s something seriously like that.
Every night now, I watch my two-year-old son’s eyes begin to close through the course of a final story on the couch or during the last ten minutes of some Diego or some Dora on mom and dad’s bed.
They flutter, like late summer moths losing their lungs, his pipsqueak eyes do.
His lower jaw relaxes, some nights a slobbery diamond peeks out over the ridge of his lower lip.
You can lean in there then and catch a sweet whiff of his milky breath. And I do, a lot. His chest rises and falls; his pajama Backyardigans move with the slow-going waves. Every night, same thing.
I slip my hand under his body or his mommy lays him across her shoulder and no matter who it is, we both know that this gently drifting tired little boy is a big freakin’ faker who is about to open a fat can of WhoopAss on this finally quiet house.
Somewhere along the short trail to his bedroom, Henry wakes up and begins to bawl and battle. The air is sucked out of our adult evening sails then. His big sister is coming out of her room every three minutes pretending she has to go potty again for the 23rd time in a half hour (physically impossible, even if you are like a walking sponge of Yellow Fever) and basically no one under the age of 35 wants to go to damn bed around here despite the fact that their damn eyeballs are about to drop out of their faces from the monumental exhaustion that comes with being awake since 4am!!!
Ugh. Excuse me. I’m sorry. Let me compose myself here…
So yeah: when that switch is due to be flicked and a real live pimply teenager is getting born into this house, a kid who can’t wait to crash out and then can’t wait to ignore you when you are threatening them with the hand in warm water/you peed yourself trick to get them up in the morning, you’re damn right I wanna be there to watch it all go down.
…..P.S. Violet and Henry, Daddy loves you! But….(click here!)