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When sleep creep creeps up when it shouldn’t

Submitted by on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 No Comment

I had the bedtime problem solved: Energy expended at school and earlier nightfall plus an evil Mommy plot to wear their little butts out at the park every evening had created the most peaceful bedtimes ever.

They’d eat dinner, bathe, brush teeth and read, then drift blissfully off to dreamland.

It lasted about a month before I screwed it up. In the past week, bedtime has crept up an average of five minutes a night. While that doesn’t sound like much, the cumulative effects over seven days have added up to frustrated trips upstairs as the Mom Alarm goes off repeatedly. Often, I even hiss “just be quiet and go to sleep.”

I am weak, and I am paying for it. Plus the guys are creative and have come up with a whole arsenal for use in the bedtime battle.

They knew “Can I have a drink of water?” wouldn’t work. They were well aware that the line had been drawn on “one more huggy.” They responded by using their weapons both earlier and later. It’s gone Chernobyl on me.

First comes the after-dinner offensive. “Can we play checkers? Just one game.” Or, “Can we work on the puzzle for just a few minutes.” Both neatly hone in on a chink in the Mommy Guilt defense system. I spend two hours every night putting them off while I make dinner, then clean up and pack lunches. I’m vulnerable to big, pleading eyes at that point, and they know it.

Next comes the book battle – Big Guy picks his, Boots picks his, then I have to select one, too. Really, what parent concerned about a child’s education could possibly say “no” to more books.

Then there’s the faux terror attack. “Just so you know, I think I’m going to have bad dreams tonight,” Big Guy will say. “Yeah, me too,” Boots will add.

They’ve managed to make me create a routine for that, too. I put my hand to their foreheads, drawing out the bad thoughts and flowing in baseball, cupcakes, race cars, soccer and candy. Sheesh, with all that sugar and activity, it’s no wonder they can’t sleep. And, yes, I shamelessly stole it from the final episode of “Avatar,” where Aang uses a similar move to take the Fire Lord’s evil powers.

The end result: Instead of sitting at my keyboard at 8:30, I’m still traipsing up the steps, bruised and bloodied, at 9 – usually later on Sunday nights.

I have seriously underestimated the cunning of the opposing forces. I won’t make that mistake again – until the next time, at least.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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