One problem with flying solo for so long is that you get run down, start to relax the structure, and kids pick up on any weakness. The girls, who are by and large such good girls, have been getting a little stir crazy in the evenings. Little scuffles are breaking out, and no matter how many times I tell them it’s time for PJs and tooth brushing, they ignore me, sometimes even running away laughing, as I, too exhausted by the end of the day to give chase, yell at them to come back, which is even less effective than doing nothing.
The other night, at my wit’s end and anxious to get them to bed so I could finally have some much-needed quiet time after a hectic day, I had an idea. When I’m tired, I’m not as good at being creative, so I really should write all of these ideas down when I’m wide awake and newly caffeinated. Anyway, I went upstairs without a word, and put on my junior prom dress that we’d unearthed at my mom’s house last weekend. The frilly, lacy, awful powder blue 80s creation that String Bean is obsessed with. I came downstairs as if nothing had changed, holding PJs for two squealing, squawking girls who were embroiled in tug-of-war over something. They both took one look at me and let go of the toy they’d been ready to kill each other over moments before.
In my best Cinderella voice I asked them to gather around for a final potty run, PJs, tooth brushing, and hair brushing, and, to my amazement, they obeyed completely. Not only were they willing to be subjected to every step of the bedtime routine without complaint, but they showered me with compliments the entire time. “Mommy, you look so beautiful! Like a princess!” The dress doesn’t exactly fit. Two pregnancies and twenty years later, the zipper will only go halfway up, but String Bean beamed that this was wonderful, too. “You have some air going in there, to keep you cool!” she cooed.
I’ve already made a mental list of my other dresses for future rowdy, relentless nights. I have a black velvet number leftover from years ago, when I had season tickets to the opera. I have my flag squad uniform from high school. I have the bridesmaid dress from my best friend’s wedding. I have my wedding gown, which would push String Bean over the edge into some kind of unnatural bliss. I think I’ve got the next week covered.