Bedtime is killing me. Night after night it’s slowly making me lose my will to live. How humanity has survived for thousand’s of years with toddlers and preschoolers and their bedtime antics is beyond me. Every night, every friggin’ night my kids, my sweet well-behaved kids, turn into these tiny sanity sucking monsters that make me want to run screaming for our wolf infested hills. I don’t understand what the universe is telling me with this. Is it some sort of cosmic challenge we need to face as parents to reach nirvana?
So this is what goes down at my house: we have dinner, and everything is normal, a little whining will occur occasionally, maybe a cry for some dinner time tv, but at this point everyone still inhabits their own bodies and my kids are relatively normal albeit a little tired. Then we move on to bath time. Bath time is usually fun, some splashing, a lot of me yelling at them to keep the water into the bathtub and not onto the floor, a few admonitions for them not to drink the scummy bathwater, but all is still right in our world. After bath everyone has a warm drink and teeth-brushing, peeing and clothes picking for school ensues. And as I utter the sentence “ok, last call, bedtime. Everybody get in bed” my kids transform, before my very eyes, into a couple of odious, weepy, whiny, annoying imps that I simply cannot stand.
The Girl will start to cry, doing a weird floppy-legged, bouncing her tush up and down, arm flailing move, reaching out to me, wailing “Maaaaamaaaaaa” like I’m the last thing she sees as she falls off a cliff unto certain death. The Boy, not to miss out on any of the melodrama, starts crying for his binky (that is in his mouth), for me to stay one more minute, for some juice. I edge out of the door, cheerfully calling goodnight, like all is normal in my world. Five minutes later the girl starts flinging herself against the crib sides, choking and sputtering like she’s getting ready to throw up her milk, the boy wails with an ever mounting crescendo “Mama, I want Mama”, like he’s been abandoned in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. I go in, they pathetically ask for water, as if I had ever refused them a drink, so I wipe noses, clean off tears and distribute drinks. I leave, everything is quiet, I’m hopeful. I go shower.
The second I step out of the shower, someone’s calling me, they have to poop, or pee, or have pooped and I need to change a diaper. I get them settled and leave. They cry, they’re dying of thirst, they need water. They drink, I leave.
One’s quiet, the other calls me, he dropped his lovey he can’t sleep. I leave. The other one calls me, she’s got eight hundred stuffed animals in her bed, she can’t sleep. I put them back on the shelf, I leave. And then one needs to be covered. The other one is hot and can’t get out of the covers alone. Then they need water again, but they also need to pee, or a diaper change.
One more kiss, I’m lonely, I need a hug. Mama, can I have some waaaaattttteeeeeerrrrr?
Night after night, they are slowly driving me crazy. How, I ask you, HOW has humanity managed to survive? Because I tell you, running in there and screaming “shut the fuck up and go to sleep” isn’t working, for me or for them (I’ve tried). I’m starting to think that parenting is one of those survival of the fittest challenges, and it’s slowly, slowly killing me.
In fact, as I write this, it’s 11.48pm, they both finally shut up and went to sleep a couple of hours ago and the girl just woke up again and is calling me. She probably needs water. Or a diaper change.
And in the silence of our darkened and sleeping (for the most part) house all you hear is the thud, thud, thud of me banging my head against the wall.