Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The tent game

Have you ever played "Tent"? It's a bedtime game I've long used with our kids to get them to calm down enough so that they can fall asleep.

Usually, it works. Tonight, it didn't. At least not how I oririginally intended.

Dahlia tucked in without much ado. But Noah was full of beans and didn't want to put his head down, let alone close his eyes. He wanted his Mommy. He wanted another drink of water. He forgot one of his stuffies downstairs. His fertile mind concocted one excuse after another that kept me hopping for far longer than it usually does.

Finally, desperately, I suggested we play the tent game. He smiled and grabbed for the comforter. As he covered my head with it, it occurred to me that on a hot and muggy night, this was the last thing we should be doing. But he was smiling, so I went with it.

One of the key transitions from childhood to adulthood is when you no longer can breathe in a confined space. When we were kids, my friends and I used to burrow ourselves deep in our sleeping bags for hours on end. We'd time ourselves and keep track of who held the record. Stupid, yes. But it made us happy at the time and didn't hurt anyone, so it couldn't have been all bad.

Back then, lack of oxygen and stifling heat didn't seem to deter us. Now, however, 30 seconds after our little people cover my head, I'm ready to get out.

I quietly fashioned a breathing hole as Noah settled into his side of the "tent". He babbled on about real tents and flashlights, his happy voice now devoid of the sad-clown tone that had filled the air only moments before.

The rhythm of his patter and the fact that I was still underneath way too much fabric soon made my logey. I drifted off before him, and woke up an hour later surrounded by nothing more than the sounds of kids sleeping.

I quietly tip-toed out of the room, careful to avoid stepping on an errant toy, smiling at the fact that my strategy to get them tired enough for bed ended up having the same effect on me.

7 comments:

Mrs. Fun said...

oh to breathe under a thick blanket again......
My G actually hates to be under anything or have anything over his head, he freaks.

Mellie Helen said...

Ooh, another bedtime strategy idea! I'll try it tonight, or as soon as I need a bedtime-settling-down technique. Like I said, I'll try it tonight...

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i remember spending lots of summer days in tents outside, and you're right about the lack of oxygen

Sweetie said...

Funny how as an adult we think those old childhood games are silly or not practical when attempting them with children. Your experience proves it worked wonders for both you and your children.

Makes me want to play "tent" again on one of my restless nights.

Carmen said...

I cannot tell you how many times I have falled asleep trying to get one of my kids down. One of my daughters can't go to sleep without the sheet pulled over her head. I have to remember to go pull it off before I go to sleep.

Michelle said...

I remember that! My son still does that but on occasion he likes to make tent houses with lots of blankets around the living room. A lot of clean up, but well worth it when you see the smiles on their faces!

~Cathy~ said...

What a heartwarming story...