Who loves bedtime? This is a trick question. Everyone loves the kids being in bed, but how many love putting the kids to bed? Oh. A few hands. I see.
Well, those of you with lovely, cooperative children, who settle into bed, lay still and quietly listen to a story, then doze peacefully off to sleep – this is not for you. Also, go over there, I can’t look at you right now.
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No, this is for the parents whose children might be vampires, because they stay up all night – and probably bite.
This is for parents who drink coffee at 6 pm just to have the energy to handle bedtime routine. This is for parents on the verge of saying, “Screw it, they can sleep in my bed until they go to college, and then they are their roommate’s problem.” If this sounds familiar, this how-to is for you.
Step 1: Psych yourself up. You can do this. YOU are the adult. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
Step 2: Say it’s time for bed.
Step 3: Say it’s time for bed.
Step 4: Say it’s time for bed, you mean it.
Step 5: Yell it’s time for bed.
Step 6: Explain you wouldn’t have to yell if they answered you the first time. You’re off to a great start!
Step 7: Take child to pee.
Step 8: Ask if they’re sure they don’t need to pee.
Step 9: Look for pajamas.
Step 10: Realize you have a drawer full of pajama tops and no bottoms.
Step 11: Decide if underwear and a shirt is good enough for Tom Cruise, it’s good enough for your kid.
Step 12: Find child, who has fucked off while you were searching for clothing.
Step 13: Start to help child get ready for bed.
Step 14: Avert your eyes when they yell, “DON’T LOOK AT ME!”
Step 15: Wonder what they are doing that is taking twenty-six minutes to get a shirt on.
Step 16: Announce you are about to look.
Step 17: Pick shirt off the floor and put on child who has found that toy he was looking for.
Step 18: Send child to brush teeth.
Step 19: Go to check on child who has been in there a suspiciously long time.
Step 20: Find child sitting on toilet, brushing their butt with two toothbrushes.
Step 21: Realize the other toothbrush is yours.
Step 22: Ask if this is the first time they have done this.
Step 23: Ask if they are sure.
Step 24: Throw out all the toothbrushes.
Step 25: Find child’s pillow, which is never on the bed.
Step 26: Realize it’s wet.
Step 27: Just turn it over and put it on the bed, there’s no time for this shit.
Step 28: Tell child to lay down. No all the way down. Put your butt down. No, with your head on the pillow. Down. Lay down. Lay down now. Thank you.
Step 29: Put blanket on your child.
Step 30: Get a different blanket.
Step 31: Bring an array of blankets, lay them out like wedding cake samples, and have child choose an acceptable one.
Step 32: Choose a book to read.
Step 33: Realize, after announcing the book, that it has seventy-two pages.
Step 34: Summarize the book while flipping pages ten at a time.
Step 35: Get caught.
Step 36: Make amends by choosing the shortest book on the shelf.
Step 37: Kiss child goodnight.
Step 38: Turn off the light.
Step 39: Turn the light back on and explain what is making those weird shadows.
Step 40: Turn off the light.
Step 41: Turn the light back on and find a different, very specific stuffy.
Step 42: Turn the light off.
Step 43: Turn the light on and assure child there is no such thing as people-eating ghost ninjas.
Step 44: Agree to leave the light on.
Step 45: Make it to the hallway.
Step 46: Do a happy dance.
Step 47: Get a snack.
Step 48: Finally find something not child-friendly on Netflix.
Step 49: Start to feel like a human being with their own wants and needs.
Step 50: Take child to the bathroom.
Repeat steps 28-50 as necessary, all night, every night, until you question your own sanity. See? Easy peasy.