When eyes start getting rubbed and the tantrums begin to hit an absurd level of frequency, Sarah and I give each other the high sign to commence with getting the kids ready to go to sleep. My high sign usually starts with teeth clenching, followed by a bulging vein on the side of my head- I don't know I'm doing this- I just look at Sarah and see that her eyebrows have disappeared into her hairline and her eyes are much larger than normal circumstances. Its definitely time for bed- for the safety of everyone involved.
We begin to herd the family downstairs... with the enticement of toothpaste. Our kids LOVE toothpaste- I think it was Quinn's first two- syllable word. (although for a while it sounded like 'poo-paste'- quite the opposite sounding affect)
This word is merely the starter gun to the marathon of getting them to sleep. I'd like to think that in coming years we'll miraculously train our kids to be pavlovian dogs with that one word utterance but for now its just the beginning of the fireworks.
Stalling ensues. Usually with Miller asking for more to eat. Then he'll utter 'Whe...Whe....Where's the IPad?? One more show, DADDY' followed by dancing around the living room like someone who just opened the door to an intervention. Quinn has kept her eyes on the prize and has begun her belly slide down the stairs to the bathroom. This can lead to a glare from Sarah as Quinn is my responsibility. Miller is a much more time consuming project.
You see, everything in my blood wants to follow her down the stairs and get her to bed, quickly- the light is at the end of the tunnel. In the near future I can imagine eating dinner without fear of it being flung at me, or sit on the couch and hear my brain do something uninterrupted for a change.
At the 20 minute mark we're usually all in the bathroom and the toothbrushes are in the beasties hands.
They don't respect the values of good oral hygiene, but rather abuse its minty fresh flavoring by sucking on it like newborn calves on a teet. They also stand at the sink elbowing each other for position to take a bird bath with whatever appendage they can throw towards the running water.
Hey- at least we're all on the same floor.
After what seems like hours, Sarah and I separate the warring factions, clean up the buckets of water on the bathroom floor and finally move them to their respective rooms.
There is a changing of the guard so to speak. Things begin to get quiet, pajamas are wrestled onto little bodies and reading begins.
Eventually Sarah and I will meet back upstairs- alone. Just the 2 of us. We trade stories about the bedtime ritual, what books were read, how much 30 lbs. babies can crap, etc, etc. But mostly we relish the few hours we have to make dinner, eat, not move and then, finally drag ourselves to bed.