That last push to the summit (of bedtime)

You know what almost kills me about putting the kids to bed at night on my own.  That last 20 minutes before the kids are in bed - or supposed to be in bed.  I can see the end, it is almost there.  They are almost in bed.  But it feels like I'm just chasing my tail.  They get silly.  They want to play in each other's rooms.  They want to have sword fights with their toothbrushes.  They want to giggle at each other going to the toilet.  They suddenly need to construct the last section of a lego masterpiece.  They have to read the last two pages of 'the most exciting bit in the story Mum' (which ends up being twenty pages that is read while 'I'm still on the toilet Mum' - yeah right).

And I can feel the patience draining right out of my body.  I can also see the lounge - I can see time on my own - it's coming, but it's not there.  Not even close.

But the tricky thing is that if you start losing the plot with 20 minutes to go it takes a whole lot longer.  Everyone gets grumpy - words are exchanged that need resolving and so it goes on.  So I take deep Mummy breathes, put on my super calm, strange sing-songy voice ('Oh you've lost your homework sheet?  The one that is due tomorrow morning?  Well, let's find it together dearest child', 'Oh you can't find the tiny fluffy animal that we got from Maccas in 2001 that you suddenly can't sleep without?  Yes, let's search behind all the cupboards right now precious child', 'What's that?  You've suddenly remembered that you need to construct an animal out of vegetables to hand in at school?  Well sweetheart I'll just grab the carrots for you') and push on.

I sometimes get dizzy with the breathing in and out thing as I reach new heights of patience and tolerance - the oxygen is disappearing but I catch glimpses of the summit.  It gives me hope.  This too will pass - they will get into bed (it's happened before I remind myself).

Finally peace reigns and I can breath normally again.

Until I hear the vomiting
coming from the top bunk in the girl's room ...


Donna said…
I only have two kids but I know the feeling you're talking about. Today for me involved me losing my temper, and a bit of vomiting also :-) Thanks for the encouragement towards graciousness.

Sandra said…
the older they get the harder it is - I'm finding it difficult as the fact they now often don't go to bed till just before I do means it cuts into the time I used to be able to spend with my husband. And they are not always wise about when they are tired.
We are still the ogre parents because we try to have a time for bed.
Kath said…
I so know that feeling. And need grace to survive. Here's to motherhood in the real world.
Jenny said…
Oh yes Sandra - we regularly get phone calls from the high school child's friends asking to speak to him and us having to say 'Um, he's in bed, asleep'. He is, of course, mortified that we make him have a set bedtime, but he's always struggling to wake up in the morning, so I'm not sure how he'd cope otherwise (or us either - we need some space from our kids!).

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