It's an intense relationship. There are not many objects, or people, that fill me with the longing, desire and need that hits me when I see or even think about my bed. This relatioshup is part of what makes bedtime at my house both magical and maniacal.
You see, I'm not one of those magical mom's. Heck, when it comes to bedtime, I'm not even a nice mom. I have no bedtime routine that I lovingly concocted. It basically comes down to this, when I say it's time for bed, I am saying exactly what I mean, for my children and myself, that it is time for bed.
With the 3 older boys time for bed means tell me 6 more times and might listen. Brush your teeth is a funny suggestion that will only be taken under advisement if we bought new toothpaste. If there's new toothpaste, it may get eaten. Pajamas are an antiquated notion beneath the likes of my boys. They're real men who sleep in the clothes they were wearing or strip down to their underwear (if they were wearing any, or if it's hot, or if they got cool new underwear). As they hang their heads and march down the stairs to their presumable doom, the dog and cat will run crazy circles around the upstairs as they realize they've been forgotten and must revel in their moment of stolen freedom in the oddest ways possible. I will yell from the top of the stairs that somebody better get the animals, because walking down the stairs or doing it myself is just too hard. The youngest will now reappear to see if he can finnagle his way into sleeping anywhere but his bed.
Let the begging, pleading, and whining begin in 5...4...3..2...1. He will suggest his sisters room "to help her sleep", the couch and even the bathtub. Some nights I will give in, most I will remain stalwart. Inevitably, he will be somewhere odd in the morning regardless of what I said last night.
I willfully ignore the older two that I can clearly hear doing battle downstairs in a feeble attempt to let them handle it amongst themselves. Or because Im lazy. They know not to come upstairs unless blood has been drawn. Things will work themselves out.
As the battle with the boys nears it's end I focus my intense need for sleep onto the littlest darling in our home. Thanks to some particularly clever bribing (tutu pajamas from Costco if she could go a whole week sleeping on her own) she now puts herself to bed. An almost 3 year old putting themselves to bed looks a little something like this:
(Each announcement is made while holding 1 finger in the air in an authoritative manner, picture that so you can really be in the moment with me)
"Okay mommy, I put on my jamas now!"
(Pitter patter run down the hall)
(Emerge with dress up princess dress)
I silently shake my head
(Throw princess dress on floor, Pitter patter back to room and reemerge with snowsuit)
I silently shake my head
(Throw snowsuit on the floor and pitter patter back to room)
"I did it!"
(She reemerges in backwards, inside out pajamas, and it won't be obvious at first, but she is inevitably commando)
(She climbs into bed. 2 seconds later she reemerges.)
"I forgot to say goodnight to daddy!" Hmmm, maybe I forgot brothers too? Where's the dog? I need say nite to Leia! Where's the titty ( that's how she says kitty)?"
She now just stands in the middle of the hallway and yells, "goodnight everyone!"
(Scamper back to bed. Moments later we hear sobbing.)
"I forgot to brush my teef! Somebody help me!"
(Teeth get brushed. Which means lotion gets put on. Which means hair gets brushed. Which means everything from the bathroom counter can now be found on the bathroom floor. Back to bed.)
Now I can hear her reading to herself quietly, so I go to check on the rest of the house. Every light has been left on so that we can stand out as a beacon of hope if a midnight apocalypse occurs. I shut it down, along with any hopes of directing an alien landing party to my house. Somehow at least half these lights will turn on again throughout the night. Some night elf in my house appears to take the beacon thing very seriously.
My bed is calling to me with the sounds of a beautiful siren and I am lured into its trap. As soon as I lay down the pitter patter can be heard and a cherubim face framed by golden curls will appear in my doorway.
"I just need to tell you one more thing mommy. I love you the most!
Do you love me the most?
Mommy, why aren't you talking to me?
What we doing tomorrow. We go skating maybe? I invite Grandma? Can I call Grandma? I love Grandma."
No honey, we're not going skating tomorrow. Goodnight.
"But is it dark out or light out? Let's check. It is dark out!!!! We should go to bed.
One more thing.
My favorite movies are Mickey Mouse, Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake, Avatar and Backyardigans.
Maybe I should watch one tonite?"
"Otay, I'll watch it with daddy tomorrow. Is that a good idea? Yeah, thats a good idea. Goodnite mommy. I'm a big girl and I sleep aaaalllll by myself. Yep. That's why I have a tutu. And I'm 2 but I'll be 3 on my birthday. Is tomorrow my birthday mommy?"
"Otay. First it's brothers birthday, then it's mine and next is Sophias! Alright! Goodnight mommy."
The silence will now end in 5...4...3...2...1.
"I'm firtsty!! Where's my cup? I'll get it. Don't help me mommy, I can do it. I found it! Can I have juice?"
"Otay. Aaaaaahhhhh! I have to go potty RIGHT NOW! I need help. I spilleed my water. I can wipe. Did I brush my teef? Oh yeah, I did. Goodnite mommy."
She'll go back to her room and I'll lay in my room, tense, waiting for the next child to emerge with the next problem or conversation that has to happen immediately.
The barrage will eventually end and I'll make one last round to see where they all ended up, turn off the lights to extinguish the household beacon and finally, as I close my daughters door, I'll outwardly smile and inwardly cringe as I gaze at her, nightgown up in her armpits, full moon exposed, and vow that we'll start a bedtime routine tomorrow.
But for tonite, my bed is calling. It needs me and I need it. My pillows are fluffed and my blanket is waiting to comfort me with its softness. It's dark and it's quiet and I'm in one of my happiest places.