Sunday, November 4, 2012

Past Deadline: The Sun Is Not Going to Explode - Yet

Here is Past Deadline for the Sept. 27 issue of The Perth Courier.
The sun is not going to explode – yet
“How about I write about top 10 bedtime stalling tactics?” I asked the young’uns.
Girlchild made a scowly face that could have wilted flowers.
“Good idea!” chirped Boychild.
Can you guess, based on this exchange, who the current worst offender is?
I have no right to complain about this, of course. Long-time readers may recall I have discussed my own bizarre bedtime routine involving bathroom trips, gazing out the window for a prescribed period of time, arranging my stuffed animals a certain way and asking Mom and Dad a nightly token question.
And that was just last week! Okay, not really. At least not the Mom and Dad part.
(Insert diagnoses here.)
Anyway, it seems to be a universal thing that kids will attempt to put off sleeping no matter how tired they may be. Some manage to do it without annoying the heck out of their parents by quietly reading books by flashlight under the covers. Others must have incredibly guilty consciences and feel they need to involve their parents in every act of bedtime defiance, it seems. Unfortunately.
The children seem to have inherited the “I must bug Mom and Dad one more time before I sleep thing” from me. This can be with a question or to tell us something they forgot or because they need something.
On the “need something” front, they have the market cornered. Have you ever noticed how minor afflictions blossom into full-blown crises at bedtime? The bump on the knee requires an ice pack and morphine, the headache is suddenly a migraine requiring surgery and the paper cut requires a trip to emerge and possibly a transfer by helicopter to a trauma centre.
Heaven forbid one has the sniffles. Even with all the usual comforts, the sniffles always seem worse at night when you’re lying in bed and trying to breathe through your nose, but does it really require 17 trips down the stairs to weep and moan and wail and gnash teeth and inflict misery on everyone in the house? Yes, apparently it does.
Breathe through your mouth, already.
When all the ice packs and medications and enchantments and threats have been administered and all is quiet, don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume it’s peaceful because the little darlings have dozed off. No, assume it is because they are lying in bed thinking of things to worry about.
You’ll start to watch that TV show, but it will be interrupted 112 times in the first four minutes with commentary ranging from the mundane “I don’t wanna go to school tomorrow” and “I think something is wrong with one of my fish” to the more creative “There’s a dark spot on my wall and it’s not a shadow and I’m scared” and “I picked my mole and I think a vein may have come out.”
One of my personal favourites of late was Girlchild’s tearful visit at 10:30 one recent night to proclaim, “Mom, I am worried about when the sun is going to blow up.”
My fuse shortens as the day wears on and my sarcasm filter tends to all but disappear. Nevertheless, I managed to avoid the classic, “If you don’t get to bed I’ll give you something to cry about.” I even avoided the more realistic, “Hon, with the way this planet is going you’ve got a lot more to worry about before the sun blows up.”
That kind of reality dose at bedtime is not helpful. (That’s why we grown-ups watch the late news – to distract us from such things as the sun’s not-so-imminent blow-uppery.)
I know this didn’t turn into a top-10 list, but it’s the kids’ bedtime and I keep getting interrupted….

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