So, we have this thing in my house where, when it gets dark and the grown-up people are no longer coherent and the kid-people are beyond exhausted, we like to play this fun little game called: Bedtime. Except, it’s not fun...
And to us grown-up people (who have been awake for a very long time and are desperate to lie comatose on a couch), it’s not a game, either.
But to the kid-people, as soon as we call, ‘Bedtime’ it’s like we’re at a bar and we’ve just announced, ‘Final call for drinks!’ and now is the time to slam back as many shots as possible, get one final dance in on the bar and whine that the party only just got started.
So I must admit, it was beyond refreshing to hear Jessica Alba, 36, open up about her true feelings towards putting her kids, (Honor, 9, and Haven, 6) to bed in this interview for TODAY.
“What really stresses me out the most is thinking about bedtime,” she said. “My kids like me to sing four songs each to them at night and after a long day of work, all I want to do is eat and decompress.”
Me too, Jess, me too.
“I love the cuddle time,” she notes, “but at the same time, I feel so drained. It’s like there is no me time… It’s hard.”
And that’s the thing. It is hard.
With three kids, bedtime is especially fun in my neck of the woods.
Firstly, there’s my six-year-old, who only realises he owns Lego and that Lego is fun and that, oh boy, he really, clearly (like urgently) needs to play with Lego before he can sleep.
He’s gone all Pavlov’s Dog on us and, as soon as he hears the word, ‘Bedtime’ his automatic response is almost always, ‘Lego’.
It’s not like we don’t encourage him to play Lego in the hours leading up to bed.
It’s just that, once we’ve rung that final bell of Bedtime, he is all about The Lego, The Whole Lego and Nothing But The Lego.
Then there’s Miss Nine. She can’t sleep.
She knows that before her head even comes close to the pillow. Her room is too hot. Or it’s too cold. Or it’s too hot AND too cold (yep, figure that one out…).
She doesn’t even want to try to go to bed because she knows she will never be able to sleep and why do we do this to her and no one else has to go to bed yet and it’s not fair and… and… and…
And then there’s Miss Three.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, sit back and get nice and comfortable. Can I refill your wine for you? Because we may be here for a while.
You see, Miss Three has All The Tricks.
She uses All The Tricks, all the time, too. She saunters between Cutest Kid In The World (“One more huggle pwease mama?”) and Little Angry One With Curls (“I not go to bed! I not! Bed is STOO-PID.”)
After much coaxing (much like trying to squish an octopus into a bottle), she will eventually plonk herself on her bed. She may even lie down for a second and, if she’s in a particularly generous mood, shut her eyes for a wee second.
But don’t let her act fool you, kind people. This kid is not about to give in that easily.
And so we go, round and round on this wonky carousel we call ‘Bedtime,’ all of us spinning and spinning, and no one getting anywhere near close enough to the holy grail of actual sleep.
I kind of wish we could do some of the stuff associated with Bedtime without it being an actual prelude to, you know, bedtime.
Because there are some bits that are particularly lovely. The cuddles, the quiet reading, the giggles, the one-on-one time, and the stuff you only hear about from your kids as the sky gets darker and darker…
Some nights, we do better than others. Some nights, the carousel runs quite smoothly and the kids quietly hop down when the ride is finished, and actually nod off.
But on the nights where things get a little haywire and nobody budges an inch towards sleep?
Well, we might not make it to bed as promptly as we could but, by golly, we sure dance on the (metaphorical) bar and slam down those (metaphorical) shots like the party’s just getting started…
Which, according to my kids, it really has…