School starts in exactly seven days, and, as usual in our household, we are woefully unprepared. Oh, sure, the school supplies have been purchased, and the teachers’ names have been revealed, but we are still not ready. I’m talking about, of course, our sleep schedule.
Anyone with an elementary school-aged child knows that the bus swings by at 8:15 AM, and school starts promptly at 8:45 AM. This is very, very bad if you have slacked off and allowed your children to stay up until, oh, say midnight on a regular basis, and sleep in until a nice, summery hour, like maybe 10 AM.
Very bad indeed.
To counteract this badness in my family, I have implemented a new program, which I call simply, “Go To Bed Now!” or “Bed Now!” for short. This is how it works:
At about 7:15 PM, just as we are sitting down to dinner, I say to the kids, “Bed time in five minutes!” to which they laugh hysterically and respond, “But we have not even eaten yet!”
Half an hour later, when the dinner dishes have been cleared, and the hands of the clock creep toward eight, I once again announce (with slightly more authority this time), “Go to bed! Bed time!”
My children ignore me. I pour myself another glass of wine.
The Husband and I plop down in front of House Hunters International, and dream of buying a house in Spain or Australia or Antarctica, or anywhere else where we can maybe be alone and not have to deal with children’s bed times.
At 9:30 PM, we go into their room to find them still in day-time clothes, with un-brushed teeth, playing with LEGOs. I firmly tell them they must go to bed this very instant. I stand there with my hands on my hips, in what can only be described as a semi-menacing mommy-pose.
They scurry into bed, and The Husband and I declare project “Sleep Soon!” (see? we can’t even remember the name of our new program) a success.
Ten minutes later, the kids pop up, begging for water or Pokémon cards or a million dollars or some such. We hear them popping up every 15 minutes or so for the next two hours. We consider it a great improvement that they have passed out waaaaaaaay before midnight this time, probably more like 11:45 PM.
On the flip side of my freshly implemented plan is the wake-up routine. At 7 AM on the dot, I barge into their room, and flip the lights onto full bright.
“Time to get up! Up-up-up!” I say, like a deranged rooster on crack.
“Nooooooooo!” squeals Tall, “You are ruining our last vestiges of summer!”
“Up! We have to practice! Practice getting up!” I walk over to their windows, and open the bamboo shades, revealing blinding sunlight.
“Stop! Why do you despise us so?” says Short, placing a pillow over his eyes, “What did we ever do to you?”
I make a mental note to not let them watch the Disney channel anymore, as this is obviously where they are picking up their surly attitude and new vocabulary words.
“All right, fine,” I say to the two lifeless mannequins posing as my children, “You can have 10 more minutes, then that’s it!” I say it with emphasis and vigor to underscore the importance of them waking up on time. They need time to use the bathroom, brush their teeth, finish their homework, eat breakfast, get dressed, tell me what they want packed in their lunchboxes, walk to the bus-stop, and any other things that I am forgetting right now. That takes approximately one hour and 15 minutes, minimum.
I walk upstairs to my study, coffee in hand. I mentally calculate, okay, they might not need that much time, maybe one hour is plenty. I will go back down and check on them in five minutes. I sit down at my computer and work on my blog.
Next thing you know, it is 10:15 AM. Yikes! They are still asleep! Wow, I got a lot done though. Hmmm, maybe we’ll try our new system again next week. No dress rehearsals for this family.
(“My October Vision?”)