A parents' day is a freakin' long one. It starts earlier than most (because I'm pretty sure kids are the ones who wake up the roosters, at this point) and has either work or the all-day company of a child in the middle (both of which can be emotionally and physically demanding). Then, after dinner is argued over and, hopefully, eaten and the sun sinks in the sky, realness looms. I'm talking about the bedtime routine. Yes, the soul-crushing battle that caps off the end of an already exhausting day. Look kid, there are bedtime rules every moms needs her kid to follow. We give you food, shelter, love, and toys, so I think it's more than fair to ask that you hold up your end of that social contract you, in my mind, signed in the womb.
Bedtime can be tough, guys, and the fact that we cannot fathom how our children would willingly reject an opportunity to sleep makes it all the more embittered and maddening. It's like, "I am giving you something I want more than anything on Earth, my beloved little one. Here. Enjoy!" and they're like, "No! I hate you! Now give me all your other hopes and dreams so I can fart on them and throw them in the diaper genie."
Still, you're the parent, and, eventually, they will have to listen to you. They can ultimately never win this battle, no matter how valiant their efforts may be. Sleep, in all its beauty and majesty, always wins. As such, parents will always win, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes. So, children, just remember, this will all go down easier for everyone if you follow these simple rules:
Just Brush Your Damn Teeth
Did you know that in the 1800s toothpaste was made out of soap, chalk, and charcoal? Imagine what that must have tasted like. Your toothpaste tastes like bubblegum and your toothbrush is emblazoned with your favorite cartoon character. Not brushing your teeth is absurd, unwise, and basically spitting on the suffering of those poor old-timey children who had to brush their teeth with what must have tasted like ashes from the pits of some underworld. Also your teeth are going to rot out of your head if you don't brush your teeth. Trust me, if I could get out of this argument by just giving you your way I would, but it would backfire tremendously on your mouth and my wallet.
Get Water When You're In The Bathroom
No. Don't tell me you're not thirsty right now. Get it now because you know you're going to be asking later and I am going to head this off at the pass.
Don't Freak Out When The Pajamas You Want Are Dirty
You wore those things three days in a row. I finally had to peel them off of you this morning at breakfast when you spilled an entire cup of raspberry yogurt on them. They are dirty and they smell like yogurt and my failure as a laundress, so no, you cannot wear them.
Pick The Correct Number Of Books
This number will vary from family to family. In some households it is 1. Others, it's 5. In this house, child, it is 3 books. Don't try to sneak in a fourth, especially if that fourth is something impossibly long like Horton Hears A Who. If you want Horton Hears A Who you're only getting 2 books and one of them is going to be crazy short, like Goodnight Moon.
Do Not Decide, As I Read The Second To Last Sentence On The Last Page Of A Book That "Actually, That Isn't The One I Wanted" And Think I Will Let You Choose Another
Because that's bullshit. It'd be like eating all but one bite of your entrée then sending it back to the kitchen and insisting you want another.
Get Into Bed Upon Request
Remember how I talked about old fashioned toothpaste? Old fashioned beds were on par. They were filled with straw and appointed with itchy sheets and blankets. Pillows were for the likes of Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. You would never have had a pillow, we would have needed that money to buy gruel. Your current bed is soft, warm, and covered in adorable bedsheets you picked out yourself. If your stuffed animals were actual animals your bed would be the Bronx Zoo. There is nothing not to love about your bed.
Respect The Fact That I Will Sing One Lullaby Once
Because I am not a performing monkey. Do you know how much money Beyoncé gets to perform a set? Until you start paying me Beyoncé money you get one, and it's free, so be grateful.
Your Allotment Of Cuddles Is As Follows: One Long Hug And Up To And Including Five Kisses
Anything beyond that is disingenuous and you know it. You will not cheapen our love to buy you a few extra minutes of being awake. I will not allow that.
Stay In Bed
Because your day is done, child. Everything you have needed to accomplish has been done. And hey, congrats, you did some really great kid-ing today. You learned a thing or two, you uttered a few adorable quips and malaprops, and, par for the course, you left a trail of apples with one bite taken out of each in your wake. Now it's time to go to bed and stay there.
Do Not Come Into The Living Room
No. NO. Remember in Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf gets all angry at the Balrog and wields his magical staff and screams, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" That's what I'm metaphorically doing to you right now, only instead of waving a magical staff I have my magical glass of cabernet to wildly gesticulate with. Respect the magic of the cabernet and get back in your damn, adorable, comfortable bed.
Do Not Stand In Your Doorway Whining
I don't believe your tears for an instant, you wicked little crocodile.
Do Not Ask For Water
Remember when I said you should get it when you were fighting me about brushing your teeth? I foresaw this, for I am a prophetess... and also you do it every goddamn night. Maybe next time you'll learn.
Don't Pretend You're Suddenly Afraid Of The Dark
If you were really scared of the dark you wouldn't sneak through the pitch black hallways of our home every night to wind up in bed with me. And we both know it happens all the time and will probably happen tonight, so cut the crap.
Don't Freak Out
I seriously can't right now. I love you more than the air I breathe, but I am done dealing. There isn't enough magical cabernet in the world. I'm tired, you're tried so let's just, you know, go the f*ck to sleep.