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I Want to Go to Sleep but My Family Has Other Ideas

“Seriously!!” I said. “I have to get up early!!”

No one listens.

It seems that we’ve developed a new bad habit in our house.

I Have to Wake Up Early, But That Doesn’t Stop Them

At 11 p.m., I start to think about going to bed. I’m usually up by 6:00 am so I can exercise before work. So 11 p.m. is even a little later than I would like to go to sleep.

My kids disagree. As soon as I start getting into my bed, their ears perk up and they hear an invitation, “Kids, time to watch today’s Ellen episode in my bed.” My wife, my kids, and the dog all nestle together on my bed.

The operative word is MY, as in MY bed. As with most houses these days, ours has no shortage of TVs. Our kids can watch Ellen any time they want in three other rooms.

And I don’t even like Ellen. (Ok, I actually do.)

“Come on!” I say. “I want to go to bed now.”

They ignore me.

“REALLY!! I want to go to bed now.”

Again, they kept ignoring me.

“I Want to Go to Sleep!”

One of the older kids, home for the summer, starts to get up. But the youngest asked, “Where are you going?”

“Well, Daddy wants us out,” she replied.

“Newbie,” he responded. “That’s not the way the game is played. Lie down. We have plenty of time left.”

They tell me I’m whining. And they continue to ignore me.

“How much longer?” I demand. (Working hard not to whine).

“Seven minutes,” my daughter answers.

Well, that one I deserved. In our house, that means anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. I kind of came up with that answer a while back when my wife wanted to go to bed, and the rest of us wanted to watch Dexter. But that’s a different story.

I was confined to about eight inches at the edge of the bed, and trust me, I don’t exercise enough to fit in that space. My daughter was on top of the covers, so I couldn’t even pull them over my legs to keep warm. And now the dog was jumping on top of me as well. (Actually, that part’s okay.)

Ten minutes later I surreptitiously glanced at the TV (I do like Ellen’s sarcasm) and patiently said, “Please! Can’t we go to bed??” (Well, I might have whined that time. A little bit.)

“Seven minutes,” that bratty kid replied.

I was traveling recently by myself and spent a night in a hotel. It was awesome. When it was time for bed, I relaxed, read a little, and turned out the light. It was great. In the morning I got to watch CNN while I got dressed and got to turn the lights on also … but again, that’s another story.

When I got home the next night, however, it was the same old thing.

It was 11:14 pm. My wife was on one side of the bed, I was on the other, and two kids and a dog were jumping around in the middle. Ellen was doing her dance on TV. I had no covers and no room.

“We’re watching two episodes tonight, Dad, “ said the 13-year-old. “We didn’t want to watch without you last night.”

“Seriously?” I replied. “I have to get up early!”

But as I turned away, I smiled to myself. It was nice to be home.

Dr. Dan Borison, a writer and dad of five, is a doctor in his free time.

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