“Mommy? Daddy? Are you watchin’ a show?”
“I smell popcorn! I LOVE popcorn!”
“She’s putting boogers on me!”
“She won’t stop tickling my belly!”
“Bellies are NOT private parts so I can tickle her belly if I want to!”
“My tummy is rumblin’!”
“I need a teeny, tiny, teeny, weeny, little, teeny drink of water.”
My kids used to be great sleepers. When the twins were babies, they slept happily in their cribs, all night long, at a very reasonable age. Easy peasey!
Then they moved to toddler beds, and like all major transitions in the lives of little kids and parents, everything sucked for a while. But then after a month or so, it didn’t. The girls settled into their new sleeping arrangements and went to sleep at a decent time almost every night. I came to depend on that time away from them once they were in bed. Like, really depend on it. I was addicted to after-the-kids-are-in-bed-time.
Now, I’m an after-the-kids-are-in-bed-time junkie going through withdrawal.
Because bedtime is completely fucked up.
There’s really no other way to put it. It’s a battle, almost every night, that often leads to tears, and not just on the kids’ part. Most nights, they’re up and asking for things or talking to me or arguing with each other or going to the bathroom or turning on lights or doing any of a thousand other SERIOUSLY ANNOYING THINGS long after we’ve tucked them in and closed their door.
Lots of parents struggle with bedtime. I’m sure it’s pretty standard for three-year-old twins to turn from mostly sweet little girls to raging, maniacal werewolves at bedtime, until they move on to a different delightful childhood phase. I know this won’t last forever. And although it’s often annoying at the time, at least some of their shenanigans are pretty hilarious. Their efforts to postpone sleep are completely transparent, but they think they’re being clever and charming. Which ends up being sort of clever and charming. So they do deserve some props for their, um, performances.
Here’s an example of a recent attempt at bedtime stalling:
Feet come thumping down the hallway. Topless, wild-haired kiddos appear partway down the stairs.
Twins: “Mommy? Daddy?”
Parents: “Why aren’t you in bed?”
Twins: “We have to poop!”
Obviously, if you’re twins, you have to poop at the same time. Or at least pretend you do. Sisterly solidarity!
So we tell them to yell down to us when they’re done. They scamper off to the bathroom to keep each other company while pooping.
(Notice that we don’t even ask them why they’ve taken off their pajama tops. It’s not worth it.)
They talk SO LOUDLY. Pretty much all the time, but especially in the tiled, echo-y bathroom, so we can hear their whole conversation. It goes something like this:
The Enforcer: “When I’m a gwome-up, I’m going to have my own kids.”
Captain Chaos: “Me too!”
The Enforcer: “I’m going to have a boy and a girl. And I’m going to have a blue car to drive them in.”
Captain Chaos: “Me too! But I’m going to have a brown car. I love brown.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: She’s the one pooping right now. This might be related to her “loving” the color brown, which she has never previously claimed to do. Just sayin’.
The Enforcer: “My boy is going to be named Enzo, and my girl is going to be named Garlic.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: WTF? We know a kid named Enzo, so that one I get, but Garlic? I’m sure she’ll be a delightful little thing. Or clove. Or whatever.
Captain Chaos: “My kids are going to be named…um…Soap! And Toothpaste! Yeah! Soap is the girl and Toothpaste is the boy!”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a classic Captain Chaos move. When in doubt, simply look to your immediate surroundings for inspiration.
Finally, after an eternity and a half, they’re done pooping so I go up to wipe them. They tell me all about my future oddly-named grandkids. All of this talk about the thrills (driving a car and having kids) of being a “gwome-up” has them pretty wired, so I have to lie down with them to get them to go to sleep. It’s crowded in their bed and I just want to be alone, but they need to sleep. Finally, they drift off. My neck is stiff and now it’s too late to finish watching whatever I was watching, so I thump down the hall to my own room.
I get under the covers, but now I’m kind of awake. I get up and head down the stairs.
Do I smell popcorn? I LOVE popcorn! My tummy is rumblin’ and I think I just may need a teeny, tiny, teeny, weeny, little, teeny drink of water…