After resignation that one of us has to do it, it's off to the stairs to the rec room. Each night, there is shock."WHAT? What do you mean it's bedtime?!?! NO it's NOT!" I assure them it is. They insist it isn't. This used to drag on. One night I started cutting the lights. The first night, they freaked out suddenly terrified of the dark, and sprinted up the stairs like bats out of Hell. They tripped over each other, nearly knocked each other down the stairs and terrorized our lab with their screams to the point he ran into the garbage can and nearly knocked over a floor lamp. Alrighty then. That went well.
Bedtime starts with my husband and I blatantly shifting responsibility. No matter what bedtime we set, one of us will "fall asleep" in a chair, walk the dogs, or hop up to empty the dishwasher. He sees my folding laundry and raises it with watering the flowers (In the dark. And we have a sprinkler system). I started training for a half marathon. Nighttime just happened to be the best time to run seven miles.
Even in twilight, they are still raring to go while I trudge through like an insomniac with low iron. This phase is when their sleep avoidance skills begin to shine. Seventy-two passes of Get YOUR PA-JAM-AS ON. If you speak another language, please comment with translations. (Pronunciation guide would be most helpful.) They sleep in boxers now, which they're wearing 1/2 the time so easy peazy, eh? No. Clothes go flying everywhere. Clothes they never even thought about let alone wore that day. Nine socks, yet only two children. What's with the football jersey on the chair? Neither of you plays football.
Our sons share a room. We've always been strict with toys in the bedroom. They are just not allowed in there. They get smuggled somehow. Bunk beds are jungle gyms with sheets. No bourgeois sore throat complaints here. On rotating nights, stuffed animals were projectiles to bombard each other. Sheets were ways to lower themselves. The fish in their room were fed four times. Socks are for skating on wood floors, perfect for hockey. They'd get up, go into the bathroom to get a glass of water and dump it on the other. A whole tissue box would be emptied one trip at a time. We never found the tissues, though once I did find a chain made of a new box of feminine products. Bloody noses were not uncommon. Similar to actors crying on cue, Son1 can start a nosebleed spontaneously. I think he purposely does it on nights when I've changed the sheets. Believe it or not, truly unrelated, it occurred to us autographed baseballs were a safety hazard.
One night Son1 decided to surprise Son2 by jumping from his bunk onto the lower "L set" bunk. Pier1 hadn't planned for this and new mattress supports were rigged at 10:30. That was when Son1 was exiled to the guest room. Twelve months later, his clothes are still in the other room; the guest room is still called the guest room. We tell him he's lucky he's got a place to sleep after the behavior we've put up with. It's really because we've been too busy to bother hauling everything out, repainting, and reloading the room-- but that doesn't sound as parental.
The hall became a rendezvous site. The linen closet was both treasure trove of sleep distractions and a hiding place. Stuffed animal soccer ensued. Tired of going up and down the stairs to chase them, we brought out new artillery: a Fischer Price baby monitor. You'd think a child of 10 would be embarrassed at having a baby monitor. Instead, Son2 goes up to it and sings operatically. By nature, he is as nimble and quiet as Cary Grant in "To Catch a Thief," so some nights he slithers around the walls, swings up to the shelf it's on and turns it off. DAMN those gymnastics lessons.
Vacation is here, which means they are getting a lot more time outside, plus they're in sports programs. Their boisterous bodies are tired, and in the (well-advised) absence of children's NyQuil, that constant fresh air activity is the best we can do to counter their hyperactivity. Like most parents of boys, and ADHD children in particular, we've learned kids and parents need coping skills. I've found that exercise is a good stress release, especially when followed by Shiraz. It's a winning bedtime combination.