Two Minutes 'Til Bedtime

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Find more about siblings, bedtime, inspired ideas

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and feast your eyes upon the latest, greatest Wonder of the Age! Behold — the calendar!

With this simple printed paper, folks, you can achieve one of the greatest feats of parenting known to mankind. Yes, moms and dads, YOU can get YOUR children to compete with each other to go to bed FIRST!

Does it work? Let me share with you my personal testimony: For years, I have had a bedtime ritual with my 6-year-old son, Fellow, and his 4-year-old sister, Tiny Girl. I call it "Two Minutes."

When the routine first began, each kid would get into bed, I would lie next to him or her for, well, two minutes (measured by the digital clock across the room), then give a kiss and hug and say goodnight. In the months that followed, the two minutes changed, sometimes involving me picking them up and throwing them down on their beds, or playing a quick game of catch with a stuffed animal.

But the biggest change came when Tiny Girl, preparing for pre-K, began going to sleep in the same room, and at the same time, as Fellow.

Suddenly, there were fierce arguments over who would get the two minutes first each night. (Yes, one would think that going to bed last would be preferable. But these are strange kids.)

Finally, we found a solution: Now, every date box on Fellow's 2007 Red Sox calendar is marked with an "F" for "Fellow" or "T" for "Tiny," to show who gets "Two Minutes" first.

Still, there have been conflicts over what to do when, say, Tiny Girl missed going first on "her" night because she fell asleep on her own early in the evening, or when no one got "Two Minutes" because the family was out late visiting relatives and both kids fell asleep before we got home.

I've decided that the calendar rules — whoever's letter is on the calendar goes first, no matter what happened the previous day. The rules can be tough, but the moments are tender.

As I laid next to Fellow the other night, I gave him some gentle pats on the back as he grew sleepy. And as I did, he turned to me and said, "I love you too, Daddy."

Step right up.

How do you manage the bedtime blues? Click the comments button below to find and share ideas.

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Two Minutes 'Til Bedtime

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