So our town had a circus/carnival thingy today, the purpose of which was to raise money for math text books for the school. Despite the fact that we’ve already been to one circus this year, and I’m not exactly a lover of this type of thing, I thought we should go. Text books are a nice thing to have, and besides, the boys might enjoy it.
Perhaps 4:30 on a Monday afternoon is not an ideal time to attempt a sit-down event such as this. Attention spans (theirs and mine) were not as long as they could have been, and there was just entirely too much fidgeting and roughhousing for my taste. I’m definitely thinking the snow cone was a bad idea.
When intermission came, we went out for a stroll around the grounds, rode some rides, played some games, and snuck the heck out of there. I don’t know if the boys realized there was a second half to the show, but they didn’t give me an argument when I suggested we leave. Whew.
So that was our afternoon circus. Our evening circus is more of a daily affair. Every night, the boys climb in to bed, wound up and bouncing off the walls. I try to be all sweet, calming, and lovey at bedtime. I give them hugs and kisses, I coo softly at them, I remind them gently that I’d like them to go to sleep quickly and quietly tonight. I’m all about calmness and soothing sounds. Sometimes that works for a while, but most times before I have even left the room, I find myself yelling, “just be quiet, lay down, and GO TO SLEEP!” Not the nicest sendoff for the night, but what am I left with when the sweet and gentle approach is ineffective?
Tonight I started what I hoped would be a nice, calming bedtime event: reading a chapter from a classic children’s book. I picked up Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle from the library, and read them the first chapter. Eamonn, who is usually the instigator of bedtime hijinks, surprised me by snuggling into me right away and reading along silently to himself. Upon finishing chapter one, I was hoping they would just melt into their pillows and go to sleep. No such luck. Eamonn was up and bouncing around the room the second I closed the book.
Argh! Maybe I need to read more chapters. Maybe they didn’t get enough quiet time to really make a difference. I’m going to explore that idea tomorrow night, (and read until their little eyelids can no longer hold themselves up, darnit!) but in the meantime, if any of you have been there and have a strategy or two for helping energetic children settle down before bed, I’d love to hear them. It’s now two hours since I put them to bed, and I’ve been upstairs to tell them to quit playing games and go to sleep as recently as 10 minutes ago. I hate having to yell at them every night – there has got to be a better way.
Any ideas? School officially ends on Wednesday, and the start of summer seems like a perfect excuse for rethinking the bedtime routine.