Things are different with grandboys - but not much. I still like 8-ish, and I'm experienced enough to know that 8 starts somewhere around 7:30 with a first warning: "after this (insert: show, game, snack) we are going to get ready for bed." It's a lie and we all know it, but it's a hopeful lie, so we all smile and nod. Note to the wise: while the toys should be picked up before bedtime, it will not hasten the desired hour to assign the task to those under 4' tall. In fact, it will do the opposite. Give them a hand and expect that your hands will do 75-95% of the work. It's a good trade off.
Steps 2A, 2B, and 2C, in no particular order are: jammies on, go to the bathroom, and let's read a book. Negotiations ensue:
- Me (M) - We will read 3 books.
- Aidan (A) - No, how about 5?
- Josiah (J) - Me book! I get it myself!
- M - If you get ready quickly, we will read 4 books.
- A - No, I want 5.
- J - Granma, me book!
Round two to the munchkins. Three books was never going to happen, I knew that from the start. But they did get their jammies on. Aidan grabbed 5 books, Josiah grabbed one from him, and they commence the debate on which books is first. It is now 7:58, so I guess round one has also gone to the midgets as well. I used to be able to skip pages and make up stories as I went. Aidan now has most of the books memorized just to keep me honest. Score one more for the mini ones.
When we finally make it to the bedroom, there are several other key items: blankets and specific stuffed animals are at the top of the list. Without them, no sleep will happen - not at 8-ish or at 12-ish or any hour in between. Sundries located, there are prayers, which are both sweet and profound when uttered by 2 and 4 year old hearts. (I have to peek sometimes just to see their tightly closed eyes and earnest expressions. Be still my heart.)
We move on to a bedtime song. It is generally one of three: Amazing Grace, Jesus Loves Me, or You are my Sunshine. Actually, they will not agree on the same song, so there are generally two. One is always "Sunshine," which goes like this:
- M - You are
- AM - my
- JAM - Sunshine
- AM - my only
- JAM - Sunshine
- AM - you make me
- JAM - happy
- AM - when sky are
- JAM - gray
And on we go, jammin' with Josiah adding emphasis at the appropriate times.
Now comes the next to last stage, and by far my favorite: I love you's, kisses, hugs, and MoeMoes. The first three are particularly wonderful and need no explanation. MoeMoes are Eskimo kisses, which are so sweet, but require caution when getting so close to the moving head of a two year old. From time to time, Granmas have been injured by this north-of-the-border show of affection. It's worth every bump and bruise - so far.
The final stage involves negotiation again, though this time, it's just for show. Granma just lets them think they are in charge. Light on or light off? Door open or door closed? The correct response is door closed and hall light on so a sliver can be seen under the door. Sometimes it takes a round or two to reach that forgone conclusion, but it always arrives there in the end.
Yep, snuggled down to sleep right on time - exactly 8:37. Sleep tight, little love bugs!