As a parent I find that I repeat myself a lot. I also end up saying the same thing over and over again.
Of all of the things that I say repeatedly perhaps none is uttered as frequently as the simple phrase “go back to bed.” Lest you think this is all in my head the kids happily confirm this. A few months ago I attended donuts with dad at the preschool where the three-year-old Fashionista and the nineteen-month-old Jedi attend a couple of days a week. While I was there, the Fashionista’s teachers gave me a sheet of paper that showed a list of questions about me that had been posed to the Fashionista. Along with the questions her teachers had written down her insightful answers. Next to the question “Daddy always says” was her answer “Go to bed.”
I don’t know what it is about bedtime that small humans find so abhorrent. In our house there are four kids trying desperately to do anything they can to keep from having to go to sleep, and there are two tired adults earnestly trying to make up for seven years worth of sleep deprivation.
The excuses they make up in an attempt to justify why they have once again fled their bedroom are at least creative. When our Zoologist first got a taste of freedom he realized that if he just left his room and rolled into his parent’s bedroom without a valid reason there were frequently some unpleasant consequences designed to teach him to stay in his room. Rather than adjusting his actions according he would stroll into the master bedroom and begin a monologue worthy of Johnny Cochran that began something like this, “I’m not here to get my toys taken away. I’m not here to get my love is taken away.” He would then launch into an explanation of why he was out of his bed by saying, “I am here to…” The whole thing felt like a small child was running for office, but it was just cute enough to keep him out of serious trouble, at least the first few times.
The Zoologist no longer uses this monologue because he now has siblings that live in the same room, and they all generally try to blame one another as often as possible whenever they get caught out of their room.
They’ll probably put, “Daddy said go to bed,” on my tombstone, but I won’t care. At least I’ll be getting some rest.