Saturday, July 20, 2013

When Bedtime Can Fly Out the Window

I remember when I was three or four. I know it had to be then because there were only two of us girls and my sister was really young. My parents, still young 20-somethings, decided it would be an awesome idea to drive to Windsor to watch the fireworks. And why not? We lived in Detroit and the Canadian border was still easily accessible to American citizens. No passport necessary. Just state your business (watching the fireworks and then returning home) and cross the bridge or tunnel to get to the other side. I don't remember much about the fireworks, but then I've seen many displays in my lifetime so it probably makes sense that this event doesn't stick out to me. But I do remember sleeping, or trying to sleep, in the car while my parents slowly made their way back across the border. I know we got home LATE, but I don't believe that I was any the worse for wear for the event. I'm sure I caught up on the sleep I missed and was back to myself in no time.

Yeah, I can be a judger, and this was especially true before I became a parent. But the longer I am a parent the more I let up on judging other parents when they are out in public. Sometimes I believe the judgements are justified, but I'm finding that I am more often than not feeling empathy for parents who are dealing with all sorts of things. I do have to wonder why some parents have their very small children out at places like Walmart at 11 PM any day of the week when their kids should be in bed. But I don't know their circumstances. They could have odd work schedules or their kids could be bad sleepers and they are trying to wear them out or use the "get into the car and drive" trick. There could be many, many reasons, so who am I to be their judge? They are the ones who have to deal with a tired kid the next day, not me.

Last night my husband and I decided to test the boundaries of bedtime when we took our 2 and 4-year-old to the drive in movie theater to watch Turbo and Despicable Me 2. (This wasn't our daughter's first drive-in movie. We took her a couple times when she was a baby, mostly so that we could watch movies. It worked, kind of. I did miss most of Half Blood Prince because our easy going baby who loved sleep decided to scream through the whole movie, but at least we tried.) We made a run to buy our daughter new PJs (all she had were nightgowns which we deemed inappropriate for this outing); bought a Themacell to keep bugs away (it mostly worked); and gathered drinks, sleeping bags, and pillows to put in the bed of the truck once we got there. The kids were free, so our whole family really got in for one very low price and then we set up the bed of the truck for viewing. Once we had PJs on and popcorn ready to go our kids were ready for a first time experience: watching a movie on a big screen outside as a whole family.

Can't wait for it to start!
It was a really great night. Our son spent most of Turbo climbing all over us, jumping up and down, rubbing his eyes, and then back to climbing all over us. It was an hour and a half of wrestling and violent hugs, but he was happy as could be. He finally crashed HARD minutes into Despicable Me 2 when HE decided that he had just had enough and needed to go to sleep. He slept through the rest of the movie.

Dead asleep
Our daughter stayed awake for both movies and loved each one. It was so much fun to hear her cheer loudly for Turbo when he won the race (with her little brother eagerly copying her every cheer) and comment on the fact that she could easily see the stars and the moon out there in the country. She laughed, she snuggled, and I believe that she had a night with her family that she will remember for the rest of her life.

Watching with Daddy
And that's when it's worth the risk of missed bedtimes. Our kids like their sleep. Our kids NEED their sleep. Both of our kids are fairly well-behaved, but when they are tired that behavior goes right out the window. But last night wasn't about preserving our Saturday sanity. It was about Friday family fun. It was about creating memories for us and for our kids in the midst of our busy lives. I go back to work in two weeks and I will honestly admit that while I'm not ready to start collecting stacks of papers, I am ready to start work on preparing for my best year of teaching yet. But this summer has been awesome. It has had its ups and downs, but the time with my kids and the time with my husband has been full of precious memories, and they are memories we need to keep building, even if it does lead to a little sleepiness.

So we'll see how today goes, once they finally wake up. If all goes well, we may be heading to the ballpark tonight for splash pad and fireworks. Hey, it's all about building memories, right?

1 comment:

  1. Hey... they like late nights- especially when there are fireworks (2 nights in a row), and the symphony, and sparklers, and bubbles.

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