Friday, June 15, 2007


Our kids usually go to bed at around 8:00. Of course, my preference would be to get them asleep by 6:30, and have them wake up about thirteen hours later. But my preference is also to be six inches taller than I am and not have to see an electrologist. So there you go.

I think of it less as putting the kids to bed and more as putting them away: like I’m straightening up around the house, shelving a few more items until they’re ready for use again—the dishes stacked in the cabinets, the clean laundry folded and returned to the appropriate dressers, the boys tucked away in their bunk beds, Lilah in her crib.

The problem is, while the dishes and clothing generally stay put, the kid drawers keep popping open. The boys want water, a slice of cheese, another goodnight kiss. Lilah wants—who knows? And so, again and again, we go into their rooms, tell them to hush and settle. We pat them on the back, or raise our voices, or both. We keep putting away our three jack-in-the-boxes, until finally, sometimes as much as 45 minutes later, they are all quiet.

All the while, Stupid Daddy and I lose ground on these precious couple of hours we have to ourselves, to each other, to the silence in the house. And I begin to feel anxious about how little I’ve gotten done, irritated that I am so beholden to my little ones’ schedules. I get this burst of energy after they go down and want to stay up until 2am, taking care of this and that—paying bills, writing bestsellers, solving many of the world’s most pressing problems.

Lately, I’ve experimented with giving in to that impulse. (Have you noticed, by the way, how much happier a planet we are living on?) But I’ve discovered that, strangely enough, the kids don’t sleep in after my late nights. No matter how late I stay up, they still wake up at 6:30 the next morning. Even on Saturday! Kids are so funny like that.

They also insist that 65 degrees is a totally appropriate temperature for swimming without a wet suit and believe that adding “butt” to the end of any sentence makes it an instant comedy classic. There’s a lot we’re not in sync about. I guess I should have seen it coming.

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