Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Do Me Tonight!

Bedtime at our house has never been a problem. In the early days, Chip would bathe Connor and get him ready for bed while I cooked dinner. Then we'd kiss him goodnight, put him in the crib to fall asleep on his own, and enjoy a child-free meal and a relaxing evening.

By the time Chloe came along, we had implemented a family dinner routine, with bath/bed coming soon after. Chip had a good thing going with Connor, so they kept that up while I took care of the baby. We were a well-oiled machine. Chloe quickly learned to put herself to sleep, just like her brother, and by 8:00 Chip and I were ready to enjoy the rest of the evening without children underfoot. (What can I say? There's one thing our family is good at, and it's sleeping.)

Once Chloe was big enough to bathe without being propped up, we started putting the kids in the bath together. Chip could get them clean while I spent 20 minutes alone. (In those days, Chip had the house to himself after the kids and I left in the mornings. So this wasn't entirely unfair.) Aahhh, what a glorious, but brief, era. I could wash the dishes from dinner with no interruptions. Or I could watch this week's episode of Medium while sipping a glass of wine. It was my time, with no kids or spouse needing anything from me. And it didn't last long.

Somewhere in the past few months, things have gone off the rails. The kids still bathe and go to bed easily, but they won't do it without my involvement. After bathtime is over, one parent takes one kid and one parent takes the other. We read books, get tucked in, etc. I guess I can understand this- the kids had gotten used to having a couple of books worth of one-on-one time with a parent. Sharing this time didn't sit well with them, and the least I can do for my children is read them a book.

The part of this that is notable, however (only took four paragraphs to get to it!) is that I am the only person the kids feel is qualified to do bedtime. As a result, every day of my life I hear the "Mom's doing me tonight!" argument from the kids. It's like they're calling shotgun or something, even though we have a strict alternating night policy in place. And they have no problems having this argument in front of Chip, who looks on with a tear in his lonely, unwanted eye.

Here are some variations of the "Mommy's gonna do me tonight!" conversations:
CB: Mommy do me d'night!
CS: I know.
CB: Mommy do ME d'night!

CS: Mom, you're doing me tonight, right? Because last night I was at Grammy's but it would have been Dad's turn because the night before that you did me so that means you do me tonight.

CB: Mommy do me d'night!!!
CS: Nuh uh! No wait. Yeah, Mom did me last night so that means she does you tonight. But she gets to do me tomorrow night.

Every day of my life, I'm doing somebody that night. I guess it's nice to be wanted, but it would be a lot more fun if it were Chip and Brad Pitt having these discussions. Oh well- I'll take what I can get.


Stan said...

I feel ya! Last night I went to my neighborhood assoc meeting and had to let daddy do the putting to bed ritual. Mind you, the day before last he did it last night without incident, but when I left it was a fit of crying and screaming. Brutal!

I try to remember that it will be just a few years before my DD hates my guts, so I will just enjoy it while it lasts.

Stacey Greenberg said...

funny stuff, steph. i am also a bedtime master it appears.