It seems to be universal law: When mom and dad are about ready to punch the time clock for the night and put their feet up, the "fun" really ramps up. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about: Bedtime. It is instinctual in most kids... mom and dad want to call it a day, so we're gonna start bouncing off the walls. Or something like that, anyway!
Tonight was no different for us, except that it was a "mom only" night. It is a Saturday night after a long day of outside play, so the girls were thrown into the shower for some scrubbing. After the shower it was already 8:04 pm, meaning we needed to abandon our typical bedtime routine and head straight to bed. Enter craziness.
***For anyone who is interested, I love using a visual routine for rough times of the day such as bedtime! Sometime I'll post about it, but basically I have a laminated piece of paper with pictures for each part of our bedtime routine, ending with SLEEP. The girls really like to follow it, and often will correct me if we get out of order (like tonight).***
After going potty, I instructed Eva and Hope to go straight to Eva's bed for prayers. But heading into the hallway I heard an imperative whisper, "Hope! Jump on my bed!"
Next thing you know, Hope and Eva are jumping on the bed, and literally bouncing off the walls. Not the end of the world (right?), except that Esther is laying on the bed and has already been kicked in the face by Hope's flying feet. I swooped in, taking swift action by spanking Hope for jumping on Esther's face and hurting her sister. Eva's instructions were to sit quietly on the bed and play with Esther, keeping her happy.
As we were wrapping up the discipline time in the living room, Eva came creeping in. She knew she was up next for a spanking since she was the instigator of such evil entertainment. To tell you the truth though, I had already decided to grant her mercy. As soon as she saw Esther's face getting smashed, her eyes had welled up with tears. She knew it had been a bad plan and felt immediate remorse. Also, it was already past their bedtime and I didn't want to drag out another spanking (trying to decide if I'm lazy or practical, or neither).
Anyway, Eva and I had a quick talk about encouraging her sister to do naughty things and how that is not being kind or loving. Apparently she had been giving all of this some thought while she was sitting with Esther. At once she suggested, "Let's make up a rhyme to remember."
With guarded optimism, I said, "That sounds good."
Immediately, "Stop, Think, Don't be wild."
"Hmmm" I ventured, "What about, 'Be kind to your sister, don't be a trickster"? (Yes, that really was my first neural firing.)
But she didn't like it. She rewarded me with an admiring smile, but said "No, I think "Stop, Think, Don't be wild."
So, it was decided. Eva had a "rhyme" to live by. A mantra, a motto, if you will.
A minute later, we were back on the bed for prayers. You would think that a good hard spanking and debriefing time would have mellowed Hope a bit. Not tonight. She was trying to crawl under the bed. Then she was loudly counting to 26 (I didn't know she had that skill before tonight), followed by trying to hide under the covers. And through it all, the older and wiser voice of reason:
"Hope. No, Hope. Hope! Stop, Think, Don't be wild! Really Hope. Stop! Think! Don't be wild!"
The first book of Eva, verse 1: Stop, Think, Don't be wild. I hope we've found a new universal law.