Thursday, July 03, 2008

Disappearing Act

Her head lifts momentarily from the crook of my elbow to adjust her position. Pieces of blonde hair stick to my arm like Velcro, slowly peeling away from my skin as if they were one with it.

I look down at her, asleep finally, and admit to myself that yet again, I have failed my kids in the going-to-bed-at-a-reasonable-hour department.

Wyatt is in a sleeping bag on the floor behind the couch, so he can be near me.

Katie is splayed out on top of me, sticky and sweaty and I did not wash her hands nor her face before sticking my time card in the slot marked "OUT" and calling it a night in the house of one parent. I can see the dirt under her fingernails from her late night bike riding and sidewalk chalking.

McRae, well, at least 1 out of 3 ain't bad. He's sacked out with the dog in his own room. Snoring. Just like his father. Sigh.

I remove her from my elbow, hoist her body up so that I can cradle all of her, and walk quietly up to her room where a haphazardly thrown Strawberry Shortcake blanket is waiting to cover her for the rest of the night.

It is 11:43.

I rustle the sleeping bag containing son #2, and with all my will and every last patient bone in my body, wake him and guide him back to his own room. "You will not be alone up here, your sister is in her room and I'll be up in a minute . . . after I do the dishes."

I know staying up to watch the lightening was a rare thing for us. The lightening part, not the staying up late part. It seems like the summer nights have suddenly sprung into overdrive and because of the heat, because we are all enjoying each other, because of a million different things - including the fact that I've grown lazy at looking at the clock - these kids of mine are staying up way too late.

And I wonder why someone has difficulty at bedtime. Could it be because bedtime has disappeared from our lives and instead in it's place is a 'whatever' attitude that simply does not work?

period.

16 comments:

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Glad you posted this! Mine have been staying up too late too!
And the worst part is I don't push it that much because I know they will sleep in.
I am in trouble come late August!

phil said...

There is nothing like the feeling of all of your kids sleeping around you. Nothing matches being able to watch their sleeping faces as they dream. June, and July are for staying up late, and then falling asleep suddenly where ever you happen to be. August is the time to start controlling the sleep. Enjoy this.

Namaste.

Christy said...

Summers seem to be like that for us too. It's harder because you don't have the structure of a school schedule, and here in Cinci it's light until 9:30pm! I don't like the kids staying up so late, b/c it means I stay up much later than I would like...I don't mind them sleeping in a bit in the morning though!

Beth said...

My husband keeps using the reason that it's summer, they can stay up late. You know what, it's me that has to deal with them in the morning though...

Kyla said...

Honestly, we've done away with official bedtime this summer, too. BubTar used to be 8:30 on the dot during the school year, but now we let him stay up until 9 and then having reading time. He usually passes out on his own before we ever say "Lights out!" and I think it is okay. It is nice to enjoy the relaxed boundaries of summer.

GoteeMan said...

Carrie - You aren't doing them harm... and you aren't a bad parent... It's a tough job doing it alone when a spouse is out of town or, in my case, fully disabled...

I've been doing pretty much the same things you have - every summer for the past 6 years. In fact, now mine are 9 and 12, and both stay up most nights through the summer til around midnight, and on weekends, even later - often lying down to watch a movie for the last hour or two...

and you know what? They are well adjusted, confident, loving, wonderful boys...

Don't be so hard on yourself, unless you think I am a deluded enabler - in which case, ignore me and continue...

=)
J/

GoteeMan said...

P.S. Some of my favorite memories as a very young kid were of staying up late and falling asleep laying in mom's lap...

where my parents screwed up was in putting me to bed in a dark room next door to the living room at some friends of theirs' house, while they watched "The Exorcist", with the volume loud enough for me to catch just about all of it. My imagination was a hell of a lot worse than the movie...

and yes, miraculously, I think I turned out OK...

try to relax and enjoy this time of life with them, and the quiet times after they fall asleep. They grow up so fast, and one of the most wonderful things is watching them sleep when they are small...

Blessings -
J/

mommastantrum said...

We just talked about this in the car last night on the way home (at midnight) from a concert. How lazy we have been about getting Bacon to bed at a reasonable hour...fortunately our problem has less to do with getting him to bed, and more about being consistent with a routine. I decided to take the Scarlet O'Hara approach, "I won't think about it today, I'll think about it tomorrow." Tomorrow of course being August, right before he has to go back to school!

Kristin said...

We're the same... Eva is being raised as though she is a 10 year old and the boys are suddenly staying up later than I...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I never minded the staying up late for the ones that would sleep in. It was the up at 6 a.m. no matter what time I went to bed boy that drove me nuts!

Carol said...

I hope if they stay up late they wake up late too and that you get a blissful lie in each day.

Aren't enjoying late nights what summer is all about. I know in 6 months I'll be wanting to go to bed at 5pm because winter is truly depressing.

flutter said...

I am thinking I need to establish a bed time for my fiance. Just sayin'

Our Crooked Tree said...

we have bedtimes but summer is a treat and deserves so wiggle room. Besides, one day you will look back on this and wish they would stay up late with you ☺

mamikaze said...

I have been ignoring the clock, too. Dinner is later, they play in the pool at night. We just roll with it. Not such a good thing when your 3 yr-old has summer school with a bus pick-up at 7:52 a.m.

It's not like I can get them to sleep before dark. They laugh at my attempts to put them to bed a their usual time (7:00) because the sun is shining into their room. They sit up and play in their room, so why not let 'em do it outside?

:shrug: I don't know.

Kimmylyn said...

I have to say that this summer has been the biggest challenge so far with my oldest and bedtime. There is a battle nightly. Let me know what works okay? :)

Millicent said...

Good words.