7pm or bust, baby

I’ve stated before that I tend to be rather rigid when it comes to my children’s sleep routines.  I’ve progressed (slowly) to the point where I make exceptions (on weekends) for fun events, trips, or parties to their pretty standard 7pm bedtime.  Not that they always fall asleep at 7pm, of course, but by 7pm we are almost always in pajamas, snuggled up reading.  Sometimes, if they are tired, they will be asleep by 7:15, other nights they have been known to read in bed until 8.  Either way works, and they are pretty good about self-regulating their own sleep needs.  People laugh (hard) at me when I say that my 2nd grader goes to bed a 7, but the child then sleeps until 7:30, 7:45 most days.  He clearly needs the sleep.  And those who know him well can tell INSTANTLY when he is sleep deprived.

Against my better judgment this year, I signed C up for an activity at the library once a week that runs until 8pm.  It starts at 6, and I struck a deal with him that he could go, as long as we were out of the library and back home no later than 7:15, which of course really means 7:30.  And the day after said activity have been rough to date, but manageable, so I have allowed said activity to continue.  And then, last night, I had to be at A’s school at 7pm.  So I requested the assistance of a friend whose child also attends the activity that is scheduled way to late in the day for my taste, and she happily agreed to shuttle C home with her son.  Lovely.  Except when I arrived home at 8:20, he had just walked in the door.  And by the time C was asleep, it was TWO HOURS after his bedtime.

I didn’t freak out, much.  I shrugged and said “We will recover from this.  LOTS of 2nd graders go to bed at 9pm, this is SO not a big deal, it will prove me wrong once and for all and we will move on from my obsession with bedtimes.”  I patted myself on the back and declared myself cured.  At 8:10 this morning, I dragged C out of bed, threw clothes on him and handed him an English muffin, banana, and cheese slice to eat in the car on the five minute drive to school.  He cried from the moment I woke him up to the moment I dropped him off.  I happily went about my day, proud that I had finally overcome my fear of an altered bedtime schedule and confident that he would arrive home and prove that we had finally moved to a happy bedtime place.  I picked him up from school at 3pm and arrived home five minutes later to find a message from his teacher requesting a call back.  At which point in time she informed me that C had spent an hour and a half staring at a piece of paper instead of writing five sentences about his favorite sandwich, and then burst into tears and had to be sent to the nurse to calm down.

While I was conferencing with the teacher via phone, C was curled up on the couch crying again and begging to go to bed.  Which couldn’t happen because, hello, he needed to do his homework, plus the extra work assigned by the teacher to try and address the issue of his apparently lack of interest in completing his schoolwork in a timely manner.  Three hours later, I threw up my hands, sent C to bed, poured myself a hefty glass of wine and sent a lovely email to the mothers of C’s friends announcing that our evenings at the library were over.

My GOD, when does it get easier?  And do ya suppose I will ever live down my reputation as a bedtime fanatic?