Why is it that every time I tell my boys to go to bed they act like they have never been to bed before?!
It is simple. You have a bath, you put your pj’s on, you brush your teeth and you go to bed! They can work the tv remote to surf between the multitude of channels they are spoilt with. They can work a computer better than a lot of grown-ups. They can even navigate a mobile phone at the age of two and a half. But can they get themselves organised for bed without being told to a zillion times? NO!
Who would have thought that brushing teeth could be such a drama? There may as well be a dentist in the bathroom pulling teeth out for the fuss they make. My eight year old is not a problem now as he knows that he gets no second chances with his shiny new adult teeth he has recently taken ownership of. My seven, five and two year olds however, are a whole different story!
Every night, and I mean every night, my seven year old will try to convince me that he doesn’t need to brush his teeth at night as his best friend never does and if I just gave him chewing gum instead, then life would be so much better. My five year old stands there all helpless telling me that it is my turn to brush his teeth as he did them that morning. And my two year old screams as though we are extracting his teeth with no anaesthetic as we attempt to wriggle a brush in between the teeth he is trying oh so hard to clench together.
Then following this rigmarole, despite being told to go straight to their bedrooms, they will always find a way to rendezvous on my bed for a bit of wrestle mania. This is all great fun until someone gets carried away and someone inevitably gets hurt, therefore instigating the nightly routine of my ‘told you so’ speech.
Finally we are getting somewhere. They are all smelling fresh and looking cosy in their pyjamas and we start ‘mummy time’. This is something that we have done for as long as I can remember where they each get me completely to themselves for ten minutes before they go to sleep. It is a time when we can have some real quality one on one time without anyone trying to grab my attention away. I love it and they love it. In an ideal word, I would spend those ten minutes with them, I would kiss them goodnight and they would go to sleep. But this isn’t an ideal world, this is my crazy life, so of course things don’t go that smoothly.
Ten minute mummy times turn into half hour mummy times as they find excuse after excuse to get me to stay. They are hungry, they are itchy, they can’t sleep, they heard a loud noise……….the list is endless. It is exhausting! If just one of them is being demanding then I can handle that but when they are tag teaming me I don’t stand a chance!
Take tonight for example. It is now 9.50pm. My eight year old is finally dozing off in bed after being caught reading way past his agreed time of 8.45pm. My seven year old is finally lying in bed quiet after getting back up no less than six times to tell me he can’t sleep. My five year old is curled up on the sofa after lying in my bed for an hour singing YMCA complete with actions. I kid you not! Ok, so I admit it, I did teach him it this morning as we pranced around my bedroom in our pyjamas – please don’t judge me! The reason for the sofa now rather than my bed is that every time he closed his eyes he saw a scary clown! In fairness to him, clowns do freak me out too, hence why I cut him some slack and let him lay on the sofa. And my two year old fell asleep just ten minutes ago after screaming ‘snuggle you’ every time I left his room. Cute at first, but not so much after the eleventh time!
I love my boys, I really do but there comes a time when I hit what I can only describe as the parenting wall. At 8pm I am cream crackered. My love of writing into the wee hours does not compliment the early rise that comes with having children. I come alive at about 11pm but between 8pm until 11pm I just want to curl up on the sofa and watch TOWIE (and I’m not even sorry!) or Friends.
My house is all calm now. I have four little boys sleeping soundly and I can just feel the stress lifting away from me. I will sneak into each of their bedrooms feeling guilty for getting cross with them and whisper sweet dreams to their lovely little faces. It’s been a tough few hours but I now have some time to recuperate and live in hope that tomorrow night, they may all go to bed willingly and be tucked up dreaming by 8pm.
Yeah right, there’s about as much chance of that happening as there is of me being on time for school on Monday!