Why is it the only people in my house who can sleep, never do? When it’s time for bed, you don’t see me dragging my feet around the house touching every piece of furniture with my finger tips, moving slower than a snail just to squeeze in four more minutes of awake time. As a parent, going to bed before 10 p.m. is like winning the lottery—but not for my kids. Bedtime gets close, and everyone gets a surge of energy more powerful than a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour that pulls toys off shelves and hurls them around the room until it’s raining plastic farm animals. Then, when the magical hour arrives, everyone comes to a complete stop.
It’s the eye of the storm, the part that’s eerily quiet and when my kids move so slowly, they’re almost going backward into negative time. Getting them up the stairs is like trying to herd cattle away from a lush green pasture. Once we go through the process of a million steps that is teeth brushing and pottying, we don’t go to sleep. Nope. We slip right back into the hurricane, and my kids are:
1. Asking for water.
2. Asking for a snack.
3. Sneaking out of bed and tiptoeing downstairs to hide under the table.
4. Materializing by my bedside, opening one of my eyes with their sticky fingers, and asking if I’m awake.
5. Telling me they want to wear different pajamas.
6. Yelling “Mommy!” for five consecutive minutes until I trudge upstairs only to hear them say, “Hi.”
7. Sneaking into each other’s rooms to see if their sibling is sleeping.
8. Tattling because their sibling isn’t sleeping.
9. Quietly coming into the bedroom and sitting on the floor to watch the news with us.
10. Asking for more water.
11. Asking for another bedtime story by saying, “If you read me more stories, you can have some chocolate.”
12. Deciding they need help going potty, despite the fact that they have been self-pottying for over two years.
13. Choosing bedtime as the time to want to discuss everything that’s happened in their life up to this point.
14. Calling for Daddy just to tell him to please go and get Mommy.
15. Telling me not to leave because they have something to say and fill three minutes with “uh”s followed by, “What’s your favorite color?”
16. Going to the kitchen and trying to get more water themselves because they’re thirsty—again.
17. Asking me to find the toy they got from the zoo when we went there three summers ago.
18. Starting to cry because I refuse to look for the toy we got from the zoo three summers ago.
19. Chattering with volume and excitement while I pull apart bins looking for the stupid toy from the zoo.
20. Asking for another drink of water.
21. Telling me, “It’s four more sleeps until Friday,” when they get to have popcorn, and “Can we call grandma right now?”
22. Getting out of bed to look for the cats.
23. Climbing into our bed and asks why we are sleeping.
24. Wanting to know if they can play iPad.
25. Telling me they don’t want to sleep because they’re not tired.
People who’ve survived the trenches of toddler bedtime tell me my kids will sleep someday, and so will I. I don’t believe them. After the newborn stage, sick nights, teething, and bad dreams, I thought for sure we’d be on the tail end of this no sleeping business. I think we’re a good six years away—probably more. I haven’t given up hope completely, but I will say the chances of winning the lottery are probably greater at this point. Now, if you’ll excuse me, someone needs to know what my favorite color is.