A Bad Bedtime

Sometimes everyone is happy and getting along well ... and sometimes (like at bedtime after a long day) we're not

Sometimes everyone is happy and getting along well … and sometimes (like at bedtime after a long day) we’re not

Recipe for a Difficult Evening:

Take 1 cup of overtired almost 7-year-old boy who has kept it together at school all day.

Combine with 1 cup of 9-and-a-half-year-old girl who has homework to do that does not interest her.

Stir in 1 11-month-old baby who has only napped for 20 minutes all day.

Add 1/4 cup of 11-year-old who does not feel like emptying her lunchbox.

Mix these ingredients with 1 insomniac mom who has been up since 5:30 a.m. and has not been able to concentrate all day because her brain feels like overcooked peas.

Do not add even one pinch of the reasonable, kind, patient dad. He is out filling growlers with beer and picking up raw milk for a neighbor to make yogurt.

Stir well. The ingredients will not blend.

They will say unkind words to each other. The baby will sob and then fall asleep. The 6-year-old will freak out about sponging the table and will throw the plates onto the counter by the sink. The mother will lose her temper.

Words like, “You never help me with anything,” and “I don’t need this crap,” and “You are stupid and I hate you,” and “You are stupid too,” and “Fine, I’m going to wet my bed then!” and “You aren’t going to have a birthday party if you keep acting this way” will be exchanged. Hugs will be in short supply.

You know the dish is cooked when your stomach hurts, your conscience tells you you really screwed that bedtime up, and the guilt is so palpable you can feel it circulating in your bloodstream.

The 6-year-old will finally pull the covers over his head and go to sleep. The 9-year-old will finish her homework. The 11-year-old will unpack her lunchbox. The husband will come home with locally brewed beer and sympathy.

In the morning the sun shines. You tickle your 6-year-old by playing him like a banjo. He puts his arms around you, pulls your face down to his, and tells you he loves you.

This new morning calls for new recipes. You’ll make cornbread and granola, eating them warm right out of the oven.

Related posts:
7 Strange Things I do in the Kitchen
Bad Mommy Moments
On Raising a Reluctant Reader
Some Thoughts on Bedwetting


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