After the Kids Go To Bed

What a nuisance bedtime is. Kids hate it. Parents hate that their kids hate it. For us in the Northern Hemisphere (the top of the world) it stays lighter laters. There was still a hint of daylight left tonight at 8:30. You can imagine how bright it was 2 hours earlier.


Crash was outside at that time. He poked his head in the door and asked if I could come outside with him. I told him, “No. It’s 6:30. Time to come in get yogurt.” He knows the word yogurt means get ready for bed. I bet you think he came right inside, don’t you?

He didn’t. He went back outside to jump on the trampoline. 45 minutes later he was in bed reading. He had his “bedlunch”. He brushed, flossed, and rinsed. He was in pajamas. Reading. The same was true for his little brother. 

Now all is quiet. 

Except for the TV. We’re watching Blindspot. Zapato just got knocked out by a gunman. Good times. After this we’ll catch up on The Voice that we missed Monday and Tuesday. Sleep is for the weak. 

My reward for getting the kids to bed is that I get to stay up late and watch shows with guns and violence and “that’s convenient and just in time” thrills. 

What’s your guilty pleasure after the kids go to bed?


The Conversation to Delay Bedtime…

The lights were off. Star frog was casting his glow across the ceiling. A certain 5 year old was nestled under the covers, his little head on the pillow all ready for a good night’s sleep. Then this happened…

Bang: In a long long long hundred and 500 million days Laurie (the bus driver) was trying to say “Who’s this hat?” but the radio was coming on and on and on. He couldn’t even say it so he didn’t say. He just kept the hat.
Me: Ohhh… Was it his hat?
Bang: No. He wears all his hats. But only his light brown. It could be just dark brown. I don’t care. And I really really love Laurie and the bus. 
Me: Why?
Bang: I don’t know. Do you know why I love the bus?
Me: Why?
Bang: Do you know why I love Laurie?
Me: Why?
Bang: He drives so fast and I love going fast. And I like his hat, too. 
Me: Ahh
Bang: Guess why I love the bus
Me: uhh
Bang: Because last time I was little I couldn’t even see out the window. The windows were high high up and I couldn’t see out the window so I was looking at these black thingys and now I can see out the window a little bit. Why do we get new busses every day?
Me: Just depends on which one Laurie is driving.
Bang: Are some broken?
Me: Sometimes.
Bang: And why do bus drivers say you can sit in the back?
Me: Just letting you know you can go to the back. You don’t have to sit in the front.
Bang: No because last time the bus driver girl (a substitute driver) she said the little boy can go in the back. He did. *YAWN* Is there anything with police officers and trains? Do trains speed?
Me: Sometimes, but they don’t get in trouble for it unless they crash.
Bang: What happens if they crash?
Me: It makes a great big mess and it costs a lot of money to clean it up. Then the train driver gets in trouble for going too fast and he doesn’t get to drive trains any more.
Bang: What happens if you uhh….. I know how the builders can get in trouble. 
Me: How?
Bang: They build the wrong tunnel and on the edge of the tunnel they build a wall instead of a tunnel. Then they would go to jail. 
Me: Mm hmm.
Bang: I know how else.
Me: How?
Bang: When someone is on the track, the trains usually stop but they never stop. Is that how they could get in trouble?
Bang: And how else? If someone is on top of the train?
Me: Mm hmm. Then the person on top gets  in trouble.
Bang: Well then, uhh… actually. Are you allowed going backwards in trains?
Me: Yeah.
Bang: Well what if they have only one engine? Err How else can they get in trouble?
Me: By not stopping at red lights.
Bang:There’s no caution lights. 
Me: Sometimes they have to stop because there’s a train coming from the other way and it needs to switch tracks. If they don’t stop in the right place the trains will run into each other if they don’t switch tracks in time.
Bang: Oh yeah! Just like Thomas!
Me: Mm hmm.
Bang: They have red lights and green lights. But do they have caution lights? 
Me: No, just red and green.
Bang: What happens if they’re too big?
Me: Then they can’t pull their cars and they’re stuck.
Bang: No, if they’re too big and they knock down the caution light. 
Me: Oh. The caution light doesn’t go over the tracks. It’s beside the track.
Bang: What happens if they hoot? If it gets jammed. They jam it with something?
Me: (I missunderstand) Then the sign breaks and they have to fix it.
Bang: What sign breaks?
Me: The caution sign.
Bang: No. Like the hooter. When you jam the….
Me: Ohhh. The hooter. The hoo hoo.
Bang: Yeah. When you pull that and jam it with a tack, is that how you get in trouble?
Me: Yep. That’ll get you in trouble. You need your hoo hoos to warn cars that you’re coming. When there’s a road across the tracks?
Bang: Yeah, I know that. Just like running. (I go running pushing him in a jogging stroller to where train tracks cross the road)
Me: Yeah. And they have to blow the horn before they cross the road.
Bang: Well then it’d be honking all day if you jammed it. 
Me: Mm hmm.
Bang: What happens if you put something down the hoo hoo?
Me: Uhhh… It’ll go down into a big tank of water because that’s where it makes steam by boiling water.
Bang: Well how does oil make steam?
Me: It doesn’t.
Bang: Well then what makes steam?
Me: Water. When it gets hot it boils and makes steam.
Bang:  Just like potatoes?
Me: Yeah!
Bang: And broccoli?
Me: Mm hmm
Bang: What happens if they put the biggest rock like it can fit down the hoo hoo but not into the tank?
Me: Then the steam can’t get out and all the pressure builds up inside the tank and it explodes.
Bang: Oh my God! What happens if you let the train go and there’s no one inside?
Me:  Then it’ll go too fast and it’ll crash.
Bang: No. Not like just too fast….Is there buttons in trains?
Me: Yeah.
Bang: Why do trains talk?
Me: Just the Thomas trains talk.
Bang: Why?
Me: Because it’s a cartoon.
Bang: Why do our trains talk?
Me: What do they say?
Bang: Hello Gordon!
Me: Okay. Time to roll over and go to sleep.
Bang: How else can they get in trouble?
Me: I’ll answer all your questions in the morning.
Bang: I know that cars can speed.
Me: Mm hmm
Bang: *spells something in a whisper then growls to clear his throat*

One minute and 7 seconds of silence later…

Bang: I need to pee…

This was an 11 minute conversation. I recorded it on my cell phone so I was able to transcribe it verbatim. This is a nightly occurrence. After writing it all out I have discovered something interesting. You can see he’s full of life in the beginning. Animated. Long sentences. More complicated questions. Then towards the end his sentence start getting shorter and his questions aren’t as in depth. You see sleep taking over.

He was asleep just minutes after his pee break.



Go Ask Your Father: Math, Knowing, Crab Apples, Gender Switching

We did it. We re-recorded the boys answers to yesterday blog questions after school. Their answers were slightly different this time. I’ll leave the video at the bottom of this post for an extra laugh. Happy Weekend y’all!

We are coming into the homestretch of Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s on Monday. We’ve got a three day weekend! I’ve got four because I’m that good. Actually, it’s because I didn’t get booked to substitute today. I managed to get four subbing days this week, though. So now I’m left at home alone to blog and clean and listen to Dispatch and O.A.R. really loud so I can sing really loud without hearing myself.

Can I do math?

Crash has been practicing his multiplication facts. He’s slowly getting better. We’re up to 4’s now. Bang sees it as homework and he doesn’t want big bub to have homework without him. “Can I do math, too?” he’ll ask.

Of course you can buddy.

So I write out some addition and subtraction problems for him. He’ll sit for a half hour or more working solving his problems. Before we left for church last Sunday he asked if he could take math with him.

Of course you can buddy.

He sat on the kneeler with his math on the pew and worked his little brain for close to 45 minutes. It was by far the quietest he’s ever been.

Not like the time the church got silent and he says quite loudly while holding a hymnal, “This book sucks” because he misunderstood the meaning of sucks.

Did you know?

This is Crash’s latest phrase. 99.9999% of the time it’s proceeded by a Minecraft fact. Rain kills Endermen. When a pig is struck by lightning it turns into a  zombie pigman. You can make obsidian by pouring water on lava. That kind of stuff. That game is way more complicated than it’s 8 bit graphics. I’ve been playing (so that when he comes out with a “did you know” I can tell him, “Yes, I knew that.” My houses are just large boxes. But I just learned to put a lava beacon on top of it. It’s a tall tower with lava flowing down it. I’m trying to figure out how to make a hidden staircase.

Did you know some people have too much time on their hands?

Can you eat crab apples?

Some people make crab apple jam. We have a crab apple tree in front of our house (I’d LOVE to replace it with a Maple) Those buggers are sour. Good luck horking one those things down. You can. They won’t hurt you. They’re not poisonous, my dear Sleeping Beauty. Perhaps if you eat too many at once you’ll end up with a stomach ache. Kinda like if you eat that whole container of candy corn. Did you see the recipe for candy corn on the cob?


Can boys change to girls?

This sprouted from another bedtime talk with Bang. He’s giving us a run for our money with questions these days. From babies in bellies to the origins of life and now this. Of course I told him that boys can change to girls, but it requires special surgeries. He wanted to know what the surgery was called, but at the time I didn’t know.

Now I know this gender switch is called a “sex reassignment surgery”. It’s usually undergone by someone who is one gender physically but identifies themselves as the other. We did not get into the topic of being transgender. Just knowing that boys can change and that it requires surgery was enough to satisfy his curious mind.


Shh… It’s Quiet Here

It’s 8:35. It’s dark outside and has been for an hour and half. I’ve sat down at my computer no less than ten times today. I have two ideas for really neat posts, but they take time. The work is in progress. I had nothing for today. Every time I would sit and try to write I would 

  • read other blogs instead
  • wash dishes
  • paint the hallway
  • walk to the grocery store for peanuts for the crows and blue jays (and damn pigeons and a seagull) (more on that later)
  • go for a 5 mile run
  • email my parents (thanks ma and pa for writing back!)

So anyway.. about those peanuts… Remember that video I posted of the finches? I hung my GoPro from the bird feeder. It turned out pretty neat. I was impressed anyway. Check it out here if you’re curious. Today I walked to the grocery store for a bag of peanuts, the kind still in the shell. We like to feed the crows and blue jays. But I had alternative motives this time. I was going to catch them on video as I did the finches. 

We have a bird bath that we converted into a bird feeder by filling it with peanuts instead of water.The birds love it. We love watching the birds. I put the peanuts in the feeder and I wasn’t even back in the door yet and the jays were swooping in. Soon enough a pecking order developed. Pigeons ate the nuts that had fallen from the shell. The jays scared the pigeons away. The crows scared the jays away. Then a greedy, bastard seagull flew in and scared the crows away. We stepped in and scared the seagull away. It would eaten EVERYTHING! And I got it all on video…

Fast forward past supper. Crash and his friend were playing some more truth or dare (would you grow up to become a stipper?). Bang and his BFF were in the basement playing. Until they weren’t. They came up and wanted to join in. Crash didn’t want Bang to join. Bang screamed. Bang threw himself on the floor. Bang thew the temper tantrum of the century. 

So I delivered him to his room to cool off.

Shortly after, the friends left because it was 6:30 snack time. Or as the kids think of it, 6:30 show off time. 

Then it was bedtime routine. Or as the kids think it, show off time. They KNOW damn well what they need to do, what I expect them to do, to get ready for bed. Crash has jumped out and scared Bang going up the stairs so many times that Bang will no longer go up by himself. Crash delays bedtime by “not wanting” to brush and floss his teeth. Bang says he “doesn’t know” how to get changed. Meanwhile, I stand there shouting directions like Gunnery Sargent Harmen (Full Metal Jacket). 

The growling has stopped. The littlest one had his nightly poop. The oldest is no longer naked. The books have been read. Night night kisses lovingly delivered. Lights have been turned out. 


Today’s Taboo word was “be”.  To read more posts without the Taboo Word (be) or to join the challenge? Just click the blue frog…

To add the blue frog to your post get the InLinkz code.

Checked out

busted schoolThe end is near.

We have two more days. Then it’s all over until September. Two more days of school. Crash is sick of it and ready for summer. Daylight lasts until after 9:00pm and he’s a night hawk. Unfortunately, he’s also a morning bird. The two do not mix very well. Anyway, from a child who normally enjoys school woke up this morning with the phrase “I don’t want to go to school.”

I wanted to tell him neither do his teachers. Instead, I bit my tongue and told him there are only two more days and one of those days is a field trip. A cool science field trip at that. And I get to tag along as a chaperone!

Nevertheless, it’s the end of the school year. The kids think they have no more to learn so they have no desire to be in school. Of course, it tough to be the teacher trying to teach kids who a) think they’re done learning and b) are so ready be home. It’s also tough to be the parent and send your reluctant child to school. Luckily, being teachers, we have the same summer vacation our kids do so there’s no need for day care or baby sitting services. Lucky us.

So the kids have checked out, so to speak. They’re done. No more need of school. Learned all they’re going to learn this year. Unfortunately, there’s still two more days. I will have to kick Crash out the door two more times. Make lunches two more times. But it’s all good. The end is near and then it’s freedom. Free at last! Free at last! Free at last!

But it’s still light! (And other arguments that don’t work)

Anyone with kids has heard it a few million times around this time of year (or in October? if you live in the southern hemisphere). When trying to get your creatures to bed at a decent hour they realize it’s not dark, yet. They don’t have to be taught this argument, they don’t pick it by overhearing it. They just know. “Time to get ready for bed,” I say. “But it’s still light outside!” comes the reply. Then they dawdle and dilly dally and do everything short of running away to try to stay up until it’s dark. Combine that with the warm weather that is finally here and they think they’re on summer vacation! Every night it’s, “Can we have a bonfire?” or “Can I stay up late?” No and no, you have school tomorrow. Then it’s “I’m hungry.” and Crash will try to eat us of house and home in order to stay up. He’s not hungry, he just doesn’t want to go to bed!

“But the neighbors are still outside,” is another one that doesn’t work. I’m not the neighbor’s parent, so if they’re still outside that’s fine by me. But it’s time for you to come in to get ready for bed so you can get up at 6 am for no apparent reason. “But I’ll hear them outside and I won’t be able to get to sleep.” Good one bud. But your window will be closed, your air purifier will be on as will be your fan. You won’t hear them.

“But everyone else has one.” Nice try. We haven’t given in to the Minecraft craze, yet. Crash has almost broken us a few times, though. Once, we told if he cleaned up the toys in the basement he could get it. He went to the basement for a couple hours, but nothing got picked up. So we didn’t have to get it then. He received money for his first communion and asked if he could get Minecraft. We told him okay, but there would be limitations to it It’s a never ending game that he would, no doubt, waste hours and hours upon. However, he ended up forgetting about it and asked to go to Wal-Mart and got Legos instead. It doesn’t matter to me what everyone else has or does, it’s what’s best for him.

So many arguments, so little time. It’s Friday which means he’ll be asking to stay up late, just as he has every day this week. Chances are good I’ll let him tonight. The Orioles play the Rays tonight so I’ll let him stay up to watch some of it while we put his new Lego set together again. (I put it together a couple nights ago but Bang destroyed it in one of his fits of frustration)

Are there any arguments you have repeatedly? How do you respond?

B is for Bedtime

BYesterday I wrote about getting some action. Today, B is for bedtime. I love to get me some after bedtime. Some peace and quiet that is.

Bedtime. Ahhh, peace and quiet at last. Sweet baby Jesus, I never thought it could be so quiet in the house with 2 boys (well, 3 if you include myself). I know. I know. I know. Sometimes I don’t help bring the noise level down. We like to run and chase and scare and shoot Nerf darts and throw indoor snowballs and play kickity kick ball in the hallway. And the music? If you can’t hear it from the other side of the mountain it’s obviously not loud enough for the dance party! The loud peels of laughter coming from bathroom are a joy- even if it does mean there will be water coming from under the bathroom door when I go up the stairs to get them out.

Those are the fun times. However, sometimes the noise level is equal to that of a herd of jumbo jets and is not so pleasant. Bang has a screech that I presume is what a pterodactyl sounded like 150 million years ago. It’s just for show, too. If he doesn’t get his way, or Crash is tormenting him or an ad pops up on the tablet out comes the screech. If he doesn’t outgrow it by the time he turns 4 in June, we might just lose our minds.

But at bedtime… ah sweet relief. There’s no fighting, no screeching, no crankenstein. Messes can be properly cleaned (3 and 7 year olds can clean, just not very thoroughly – like when I asked Crash to clean off the table, he just swiped it all on to the floor.). I can go for my run and regain a little sanity (or I can sit on the couch with DW and eat cheesies and ice cream and indulge in our guilty pleasure a.k.a. The Voice or Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays).

At least once through the day, usually during the height of sibling rivalry, someone can be heard asking “Is it bedtime, yet?” 6:30? Yes, go your bedtime snack, watch your one episode of Bubble Guppies, and go upstairs to read and go to bed! HALLELUJAH!

Once Upon a Bedtime

Crash, the 7 year old knows the bedtime routine. When I ask him what it is he responds with “Yogurt, Pajamas, brush teeth, rinse, pee, get in bed.” And I say “Bingo, you got it.”  But just because he knows what the routine is, doesn’t mean he’ll follow it. He would stay up until midnight if let him. Actually, he was up until 1 am last New Years with us and he still wasn’t ready for bed. Anyway, he tries every trick in the book to delay bedtime. It wears my patience very quickly because I expect him to be autonomous at this point.

Soon enough, I’m fussing at him. I think he likes to be fussed at, though. He tries to get extra screen time not by asking, but simply playing his games in front of us. Sometimes, he ends up losing screen time for the rest of the day. But it doesn’t stop him from trying again the next day.

To get to the point, we fuss at him frequently. I hope it’s just a phase and he’s testing boundaries and that once he finds those boundaries aren’t flexible, he’ll stop. Last night was no different. While I was getting Bang ready for bed in his room, Crash was supposed to be following the routine – minus the yogurt because he’d already eaten. While I was reading Bang his bedtime book, Crash “sneaks” in to listen. I let him, because, well, books are fun.

I directed him back to his routine while I finished Bang’s routine – lotion, inhalers, vitamin E on his lips, and nose blowing (his cold is getting much better). I finished all that and went to check on Crash. Was he ready for bed? Of course not. He had done nothing. He was instead “hiding” on the stairs and was going to attempt to scare me. Then our Parrot, Piper, screeched. She was ready for bed, too.

Crash asked if he could put her bed. I told him no and, naturally, he didn’t like that answer. I told him if he had followed routine and had been ready for bed, then he could have put the bird to bed (change her food and water and cover her cage with a sheet). Now he had to get ready. Fussed at, again.

Finally in bed, all tucked in and books read and lights out and star turtle turned on, I’m feeling (I think DW has similar feelings) like I’ve done nothing but fuss at him since he got home from school. I’m laying there with my eyes closed getting ready to say something to him (our nightly chat) when I feel wet lips on my forehead. “I love you, dad.”

And BOOM, just like that, all of the fussing I’ve done, all of the testing he’s done, suddenly no longer exists. He’s melted his mom like this, before, too. Little bugger. Just when we’re feeling like we haven’t a clue what we’re doing, when we feel like what we are doing isn’t working, he leaves us laying in a puddle of our melted heart.

I snuggle him for a few minutes enjoying the brief moment. Then kiss on his forehead and tell him “Night night, love you buddy. Ugga Mugga, see ya in the morning.”