Thursday, November 05, 2009


As one should not shop while hungry, one should not post blogs while tired and weary. At least that seems like common sense at the moment. However, I´m so at the verge of hilarious tears of weariness that I feel the creative juices flowing in spite of myself. I´m once again feeling the pull between my dreams and expectations and what is reality.

I have this vision of bedtime- that is, the children´s bedtime. You know, the warm glow of lamplight, the softly read bedtime story, the sweet kisses and recitation of memory verses. Of pajamas that smell of Snuggle and hair that smells like Johnson´s and Johnson´s. Children that sweetly gaze into my eyes, and say, "Good night, Mother Dear. Thank you for all you´ve done today!" OK, so the last part is COMPLETE fantasy.

When I was a kid, bedtime was mainly sneaking a final read of my favorite book, and since I slept with a kid sister who was much younger, I generally fell asleep with a human octopus wrapped around my body. My daddy did sometimes do something special- he would tuck me in- literally. It was just a joke, and when he left, I looked like a quilt-clad mummy. Once in a while, bedtime was spiced up by a brother who had snuck into the room to leap upon me from a dark closet or from under the bed. So my fantasy definitely doesn´t come from past experience.

When Kathryn was just a baby, I bought an oil lamp. Yes, people- an OIL lamp, thinking what a nice tradition it would be to always read bedtime stories by an oil lamp. I received funny looks from family members who saw me reading bedtime stories to my 4 week old. Somewhere along pregnancy week 32 with Alex, I realized my peaceful dreamlike bedtime ritual was probably about to disappear. The oil lamp stunk, the book fell apart.

Reality looks something like this: have children clean their rooms (this means Kathryn throws everything on top of her bed and we sort it, and Alex comes in after every toy he puts away, yelling "I did it!"), if they haven´t already had a bath due to playing in mud, a nasty blowout diaper, or a mishap with a marker, they get one. Oh, yes, then we simply must have a bedtime snack. Many times, Mr. Tumnus (how I am changed to a goat-man, I´m not sure, but I´ve perfected the tippy-toe walk while delivering milk and muffins to the table) has tea with sardines with Edmund and Lucy. And then we brush teeth, say our verses (maybe 3 out of 7 nights :( ), pray away the bad dreams, read a story, deliver that tiny sip of water, get kid out of bed for last minute peepee, spank other child for sneaking out of bed, turn on sleepytime CD (which is SUPPOSED to hypnotize children within 30 seconds max), leave the room, come back after shrieks of terror to shut the closet door, deliver favorite stuffed animal that has crept into the kitchen, and you get the idea.

And then I´m so, so tired. Truth be told, I long for a simple, hygienic, cozy, loving bedtime routine. Maybe, just maybe, if I´m lucky, I´ll hear a little 2 year old voice piping out of a darkened room: "Night, night, mommy. No mon-ters?"


Juwah said...

Charity...Don't tell Nathan, but I have a solution. It's called the Daddy bedtime ritual. Really it works. After the baths and snacks, Mommy sneaks to her computer. Daddy reads, gets drinks, tries for the millionth time to convince them that "When they are afraid they must trust in Jesus." Mommy mysteriously reappears in time to join in prayers, last hugs are given and lights out. It's a very beautiful thing. It's not exactly fairy land, but it will do. :)

Kim M. said...

Oh I am laughing because I can so relate. I enjoyed your post!