Our children's evening routine looks like this:
Dinner at 6pm
Reading and stories
Marble jar rewards
Kiss goodnight at 7.30pm
20 minutes bedtime reading time
Tuck in with a song
Lights out at 8pm
Looks good - right? It's all there. Nice and strict, here's what we do, off you go, I'm clocking off.
Only, it doesn't end there. Those Tsunamis of mine come out of their bedrooms for water, toilet breaks, to tell us a joke, faaaaaaark. The other night Cappers casually sauntered in at 9pm to sit on the couch with a 'whatcha watching?'. I swear she was plumping cushions to get more comfortable as she said it.
We go into 'lock down' mode and threaten to cancel any ounce of fun the next day if they don't stay in their room and go to sleep. It works for a week or two, but slowly out they creep like water, finding tiny cracks in our armour and washing their way in. We have never once wavered from our bedtime routine, yet there they are, bedless.
Now, I have seen other children at bedtime and they are TIRED. They go to sleep fairly easily because once they are warmed up in their cosy flannel beds, the lights are already starting to dim. They might give a half-hearted call out for a glass of water, but their hearts aren't in it because secretly they just want to go to sleep. This is normal-child stuff. Forgive me if I think that parents who say to me "you just need to be more consistent" or "you just need to be more forceful" or "you just need to turn out the light and shut the door" are a tad annoying.
It's just that my children are not like that.
They are up with the larks and still up with the owls. Despite having the same bedtime routine their whole little lives, they still haven't cottoned on that bedtime is for sleep. So there they are still wandering the house like literate ghosts looking for books at 9.30pm because they are seemingly not tired and will never sleep. Maxi insists that he never sleeps, he only fakes it when I come in to check on him so I'll think he's a good boy. In reality he is "up all night with my marsupial friends". And I believe him. I really believe that that kid doesn't need to sleep because I gave birth to an energiser bunny with self-recharging batteries. He's on the right track, baby, he was born that way.
I ramble. See, look at me rambling away up there. Perhaps it's because I never. clock. off. It's a 24 hours a day gig parenting at my place and rambling on helps keep me awake. I talk, therefore I am.
Sigh. Energiser bunnies, huh. Who'd have 'em, right?
Are your kids tired at the end of the day?
[Image by Dara Quesada]