Ah, bedtime. The time of day that parents worldwide await. The children go to bed, and parents retreat downstairs to silence, some adult time.
Or that’s what you’d think. Alas, it’s rarely the case. So, to further my pursuit of honesty and openness in the world and to bust any myths, I’ve decided to come clean. Here’s the truth about bedtime in our house, the struggle to get a three and five year old into their beds. Babygirl is a different story.
Bedtime: The Truth
Step 1: Pyjamas On
Me: C’mon lads pjs on (in front of TV)
Them: AWWWW MAMMMM. It’s too early/not dark enough/too late. Can we have JUST ONE more Peppa? Did you forget to bring my nang Mama? (Nang is Cathal’s blankie)
Me: Will I help you?
Them: NO I am a BIG BOY. I can do it all by myself. I’m stuck Mam help. My top won’t come off. Where are my arms? Can you help me? I want to be first, don’t help him, help me. I WANTED TO BE FIRST. WAAAAAA.
Step 2: Getting the Boys up the Stairs
Me: Right lads, up the stairs.
Them: I’m going to win. AWWW I wanted to be first. I wanted to win. It’s not a race today. I don’t like racing anyway. Be a Dinosaur Mam. Be a Monster Mam. Chase us! Wheeee.
Them: Don’t scare us Mam. Squeeeeeeee don’t catch us.
Step 3: Bathroom
Me: Teeth time.
Them: He took my toothbrush. Can we use the new toothpaste yet? I like “Gentle Mint” best. Where’s the strawberry one? He spitted on my toothbrush, YOCK. Can you squeeze it for me? AWWWW I didn’t want that one. That’s not enough toothpaste, I need more to have shiny teeth. DON’T WASH MY FACE. I can do it myself. WHERE’S MY NANG? Smell my teeth Mam, isn’t that nice?
Me: Right, wee time.
Them: I don’t need a wee. I did loads already. Oopsie I just did one in my pullup. Can you change my pullup? I need a wee. WHERE’S MY NANG gone? I’ve a poo. Will you wipe my bum?
Step 4: Prayers
Me: (Slowly): “In the name of the Father.. SIT DOWN, SIT DOWN. DON’T JUMP ON YOUR SISTER!! and the son…”
Them: Put Laoise beside me. I want to sit there. Can I hug Laoise, where’s Laoise’s story. “Oh Angel of God my guardian dear…” Where’s my book gone? Why does God make wasps? I need to pick a book. Can I do my school prayer? NO I want to do it myself, you STOP Ciarán.
“Little Shild Cheesus Come to me, my heart is so small and you must have it all and bless all the sick people make them better and all the hungry people and make me a good boy”.
HE DID IT ALL WRONG.
NO I DIDN’T, IT’S MY PRAYER.
I’m doing my big school prayer now. (Dramatically blesses self, starts off in singsong voice)
“IN THE NAME OF THE FAAAAATHER, and of the SONNNN and of the HOOOOOly spirit…” (continues in singsong voice) God our father I come to saaaay…”
Continues until we “God Bless” every known relative and friend by name, and some pets, favourite toys and zoo animals.
Step 5: Story time (one story each)
This is in fact the calmest, nicest part. Except Laoise tries to grab the books and that boys get cross. Or I try to steer them away from the longest book on the shelf or the one that I just don’t like the story. I know, I’m an adult. I should hide those books.
And this happens too:
Them: I wanted that book. You skipped a page. Can I read some of the words? I picked the wrong book, I want a different one.
Step 6: Sealing the deal
Me: Now boys, into your beds and I’ll give you a kiss goodnight.
Them (climbing the bunks/sofa/walls): LOOK at MEEEEEE. Night Mam. I’m not tired. Can I come back downstairs when he’s asleep? Can I have a hug? He got a better hug than me. I want to be first. I don’t want him to be first. Can Laoise sleep with me? Can you do my covers? I don’t want any covers. Oh, maybe I do.
Me: Now, you’re all tucked up, night night.
Them: Night Mam, love you. Mam can I tell you a joke? “Why did the cow/chicken/animals cross the road?”
Me: Night pets, I’m going downstairs now. Love yoooo.
Step 7: The Requests.
All start with “Mammmm” or “Daddddddddd” in a sweet little voice from the top of the stairs. If we ignore, they start banging on the stairgate and then add the sweet little voice when we respond.
Can you fix my covers?
Can I have a drink of water?
I need a hug.
I need a kiss.
I need to ask you something.
I need a wee.
I don’t feel sleepy.
I’ve wet my pullup.
He’s annoying me
Are you lonely downstairs?
I can’t get to sleep.
Maaaammmm. I’m scared.
Me/Dad: What are you scared of ?
Them: Bold dragons and hungry giants and hungry crows
Me/Dad: Oh dear. What do we do to bold dragons?
Cathal: Tickle them but Ciarán says to hold their tails and count to ten but that’s too silly, they’d get you.
Me/Dad: Yes, and the hungry giants, do we tickle them?
Cathal: No, that would be silly, we put a box of blocks on their heads
Me/Dad: oh, and the crows, will we say shoo to get them away?
Cathal: They eat icecream in Duncannon.
Me/Dad: So are they all gone now?
Cathal: Yes, night Mama
Ok night night
Step 8: The Relief
This only occurs as the noise levels upstairs drop and you realise they’re asleep. But you’ve a kitchen to clean and a baby to put to bed. Argh, more bedtime. and you’re fit for it yourself!
Does this sound familiar? When do they grow out of it?