Although we always give a 10 minute and then a 5 minute warning before it's time for bed, we inevitably run into one thousand and one reasons as to why 'it's not fair'. I'd like to share this month's top 5 excuses:
1) "I'm hungry" - this one is a favourite, pulled out of the bag almost nightly. Even though they've had a healthy dinner, a supper time snack, they are of course still hungry......... I automatically respond with "Well you should have eaten more at tea time". This is when I realise that I have turned into my mother.
2) "I"ve got a sore tummy and need more cuddles to make it better". Rather less common but still a top performer. Our standard response is to give a quick cuddle and these comforting words: "sleep cures everything, you'll feel much better in the morning". Another of my mothers pearls of wisdom :-)
3) "I've not done my homework, please can we start it now Mummy". This generally crops up at around 7.29pm (bedtime being 7.30pm). Now, response to this requires some thinking through. If I say "there isn't time", Tilly has been known to say "you never have time for me and now I'm going to get into trouble with my teacher and everyone else will have done theirs".
Of course this is not fair and is gravely unjust but I find myself thinking "maybe we don't spend enough time on homework and maybe she will get into trouble". My husband then reminds me that I spent two hours the night before helping her build a greek temple out of clay whilst discussing the Greek Gods. This directly followed on from a tour around two Manchester museums the sunday before looking for Greek artefacts.
I instantly congratulate myself and take her upstairs to bed!
4) "I want to wait until Daddy has his tea so I can have some". This was last night's excuse. I responded with a flat 'No', to which I got "Daddy's dinner looks so much nicer than ours, why does he get all the best food?". I don't know where to start with this little pearler. If I spent as much time thinking about Daddy's tea as I did the girls, he'd be eating cordon bleu every evening! However, I have to admit to a little self doubt and to spending at least 20 minutes last night analysing family mealtimes ;-)
5) "I want to wait until you go to bed because I'm scared of upstairs". This is a Florence special. I try to jokingly tell her that when we hear her reading to her teddies and having a full-on dolly's tea party in her room at 8pm some evenings, she doesn't seem very scared. She of course blanks me and looks at me like I'm crazy.
We've had a number of nights where Florence has crept into our bed, complete with a selection of her favourite teddies!
Neither of them are really scared of the dark, we have night lights and they know they are safe but I always feel a bit sorry for them as I remember being scared of the dark as a child. We are now at the stage where the hall light is left on and the door is ajar. I'm not sure this is in the handbook of perfect parenting but it works for us!
Once we have successfully got the girls into bed, Tilly is an angel and goes straight to sleep. Florence on the other hand will inevitably shout "I need a wee". Nine times out of ten, she suddenly can't go when she gets there but we called her bluff last week and we lost...............