Category Archives: bedtime

The Night Time

As you may already know, one of my essays was published at Mamalode last week.  It’s called “The Meaning Of No,” and it’s about the repetitive battles we have with our kids over the (four letter) word “no.”

It’s my first big effort to get my work seen by a larger and influential audience, and I’m super excited about the potential for future writing opportunities.  You can read the essay and like it and share it and comment on it and do a happy dance about it –> HERE <–.

Coincidentally, the theme of bedtime in our house is “No.”

No, I will not sleep in your bed with you.

No, you cannot sleep in my bed.

No, you cannot fall asleep on the couch.

We have this one amazing, talented, expert sleeper of a kid.  He goes to sleep when he’s tired.  He uses technology in bed, but he shuts it off when he’s ready to close his eyes.  He sleeps ALL night long IN his bed with the lights OFF, and when he wakes up in the morning, he brushes his teeth before coming into the kitchen to say cheerily, “Good morning!”

Then there’s the other kid.  The one who makes us feel bat s—t crazy at the end of the night when we have nothing left to give and just want to watch “Modern Family” and eat Chinese food, for Pete’s sake!  He’s the squishy little one who we transfer again and again night after night from the couch to his bed and from our bed to his bed only to have him return again.  And again.  And again.

We try. We really do.  We’ve done charts and stickers and rewards and punishments, and we’ve had some successes along the way.  But here’s the thing.  This squishy kid – who’s becoming less and less squishy, by the way – has been sucking the oxygen out of the room at bedtime since the day he was born.

Speaking of getting all of the attention, this adorable bedtime menace of ours has written a book.  Whereas I have ventured into the world of publishing cautiously and slowly with one essay, he has singlehandedly written, illustrated, and self-published a book.  He did the whole thing in less than fifteen minutes and he even used the stapler by himself. (Show-off.)

The book is called “The Night Time: Riley Is Night Book,” and it explains a lot.


“The Night Time: Riley Is Night Book”


“Night was scary.”


“It was scary.”


“They sneaked out of there room.”

That’s the end of Riley’s book, but it’s definitely not the end of “The Night Time” in our house.  Alas, that story is to be continued…

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Filed under bedtime, book, parenting

Because I Do Awesome Things


It started when I said, “Dylan, the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you’ll be seven!”

Last night was the last night he would be six. Ever.

“Shut the light off!” he said immediately, but not before telling me and Riley that he would live to be 350.

“That’s really old, ” I said.

“No,” he said, “I mean 1,000!”

“I hope I live that long, too,” I said, “but that’s really, really old.”

“Will Dylan be in people heaven when he’s 1,000?” Riley interjected.  “I’ll miss him,” he said quietly.

For a split second, I wondered what to say.  I quickly realized I had no idea what to say, so I said, “Yes, but we’ll all be in people heaven in 1,000 years.  We’ll all be together.”  Then I tried to finish the conversation, because I meant to talk about Dylan’s birthday but ended up talking about death.  Of course.

“Okay, Dylan McMillan McSchmillan, go to sleep so you can turn seven.  I love you.  Good night.”

I turned off the light.  Dylan’s head hit his pillow, and Riley walked down the hall and climbed into my bed.  That’s the way bedtime rolls in our house.  Riley climbs into my bed and falls instantly asleep only to be moved back to his bed either by Mike (if he’s working late) or me.   The boy cannot-will-not-refuses to fall asleep in his own bed, but let’s ignore the dysfunction otherwise known as bedtime in my house, because that’s not what this post is about.

Before Riley closed his eyes, he had a few more questions about death and dying.  Of course.

“Mommy, will I go to people heaven someday?”

Crap.  “Yes, but it will be a long, long, long, long, long time from now.”

I saw his face turning sad.  “I’ll go to people heaven someday, too, and we’ll be there together.  And do you know what, we’ll get to see Harry.  Because dogs in dog heaven visit people in people heaven.”

“I miss Harry,” he said.

“Me, too.  I miss him every minute of the day, but do you remember where we carry people we love?” I asked.

“In our hearts,” he said.

“Right.  So, even though I can’t see Harry anymore, he’s in my heart.  I feel him and all of the people I love in my heart.  He’s in your heart, too.  Do you know what?”

“What?” he asked.

“Sometimes when you’re at school, I think about you and I miss you, and then I feel you in my heart, because I love you, and then I feel better,” I said.

“And Grandma and Grandpa?  Are they in my heart?”

“Yup.  Both Grandmas and both Grandpas.  Even when Daddy is at the office, we feel him in our hearts.  Everyone we love – whether they’re in heaven or here on Earth – is in our hearts.  Your heart, my heart, Dylan’s heart, Daddy’s heart, Harry’s heart…”

I rubbed his chest where his heart is, and we named all of the people he loves.  It took a while.

“Go to sleep, Monkey.  It’s late.”  I said.



“Are you in your heart?”

And all of a sudden, we weren’t talking about the people we love.  We were talking about loving ourselves.  My little boy wanted to know if I loved myself.  I paused.  I laughed nervously.  I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.  What was it about that simple question that was so hard to answer?  I wasn’t sure if I believed what I was about to say anymore than I was sure about everything I said about death and dying and heaven, but I said it anyways.  “Yes, I’m in my heart.”

I felt awkward.  I felt afraid.  I felt confused for not knowing for sure.

“Riley, are you in your heart?”

Without hesitation he said, “Yes.”

“Why are you in your heart, Riley?”  Maybe his answer would help me figure out mine.

His response was, “Because I do awesome things.”

I chuckled.  “You’re right, Monkey.  You do awesome things all the time.  Now go to sleep.”

I hope he feels that way until he’s 1,000 years old.

p.s.  Happy 7th Birthday, Dylan.  You do awesome things, too.

Are you in your heart?


Filed under bedtime, birthday, death, grandparents, guilt, Harry, heaven, Uncategorized