“Thanks for riling my kids all up right before bed, Dan!”
I have admittedly heard this many times over the years from many different slightly to majorly irked parents. My sister. Friends. My ex-in-laws.
I can’t help it. I’m a bedtime kid riler-upper. I’ve always thought bedtimes were supposed to be fun and magical and awesome and funny.
Well, then I got my own kid. And old habits don’t just die hard. They don’t die at all sometimes. And every time it’s bedtime at Dad’s house, Noah and I follow the same routine.
First, we have story time. Not book time. I’ll leave that to his much more responsible mom. No, we have story time. Noah goes and gets any five toys from his room, and dad makes up an elaborate story out of them. Last night’s story was Bumblebee the Tansformer who lost all his Transformer pals and had to feed metal to the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex up on Mount Dinosaur if he ever wanted the answers he sought.
The bad news is, Bumblebee didn’t make it and there are no Transformers left.
The good news is, the Tyrannosaurus Rex has a really full belly and has promised to leave all the forest critters alone for the time being.
Anyway, story time is usually filled with screams and jumping and laughter and all sorts of theatrics that would make most parents grit their teeth.
When that part is over it’s over, and we do one of two things. On nights when we get to bed early, Noah gets to tell me a story (I think it’s good exercise for the imaginative side of his brain). On nights when we’re out of time, we head to his bedroom and the king of riling kids up puts on his crown and gets to work rilling his own kid up to the rafters.
It always involves screaming. It always involves laughing. It always involves tickling. And it usually involves someone getting eaten. I taped a few minutes of it last night.
Ummm. Yeah. Believe me now when I tell you that I know how to rile a kid up? That’s a regular nightly occurrence here.
Anyway, here’s the thing.
I have literally never, no not even once, had to argue with Noah about bedtime. I’ve never had to negotiate. I’ve never had to get mad. All I’ve ever had to do was stop the fun when I was ready, tell him it was time for bed, give him a hug and a kiss, and leave. He doesn’t tell me he wants more fun. He doesn’t come out of his bedroom. He doesn’t yell for water. He doesn’t tell me he can’t sleep. He doesn’t make a single peep. He just snuggles up to his big body pillow, closes his eyes, and goes to sleep.
So, my question is. Did I just luck out and get the best/easiest kid on the planet? Or is riling your kid up before bed the way to go?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What are bedtimes like with your kids?