Parents enjoy life after kids’ bedtime

Guess what kids, it’s true. All the really good stuff DOES happen after you’ve gone to bed.

Until recently, my husband and I were shamefully unaware of this fact.

That all changed when we discovered what other parents had been holding out on us for far too long: the righteous order of the 8 o’clock bedtime.

Bedtime. I’m assuming that there are some of you out there for whom this has been obvious all along.

Until recently I counted myself among the uninitiated. I had no idea how glorious an 8 o’clock bedtime could be (for children anyway.)

I myself sometimes managed to stay awake all the way until 9:30. Meaning: I generally fell into bed, exhausted, moments after the children.

Nonetheless, following much discussion of the fact that children probably should NOT need to be physically blasted from their beds each morning, my husband and I decided that the time had come to impose more order around the castle.

Meaning that we, benign dictators that we are, decided that little children living under our roof (oh, how I have longed to use the “while you live under MY roof!” line all these years) should go to bed before we do.

The children, on the other hand, begged to differ with this wholly unprecedented and purely crazy notion. Beg being the operative word here.

Routine. Undaunted, we undertook a routine of bath, books, and bed and, within a week, somehow wore them down to accept the new world order of the 8 o’clock bedtime.

Thus, we reconvened in the living room at 8:05 p.m. on the dot, Mr. Right and I.

Alone time. Alone. Just the two of us. Without need to fetch “just one more” glass of water. No need to read “Clifford the Big Red Dog Saves the something from the something or other” one more time.

No just one more of anything! Oh the bliss. Oh the joy! Oh the untold wonders of an uninterrupted conversation with your spouse!

The wonder of it all carried us blissfully all the way to 8:10.

Slightly deflated, we valiantly attempted to discuss recent books we might have read.

We quickly ascertained that no matter what Sam-I-Am might say, we would not eat green eggs and ham. We would not eat them on a plane, on a train, in a house, or with a mouse.

So now what? Oh, sweet wonder. There was a whole, vast world of untapped free time turned “me time” to squander as we saw fit. We just had to get a bit more creative – and none of this catching up on housework or returning telephone calls either.

Bliss. What do we do after the kids are in bed? Oh, so many wonderful things!

Kids out there, do you ever wonder where that premium chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream you swear you saw mom put in the cart went?

You can never find it at home, after all. It went right into parental mouths dearie.

Furthermore, let me assure you they ate it ON THE SOFA, with their feet on the coffee table, sometimes straight from the carton with a spoon.

Parents also indulge in perusing ALL the TV channels (not just those devoted to 24 hour cartoons). Did you know that there are even channels with – dare I say it – grown up, non-animated adventures.

Trust me, when you are older you too will thrill to the highs and lows of Antiques Roadshow.

Excitement. Adding to the excitement, we pop popcorn, yack on the telephone, wander around in our jammies, and generally behave like, well, childless people.

The other night, my dear husband narrowly missed detection when an intruder from the upper limits breached our blessed sanctuary and reappeared at the bottom of the stairs far past bedtime.

Our wandering 7 year old was deeply suspicious of the smell of popcorn he thought he detected faint in the air. There stood my husband, nearly caught red handed (buttery handed?) inches from discovery.

As he balanced precariously, caught mid-step, just beyond the shadows of the kitchen doorway like a common thief – we realized how we had come to adore these post-bedtime hours.

Why, it almost makes us want to stock up on extra ice cream and send the kids to bed at 7, unless you think 6:30 might be better.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is sticking to that bedtime. Visit her online at http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseaboltor write P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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