There has to be a way to make bedtime less torturous. Ella, Louis and Theo's that is - not mine. I can be upstairs, in my pyjamas with nice, clean teeth, an empty bladder and the light off in minutes. I don't mess around and I rarely need a bedtime story. Even getting Jake settled is plain sailing these days.
To say that my three three year olds mess around is the understatement of the year. And I do not deal with it very well at all. It's a horrible way to end the day. None of the picture book moments you'd imagine. Just an old shrew screeching, threatening and occasionally weeping as she falls for the same tricks night after night and finds herself dancing to the merry little tune of three monkeys who are having an absolute bloody blast. I simply don't have the energy to stand up to them. Theo refuses to clean his teeth? I let it go. Louis wants to sleep in his t-shirt and vest? Whatever. Twelve long hours after the day began I am spent and would probably give them a Chunky Kit- Kat and a can of Coke each if I thought it would speed things up a bit.
And they always save the best for last. All finally in their beds, stories read, pull-ups on, dummies at hand and for Mr Louis his duvet postitioned just so, I kiss them goodnight, turn the light off and shut the door.
And then it's last orders. Milk and water. Despite having spent the last hour refusing repeated offers of both they now all seem to have suddenly developed an unquenchable thirst. I dutifully bring up a cup of each and walk around the room back and forth between their beds. Back and forth. In circles. For ages. A sip of milk for Ella and then some water for Louis. Oh and now Ella would like some water and Louis some milk. What's that you say, Theo? Milk and water? It's the part of the evening that very nearly breaks me. And don't they know it.
I must look so unpleasant to the three of them. Scowling and pinched. Even the very last kisses and cuddles aren't given with much genuine warmth by this point.
We're learning 'Proud' at choir this term. It's a great song to sing. Truly uplifting. (Even if it is virtually impossible to get Miranda's version out of my head) But as I gave it my all at last week's rehearsal and attempted to put some real emotion into the words I felt a bit sick as we all hit the chorus. 'What have you done today to make you feel proud?' Er, not much. Just moaned and nagged and didn't appreciate for a single minute how incredibly bloody lucky I am to share my world with these three. I just wish they'd cut me the tiniest bit of slack at bedtime...