Friday, April 29, 2011

Early Bird Special

Lately my girls' nights out are starting earlier and earlier.  A few years ago we would meet at eight for drinks and dinner.  Now we are catching the early bird special at the local Italian restaurant sitting along side the elderly ladies with blue hair and and motorized go-carts sipping white wine spritzers.  It is not that we get too hungry for dinner at eight, or are too exhausted to be out past sun down.  No, as always it's about getting away from the kids. 

When my husband and I have our occasional date night, and actually hire a $20 per hour babysitter, we always abide by a strict rule: we must leave the house while the kids are awake!  Isn't that why we are paying the big bucks?  I need a break from the brushing teeth, the forcing on of pajamas, and the endless Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss stories.

Just to be clear, after four plus years of dealing with the dreaded witching hour, I have come to hate the bedtime routine. It usually results in at least three people crying, both girls and one parent.  Since my husband works late, often conveniently scheduling business dinners at 7:00 or two-day board meetings in New York, this monotonous time of day typically lies solely in my hands.

5:30-  On an average day this is the time our bedtime routine begins, and I start preparing dinner.  After bargaining with my children to eat a few green beans, Maisy will throw her food on the floor then cry because "Food all dirty!"  I then attempt to clear the table, wash the dishes, and sweep the floor while Elana begs for another chocolate chip cookie and Maisy attaches herself to my leg and whines "Pick me up!"

6:15 -This is followed by bath time, which can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour.  While Elana would spend the entire day in the tub, Maisy is more fickle and often needs convincing to participate.  The water play usually begins well, with happy smiling children, but ends in one of two ways:
  1. The girls get into a water throwing match and have simultaneous meltdowns.
  2. Elana splashes, pours, and/or dumps half the bath water onto the floor causing a mommy meltdown.
6:45- After the bath, my attempts to dress them in their pajamas begin.  This is a rather arduous task, as my children would prefer to live on a nudist commune.   More often than not I have to threaten Elana with a time out and physically restrain Maisy to accomplish this.

7:00- Next it is teeth brushing time.  For some reason each child has approximately nineteen different character themed tooth brushes, so Elana needs ten minutes to decide which princess will be polishing her pearly whites.

7:15- Now both girls are ready for stories.  I sit in Elana's big chair with one girl on each leg and spend the next fifteen minutes refereeing the argument over whether we read Pinkalicious or Elmo's Potty Time.  Of course we read both, and more. 

7:30- I then take Maisy to her room, kiss her goodnight and tuck her in her crib.  She will look up at me sheepishly and say "Good night mommy," before jamming two fingers into her mouth and sucking like they are made of candy.

7:35- Finally I head back to Elana's room for one more kiss.  Inevitably she will beg for just one more story to which I respond, "No Elana.  It's time for bed."
"Just one more?  Please, please please."
"Just one chapter?"
"Just a short baby book?"
"Just one page?"
"Oh, all right.  Just one page."  I grab Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You and read "He can go like a cow, he can go moo, moo," then shut it dramatically, turn off the light, and close the door praying on bended knees that neither will wake.

So, would you want to do this every night? 

To end this post, I want to give a shout out of thank you to Adam Mansbach for writing a much needed bedtime story, Go the F@#k to Sleep.  I have already pre-ordered my own copy on Amazon and am eagerly awaiting its arrival (  Here is a little sample to whet your appetite for this masterpiece of childrens' literature:

“The cats nestle close to their kittens.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the f@#k to sleep.” 

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