Bedtime. Just when the day is supposed to be winding down, I have to muster up every last ounce of energy I have left and plunge into the bedtime routine. Before kids the day would end all by itslef. Now we have to force it to come to a close, armed with milk, jammies, books, kisses, and tons of patience.
First, bathtime. Bathtime doesn’t happen every night. Actually, since having baby #3, we only bath the children when they are going to be out in public for a significant length of time. So don’t show up unannounced.
After bathtime I lay towels down to soak up the flood of water on the floor and hustle the kids into their room for jammies. If I don’t act fast, someone will pee on the floor – usually within about two minutes. Sometimes bad attitudes flare up around this time of night and someone winds up on time-out. George loves time-out. The last time I went to check on him I found out why.
They are not technically supposed to bring toys with them to time-out, but I can’t really blame him – considering I have forgotten he was there more than once…
Another tactic I’ve been using lately for bad attitudes is imitating the kids to show them how aweful it sounds when they fuss.
This is also quite effective. The fussing stops instantly. They are either thinking, “Wow, we sound terrible when we fuss,” or, “Our mother is crazy. Let’s obey so she doesn’t eat us.” Either way, it works.
Time for the pass off. Right about the time the kids go to Daddy, the baby wakes up. I get some one on one baby snuggle time while Dave reads to the kids.
I rejoin the other two when it’s time to get tucked in. No fussing this time. The kids actually love going to bed. I bust out “I’ve Got Joy Like a Fountain” at the top of my lungs. It doesn’t help the headache, but it’s their nightly request.
Before turning off the lamp and starting the baby lullabye CD, I check in with the three-year-old’s potty routine. If he skips it he will be up at all hours of the night.
Me: Did you go potty, William?
William: Sorry, Mommy. The poop was not available.
William: I make you tired.
I close the door to the sound of their sweet voices comforting each other in the darkness. I check on them after they fall asleep and straighten their covers, lay their stuffed animals next to them, and tuck in arms and legs hanging over the bed or through the crib slats. No matter how exhausting it is, I know this is the part of thier childhood I will treasure the most.