Bedtime has always been a hairy situation in the Brown household.
From the time Jamie and I brought home a bouncing baby boy named Lars, up until this exact moment as I type on my computer and I hear the not so distant cries of wee Sophie, who is refusing to shut her eyes and be admitted into her night-time dreamscapes.
Lars didn’t become a good sleeper until he was about…Well who am I kidding?
He still crawls into my bed at least 3 times a week, deciding that his forty winks would be especially comfy atop my outstretched legs.
Me, waking up with a leg cramp that trounces any leg cramp I’ve ever had and him becoming agitated when I awake his highness, by trying to work out my throbbing calf.
And as difficult as it is to wake up like that in the middle of the night, I would still prefer it to Sophie’s bedtime hitches.
My dear little girl will sleep like a log once she is out, but the problem is getting her to that point.
“I can’t sleep” (really dragging on the ‘eep’ part) is her nightly slogan and she stands by that motto with valour.
This night, as I reflect I realize that I have made a mistake. A big one.
One that will follow me for days, possibly even a week or so — and it will linger in the shadows of every bedtime endeavour.
In a pathetic attempt to get the two to just go to sleep, I allowed them to have a sleepover in Lars’ room.
We have a playpen in Lars’ room for when the kids’ cousin Hannah comes over and Sophie has decided that she too would like to take a spin in the thing for the night.
It is only moments after I tuck my little lady into the crib, all padded up with pillows aplenty and I stifle a laugh at my 3-year-old cuddled into something meant for an infant, that I hear the squeal.
“Larsy, I need to go pee.” Sophie screams at the highest, most bothersome pitch I have ever heard her vocalize. I jump up from my chair, and begin to make my way down the hallway towards her.
I assume she cannot get out of the high walled structure by herself and I sure do not want to be cleaning up a pee-peed playpen this evening.
But as fast as I move, Lars moves faster and when I reach his bedroom door I see a sight that would make most laugh — but unfortunately at that moment, I wasn’t in a laughing mood.
There is Lars in his plaid flannel PJs perched at the bottom of his bed, hands hung over the side of his mattress reaching into the cage in which his sister is stuck and attempting to pull her out.
The girl grasps his hands and starts ferociously digging her little toes into the side of the mesh walled pen in a vain crack at walking up it.
All the while Lars is yelling, “Come on Soph, you can do it! Don’t pee on my bed okay!?”
After watching the spectacle a little longer than I probably should have, simply because of the odd and unusual train wreck-like trance it seemed to put me in, I march over, pick her up and bring her to the bathroom.
She does her business and I do make note of congratulating her on using the potty, because despite how annoyed I am with them about this bedtime debacle, the little milestones cannot go unnoticed. But instead of putting her back in her brother’s room, I place her in her own.
This is where the real revolt begins. Now for the last half hour they have been pleading with me from their bedrooms to get another stab at their sleepover. I have given them a taste of the greatness that is sharing a room with someone, someone to whisper quietly to and know is there in the middle of the night when the imaginary monsters lurk nearby.
Now they won’t give the idea up. And eventually I give in. My reasoning is twofold, one is that Lars does not have school tomorrow, so if a little fatigued I will be the only one with the repercussions and two, I can remember how awesome sleepovers are (even if it is just with your sibling).
So I let it lie, and for the next hour or so just listen from afar to their gentle murmurs to one another.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.