I've recently been trying to get our household on more of a schedule. Specifically to be more consistent and help make getting two kids to bed easier. I made the schedule sort of a rough estimate. 5 is dinner, 6 is cleanup and play, 7 is pajamas and 8 is bed.
My husband finds the schedule amusing. Mostly because it gives him new fodder for jokes. Such as telling the kids they only have six minutes left to eat or he'll have to throw their food in the trash because the schedule says so. He also called me up at work last week at 5:10 wanting to know how the hell I would be feeding the kids at 5 when I was still sitting at my desk at work.
First of all, did anyone notice he thinks I should be the one to feed them at 5? Let's just gloss over that madness before I have to use the words "grown man." Second, the schedule is supposed to be more of an hour long window of opportunity to shoot for rather than exact times. I'd be happy if the feeding of the kids took place anywhere between 5 and 6. My goal is mainly to make the lead up to bedtime less rushed. I also liked the idea of a set time for clean up with play time when we're finished to motivate everyone.
We've been doing it for a week now. The kids like it. It keeps me on track. And I'm thinking it helps the house run more smoothly. Half the time the newest 4 year old announces to me when it's time for the next activity. I love that. She and I even made a handy dandy sign with novice artwork created by my own two hands and taped it over the clock on the microwave for easy reference:
Tonight, however, even the handy dandy sign couldn't stop my downward spiral into botched bedtime. I though I was doing pretty well when I had them in pajamas with clean teeth at 7:45. We read books and did some cuddling and just as I'm preparing to route them to their beds the newest 4 year old starts itching her head repeatedly. Being overly paranoid and mildly delusional, I felt obligated to shove her head under a lamp and do a quick lice check. Then I agreed to delay her bedtime to let her wash her hair. Because the kid hates washing her hair. When she announces she's willing, I'm game.
While I was turning the bath water on for her, our 2 year old gets his leftover mac & cheese off the kitchen counter and wanders into the bathroom eating it. Figuring this is a sign he's hungry, because I'm smart like that, I decide to let him finish while I scrub his sister's hair.
The rat's nest took 3 good washes. While she was wringing her hair out, I turned away to brush her brother's teeth again. Then the 4 year old announces that she needs to get out of the tub immediately or a nuclear winter will commence. So I turn and let the water out and the 2 year old spills an entire cup of water down the front of his shirt. I head off to put a new shirt on him and suddenly there's no water left in the bathtub and the 4 year old is shivering.
I find her a towel and dry her hair and the 2 year old disappears down the hall. I track the 2 year old down under the dining room table and carry him to his room. We do an immediate U-turn to begin ransacking the house for the blankie he can't sleep without. Then there's rocking, singing and a million and one kisses. Then the 4 year old needs water. Then the 2 year is annoyed at life. Then the 4 year old wants her bathroom door open an extra 1/8 of an inch. Then the 2 year old is still annoyed at life.
I didn't seal the deal on bedtime until 8:48. And my husband wonders why I need to start at 7. Seriously. One thing after another.