We planned our trip to Hershey meticulously. I specifically requested a quiet room far from the elevator, and preferably with a nice view of the gardens. I asked elaborate questions about the hotel’s restaurant menu, if there was a hair dryer in the room, and which roller coaster we should go on first according to the amusement park map that I saw online. What I forgot to ask was: how will the kids go to bed at 7 PM while The Husband and I prefer to stay up until 11 PM?
We did what we always did when faced with an ugly problem: ignored it.
7 PM came and went, and the boys’ behavior began to quickly deteriorate. We were so shocked by this. Why were they acting bratty on vacation?? They had only driven in the car all day to get here, and then eaten three full-sized chocolate bars a piece upon arrival (Hershey's secret code name: crack for kids). It was truly astonishing to us that they might be dangerously overtired or hyped up on sugar and ready to crash.
As the hands of the clock crept toward 9, we knew we had a potential crisis on our hands. We had to get them to bed this instant or face very unpleasant repercussions, such as crying hissy-fit screaming tantrums (from me, or possibly the boys as well).
Unfortunately, we could not afford a two room suite where we could tuck the boys in hours earlier while The Husband and I relaxed in the adjoining living room, drinking wine and watching movies. Thus, we were all squashed into two beds in a standard room with a blindingly-neon-bright overhead light that surgeons would envy.
We got the boys into their pajamas and turned off the light. The boys were asleep when their heads touched the pillows. I adjusted my own pillow and pulled up the covers. For about three seconds, I considered moving the overstuffed chair and ottoman into the bathroom so The Husband and I could at least play cards until 10. Instead, I lay there repeating But-I’m-not-tired-yet-but-I’m-not-tired-yet-but-I’m-not-tired-yet, like a Mantra.
We repeated this insanity for two more days: them getting tired, us not, and compromising by going to bed at 9.
During our drive home on the last day of our trip, The Husband and I brainstormed about how to deal with the sleep situation on future vacations. Take turns, with one of us going to the lobby to read? Not go on vacation again until one of them is 12? Take vacations by ourselves? Hire a nanny and make her go to bed at 7 with them?
We never resolved the issue. We arrived home, did some laundry, and got the boys into bed at their normal time. A little while later, I yawned and told The Husband I was going to bed now.
“You are?” he asked, “You’re sleepy already?”
I looked at the clock: it was 9 PM.
("Me, On Vacation")