Twas the night before school starts and all through the house Every creature was stirring, including the mouse. The book bags were hung on the wall by the door Stuffed with notebooks, pencils and crayons galore. The children were anxious and would not go to bed, Now that summer was over and filled them with dread. And Papa was frantic trying to settle them down. “Momma, what do I do? I feel like a clown.” Up from her chair, Momma rose with no clatter, The kids flew to their beds, but continued to chatter. Away to their window I flew like a flash, Closed all the curtains and threw up the sash. The moon was not out on this late summer night. It still looked like mid-day, outside was so bright. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, But Momma, all smiles, with her arms full of cheer. With a wind and a nod, so lively and quick, I knew she could help with these bed-time tricks. More rapid than eagles, her arms they came, And she hugged them and kissed them and called them by name: “Now, Phoebe! Now, Clare! Now, Winnie and Dad! Let’s all take a bath, calm down and be glad. One at a time, so it’s not out of control. I’ll do the bathroom while Dad reads to you all. Set them all on your lap and pick a good book. Their bed-time stories are on the shelf in the nook.” So, back to the bedroom, I went with the kids While Momma ran the bath and got their clean duds. Later, after the baths, I heard from their room The breathing and quiet of each little girl. As I kissed them goodnight and was turning around, Momma walked passed the door without making a sound. Momma made it seem easy, getting the kids to bed. “Honey, just how do you do it?” was all that I said. “It’s a simple routine that we do every night. And if we don’t do it, our house is a fright. Start with a warm bath and lavender to calm. Have them brush their teeth and don’t let them chew gum. Bed time must start early and at the same time. And it helps to read books with stories that rhyme. The sound of your voice will soothe them to sleep. They usually won’t fight it and you won’t hear a peep. A routine for bed time is important each night For their sake and ours. It can be a delight. Don’t fight it, don’t change it, do what they expect. Don’t get them riled up just before bed. About an hour before they must hit the sack, Start the bed time routine, you’ll get the knack.” I spoke not a word, but went straight down the stairs, Got a glass of warm milk; then turned with no airs, And giving my wife a great big hug I kissed her head and took a big chug. With a giant milk smile, she grinned back at me. And gave me a wink and a really big squeeze. But I heard her exclaim, ere she walked out of sight, “’Twas the Battle of Bedtime, we won it tonight.”
Dodi Kingsfield, Technical Services Supervisor, Freelance Writer and Author. Dodi is employed as a Technical Supervisor for a large food manufacturer in Dunkirk, writes children's and young adult books and does freelance writing for the web and magazines. Married for more than 20 years and a full-time mother of five, Dodi enjoys yoga, organic gardening and telling tall tales. She can be reached through her e-mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org.