Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bedtime Man

I'm the bedtime man in our house.

When Kim and I got married, we divided up the chores, or at least the two chores that mattered to us. I got the dishes, because I freaking hate dirty dishes. It's one of the many little neuroses that make me the delightful traveling companion that I am, and one of the few that has any practical use in the real world. When I lived alone I often had the pans done before I sat down to dinner, which is not a sign of a healthy mind.

Kim got the laundry, in part because it is something that she likes to do and in part, I suspect, because she noticed that most of my clothing was a uniform shade of grey and what wasn't grey was vaguely red. She has since tried to explain the concept of separating colors to me, along with other laundry arcana such as the notion that different cycles and temperatures have practical effects and the entire idea of softener, but it's probably best that the laundry is hers.

Over the years we have continued to divide up chores as they come up, without any particular plan for doing so. Groceries? Generally mine, and putting them away is always mine. Household projects? Kim's. Left up to me we'd still be living out of the boxes we moved in here with in 1996. Except for garbage disposal maintenance - that somehow became mine. Which nearly balances out the fact that Kim is generally in charge of remembering tasks ("Did you call the doctor/plumber/school/random-task-oriented-person yet?" "Uh, no") and planning social events.

And so on.

Also, as a general rule of thumb, anything that involves putting away, straightening, or otherwise creating the appearance of cleanliness generally falls within my purview. Anything that deals with the creation of actual cleanliness tends to be Kim's. It's how we roll, yo.

Bedtime is mine, though, unless I am not home.

The girls and I go up at 8:30 most nights - a little later if important stuff such as the Super Bowl intrudes, a little earlier if we notice the girls are looking bedraggled. Most nights Tabitha heads into the bathroom for tooth-brushing and medicines while Lauren gets into her jammies and chooses an outfit for the next day, and then they switch. Then comes the best part of bedtime of all - story time.

Lauren has taken to reading her own stories recently, because she loves showing me that she can now read. She sits in the Reading Chair, and I perch on the corner of her bed so I can follow along and provide assistance when asked, and she sails on through whatever book she chose from the Beginner Reader pile that night. Tonight it was a Wall-E book.

Tabitha is a bit more used to being a reader herself, so most of the time she is content to let me read. We've been plowing through the Dragon Fire series by Chris D'Lacey recently. It's a very British series of books - we got the first two used off of Bookins.com, and they were the UK editions so I have to spend a lot of time translating into American - about a college student who is singularly unable to figure out what is right in front of his face. It's very true to life that way.

After stories comes Minutes, a tradition started by Kim years ago to give Tabitha some reading time on her own, but which since the girls now share a room is now more often given over to Statues. Both Tabitha and Lauren love these little cast-resin statues of various animals fantastic and real that are produced by the Schleig company. I don't know what precisely is involved with Statues, but they have a lot of fun with it.

Eventually Minutes comes to an end - usually around 9:30 or so - and it is lights out and goodnight kisses. Kim plays Haunted Pillow with each girl, and I park myself in the Reading Chair and, well, read until all is quiet.

Another bedtime, successfully managed.

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