It goes without saying that I love my kids.
Why, then, do I feel the need to preface this post with that sentence?
Because it also goes without saying that I love their bedtime. And the QUIET that ensues.
Bedtime is nature’s way of ensuring mothers don’t eat their young.
From the time my kids get home from school to that magical hour of 8pm-ish, my nerves are on high alert. Their mood as they step through the door often sets the tone for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Common reactions range from annoyed to irate to giggly to downright boisterous. Energy is off the charts. They’re never, ever quiet.
Don’t forget to empty out your lunch bags, I say.
Where do the backpacks, go, guys? This is why we have hooks! Every. Single. Day.
Snack time inevitably results in a trail of crumbs. Why is the floor sticky?
Homework wars ensue. Maybe some tears — mine, usually. Just sound it out. Sound. It. Out.
At some point, the youngest boy has escaped to the basement where, not surprisingly, LEGO has suddenly exploded into a hundred thousand pieces. Everywhere. If I find ONE piece of LEGO on the floor when I come downstairs I’M THROWING IT OUT! (Just kidding. That shit is expensive!)
And then dinnertime. Oh, dinnertime. Where the catch phrases “get your elbows off the table” and “use your fork” and “sit up straight” and “would you just eat your food?” play on a loop. I’m surprised they hear me at all over the dull roar that is their version of dinner conversation, which, by the way, centres around Minecraft these days.
Never gets old.
Oh, but wait! They’re not in bed yet! Nooo, we still have to go through the painfully exhausting and arduous process that involves brushing teeth, getting into pyjamas and laying out clothes for the next day. (Shower nights are a whole other level of crazy.)
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: but, Erica, that should take five? Maybe ten minutes? And you would be correct except that this would be the exact time my kids decide to get all up in each other’s grid.
Is it any wonder, then, that by the time 8:00 rolls around (or later, if you throw in an after-school/evening sport or activity) that my patience has hit the skids? I can’t even remember the last time I read a book to my kids before saying good-night.
But, then, unless something has gone horribly sideways, we hit that sweet spot. That moment when they’re all tucked in and they reach out for their ritualistic hugs and kisses (butterfly and Eskimo kisses, please). And, MOM! Don’t forget our secret handshake! The tension from the past four hours suddenly melts away and my heart is full to bursting.
And finally: QUIET.