Monday, September 20, 2010

Snapshot: Bedtime

The late sun was throwing orange swaths of light across the bedroom; western windows gathering heat.  The girls were damp and wild, clean and energetic, fresh from bathtime.  Jumping over each other and using their designated outside-only voices, their noise was deafening.  As if they'd saved their last, craziest ounces of energy for final last hail mary play before lights out.

We placed calming hands on arms, cheeks, backs, soothing them into a temporary quietude long enough for teeth and hair to be brushed.  As a team, we work well together; him taming the toddler, me pacifying the preschooler -- He chases Lauren as she darts away, squealing.  I explain to Mia the necessity behind flossing.  It works. 

Outside, the sun dipped below the edge of the valley.  Golden warmth hiding for night.  Cool blue replacement sky.

The girls were herded down the hallway into Mia's room for stories.  Bumbling chatterboxes.  Mia's green-shaded lamp spilled more than enough light by which to read one of our favorite bedtime books.  That night, it was less of a slow, easy story, and more of a shake-your-sillies-out game.  This book, this encyclopedia of wiggles, is usually saved for mid-afternoon entertainment.  Every movement-accompanied rhyme in the book is beloved, but the one that's always repeated, always begged for, is a classic.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.  The unforgettable.

Standing as giddy little soldiers, Mia and Lauren were ready.  Breathless as they waited.  As mom and dad, we could've had the privilege of being the callers of the dance, rather than the participants, but because we couldn't stand to sit idly by as our children had all the fun, we danced, too.

Heeeeead and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, Heeeeead and....

But Mia was displeased.  Wait!  Just wait, guys!  This is too fast for me, I can't keep up when you do it so fast!  You HAVE to slow down!  By the end of her speech, her lip was wobbling and her foot was stamping; she loathes feeling inadequate.  It brings out her tears...much like a disappointment being added to her already slaphappy over-tiredness would do.  We promised to slow down, and began again.

Heeeeead and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, Heeeeead and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, eyes and ears and...

Lauren wailed.  Fingers buried in her eyes, mouth open in an unfair moan, she cried.  No, you hafta go even faster!  No eyes and ears, just even even faster!  Her tears spilled over her eyelids; complaints spilled over her lips.  Another girl lost to the land of the ridiculously tired children.  Thankfully, we were only 5 minutes away from the cure.  We pressed on, singing faster and faster until the girls were heaped in a giggling mess of tangled limbs. 

Justin and I peeled the punch-drunk girls off of one another, placing them in their respective beds as they yawned out pleas for more.  More dancing, more rhyming (presumably, more broken-down crying...). 

But by then, the singing, dancing parents were done giving the girls one last goof-off. 

Minutes later, their rooms were quiet.  Over-tired caved under dreams.  Darkened windows promised silence. 


  1. Been there, done that!! That always seems to be one of the favorite songs!! I usually read them stories before bed. When they were little, they would each pick two and we would read until we finished and than tuck them into bed. Now that they are older, we have a quiet time. This is time where they can sit in their rooms or on the couch and we read until bedtime. We all enjoy the comfort of sharing together this last hour of the day. Sounds like you had a fun evening at your house!! Thank goodness you did not do "Five little monkeys jumping on the bed".

  2. I love all your girls' bedtime adventures! They're so sweet! Sometimes it's hard for me not to get impatient with silliness at the end of the day, so I love this little reminder that you can just silly yourself to sleep. You and Justin are great parents!

  3. Every child probably does not remember their bedtime rituals because theynare so young! Wouldn't it be great to go back in time to see what your parents did to get you to bed? I guess the closest thing would be to watch your grandparents put the kids to bed!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?