No more diapers.
No more daycare.
No more sippy cups.
No more taking extra pants wherever we go (except for me – occasionally).
My, how things have changed in just a few years of parenting.
But as my children have gotten older – the youngest now being in second grade – some things, well, they haven’t changed at all.
“Time for bed, guys,” I say at the same time every night.
Or just a blank stare, as if I have suggested something they have never heard of, much less the previous night at the very same time. And, for that matter, every night at roughly the same time for every evening of their young lives.
Bed? What’s this bed you speak of? I’ve never heard of it.
Those aren’t their words vocalized, but rather the implied message of their body language.
Just like when they were two- and five-years old, the eight- and 11-year-old brothers take shifts in dragging out the inevitable.
“Alright, time to brush your teeth and get in bed.”
“Brush my teeth? Why do I have to brush my teeth?,” one asks, while the other starts a project of some sort.
“For the same reasons I explained last night,” I respond, and the night before, and the night before.
“And after he’s done, you’re next,” I say to the other one.
“As soon as I finish this…,” which is what he just started moments ago, on cue. Meanwhile, the one I dragged (literally) to the bathroom to brush his teeth has somehow escaped and is downstairs eating ice cream.
When I get him back upstairs and in the bathroom, supervising him brushing his teeth like a prison warden, his brother has creeped outside to “find something” in my car. After I tuck his brother in bed, I apprehend his cohort, coming back upstairs, only to find his brother wrestling with the dog in the hallway.
If one of them is in a bed, the other is up, coming up with some creative excuse of why he can’t be in slumber.
“I’ve got to go to the bathroom.
“My back hurts.”
“I’m too scared to go to sleep.”
“I can’t go to bed. I’m doing my push-ups.”
“I forgot to do my homework.”
“I have a science project where I have to watch the moon until it goes away.”
“My teacher said I have to watch the ending of ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.’”
“I’m drawing a picture of a shark fighting Jason Bourne.”
This exercise goes on until the younger one just collapses from exhaustion and goes to sleep wherever he is – usually lying on his bedroom floor, wearing a football helmet.
Despite the fact that they’ve gone to bed every night of their lives, my boys seem to be under the delusion that tonight will be different. Their mother or I won’t prompt them to brush their teeth and get in bed. We won’t turn off the lights and TVs. Tonight, they honestly think we will allow them to stay up all night. Or this is just a grand scheme to drive us to insanity. Probably the latter.
Occasionally, like when of them has the flu, there won’t be a struggle to get them in bed each night. But, unfortunately, they are too healthy for that to happen often.
Morning brings the same deja vu all over again.
“Time to get up,” I bellow cheerfully (sometimes).
Get up. What’s this getting up you speak of? I’ve never heard of it.
© Len Robbins 2013