As we all know, putting kids to bed SUCKS. It's nothing like you envision when you are expecting your first child and spend hours sitting in their room imagining yourself reading them stories and kissing their freshly washed hair before they gently sigh and fall to sleep. Even on the best of days it's a dead run from dinnertime until Jon Stewart. The worst days are more like that scene on The Perfect Storm where the crew works feverishly through the night only to have a giant wave smack the ship over sideways.
Tonight was no exception. We had a reasonably good time having dinner together and getting jammies on. Wes lost his books for not cooperating with changing his clothes, but everyone brushed their teeth and we had them in bed at the usual time, between seven and seven thirty. And that's when the shenanigans began.
We were attempting to relax downstairs when we heard the pitter patter of little feet on the floor above our heads and then voices. Ryan went up to investigate.
Wes was helping James put his diaper back on after James had gotten up to use the potty. Go James!
Then Charley appeared downstairs. "I'm not tired and it's still daytime."
"Back to bed" I said firmly without looking up from Facebook.
Then Wes was out of his room again, running around the upstairs hallway. Ryan made him go back in.
Then there was commotion in the bathroom again. James had to go potty again. A likely story. I put him back in his room and closed the door. He screamed and kicked the wall for at least fifteen minutes.
Then Wes was out knocking on the wall at the top of the stairs to get our attention. He wanted a stuffed animal he had left in the car. I said no. He returned to his room to scream.
Then Charley came out of our room where he falls asleep so he and Wes don't keep each other up.
Then before I could even get back downstairs Wes came out again.
This time I had HAD it. I ran down to the kitchen and got two wet rags. At the top of the stairs I handed them to Charley and Wes and said "You may sleep, or you may clean the bathroom floor."
To my surprise they merrily skipped off to the two upstairs bathrooms.
I heard rigorous scrubbing for about fifteen minutes while I sat on the floor in the hallway feeling a little guilty about punishing the kids for not sleeping by making them clean bathrooms. How very Mrs. Hannekin of me! I felt less guilty when I remembered that the choices I had given them were SLEEP IN YOUR COZY BEDS or clean the bathroom floor on your hands and knees.
Then Charley came out and handed me his rag. "I'm done in there" he said. "OK, do you want another job?" I asked, very surprised at how cooperative they were being. He did, so I sent him down to work on the playroom, a job I ask them to do nearly every single day that results in so much histrionics you would think I was tearing them limb from limb. And the playroom was a MESS tonight.
He headed downstairs without another word.
Wes was done with his bathroom moments later so I set him to work putting all the books back in the bookshelves in their room, a chore I've needed to do all week after moving them out for the big room overhaul last Friday.
He CHEERFULLY AND WITHOUT GETTING DISTRACTED shelved an entire laundry basket full of books, stood up and said "I think I'll go to bed now," then climbed into his lower bunk, pulled up the covers, and asked me (very nicely this time) for his stuffed animal from the car, which I happily retrieved.
Meanwhile Charley was doing an AMAZING job on the playroom. He got everything up off the floor. When I went in there to put an action figure away he said "Oh, here's the action figure bin I set up." When he was done with that room he swept through the living and dining room picking up toys and dirty clothes. Toys went in the playroom (in their appropriate spots) and laundry went in the washer. He put a few things on the island and when I asked about that he said "I thought you could help put those away since you're the experts on going into James's room at night."
And then he said he was done, bounced up the stairs and into our room, turned out the light, and got into bed.
SO WEIRD, you guys.
And I have not heard a PEEP out of them since then, about an hour ago. And the house looks amazing. This is REVOLUTIONARY.