My oldest is just now starting to understand the concept of time. She still hasn't completely grasped the concept. The rest of her siblings think only two times are important -- morning time and eating time. Any urgency on my part seems to make them slow down considerably.
Bedtime starts with the announcement. Convincing children it is bedtime despite the daylight pouring in their windows isn't an easy task. The 3-year-old believes any light in the sky means it is "morning time." The darkest shades and curtains do little to diminish the tempting summer sun from sneaking into their bedrooms.
To help prove it was bedtime, we showed them the clock. The two oldest could recognize the number eight without a problem. Who knew we were just creating a new problem? Just days later at 7:57 p.m., I announced bedtime. Immediately arguments broke out. We have to wait until exactly 8:00 p.m. on the clock before my children will move a single muscle towards the bathroom and ultimately the bedroom.
Well that tactic didn't work, but what if I get them into their pajamas earlier? I quickly formed an unbreakable alliance with my spouse and we were ready for the next night's bedtime challenge. At 7:30 p.m., I announced it was time to get pajamas on. Protests rose immediately.
"We don't want to go to bed," moaned one. "It's not our bedtime yet," whined another. I was armed. I handed two pairs of pajamas to my spouse as we pushed aside the protests.
"We didn't say anything about going to bed," I pointed out. "We just said it was time to get pajamas on." I sounded suspiciously like Richard at tribal council with his innocent face saying, "Alliance? What alliance?"
As the clock ticked closer to 8 p.m., I encouraged each of the children to go to the bathroom. When the clock hit 8 p.m. I was ready. I raced to put all four children in their respective beds. I kissed lips and tucked covers. I had done it! They were all in bed and on their way to sleep land.
As I sat down on the couch next to my husband with a tired plop, I heard it -- the unmistakable sound of a door opening. Two kids quickly made their appearance in the living room with requests for drinks, additional bathroom trips, discussions of upcoming birthdays and present suggestions. It doesn't matter the birthdays are six months away.
Once more I put the children to bed. They sweetly tell me they are going to sleep immediately. The minute my back is turned, they start plotting my demise. How can they get around Mommy to convince Daddy that it really isn't bedtime? Can they break the alliance?
Dad may be the weak link, but he won't let them stay up either. Of course, they would have had a stronger case if they hadn't talked so much when the show was on. It gets hard to hear the TV when two children are dancing and singing.
Think the fight between Survivor castaways Sue and Kelly was nasty? You haven't seen anything. When it comes to siblings, the idea is to inflict as much harm as possible. Recently I saw a boy with a shaved spot on the side of his head, stitches clearly visible. What happened to him? His brother.
My brothers use to throw darts and knives at each others feet in some kind of bonding ritual. I would normally describe my own children as loving and caring, but something sinister happens when they deal with their siblings.
Is Richard the ultimate survivor? Did corporate strategy prove to be the way to go? Is the world really made up of snakes and rats? All I can say is he may have won the million by eating bugs and observing relationships, but lets see how he does in a house with four kids for 39 days! We'll find out exactly who is the real survivor.
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