Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Bedtime Story

Here is my ideal bedtime story: "One evening, after dinner, a mother called out to her 2 well-behaved, obedient children that is was bedtime. Quietly and quickly, the children put away their toys, went upstairs, brushed their teeth and put on their pajamas. They waited eagerly in their beds for a bedtime story. Snuggling together under a soft blanket with a child on each side, the mother read a bedtime story. When the story was over, she kissed the kids, turned out their lights, closed their doors and they quickly fell asleep." What can I say? I like fiction. Here is bedtime at my house - give several warnings that bedtime is approaching and toys must be cleaned up. All reminders and warnings are ignored. Toys are scattered across every square inch of floor, counter and furniture. The last warning is given. The kids have the nerve to look at me in astonishment that I expect them to clean up their toys and get ready for bed. Now comes the stalling and delaying portion of the bedtime ritual. Suddenly (miraculously) they are consumed by an overwhelming and irresistible urge to clean up toys, clear and wash dishes, mop the floor, take the trash out, rotate my tires and replace any burned out light bulbs. Then they suddenly realize they are famished and dehydrated. They will, they assure me, die overnight if they are not fed and watered one more time. No reasonable parent could expect them to survive an entire 10 hours without more food. Next on their hidden agenda is an attention to oral hygiene rarely seen outside a dentist office. Brushing, flossing, rinsing consume more time than taking the bar exam or giving birth. Sleepwear selection is another study in attention-to-detail. Goldilocks was more decisive. 2 piece or 1 piece? Long or short? Too warm to not warm enough? Too snug, too loose or just right? Story selection takes longer than reading Shakespeare's Tempest. Blanket and stuffed animal arrangement is an elaborate chess game that would put Bobby Fisher to shame. Bedtime comes every night without fail. The expectations placed on my children involve peeing, brushing, putting on pajamas and reading a book. Sara has been doing this for 8 years. Christian has been experiencing this sacred ritual for almost 4 years. I don;t throw them any curve balls. The expectations do not change. So why does this come as a rude awakening to them every night? I cannot wait until they have children of their own. I am going to feed those children cappuccino, Twinkies and read them a Stephen King novel.

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