Kids are smart. And very, very diabolical. They know how to straddle the boundaries of parenting rules, push those buttons, and they laugh while doing it.
Take bedtime the other night:
J & I alternate bedtimes. This particular day was a HORRIBLE day for the kids and by the time dinner was finished I knew that I needed a break. Fortunately it was J's turn to put them to bed, so I grabbed my earplugs, plopped on the couch and ignored the fam while catching up on the Daily Show via Hulu. I barely noticed the boys heading up for night, I was so desperate for non child time. I did give them each kisses goodnight, but then turned right back to Jon Stewart.
After bedtime routines were complete, J wandered downstairs to his computer. I kept my ear plugs in.An hour later, caught up, I removed my earplugs to hear elephants dancing upstairs. The boys were NOT sleeping. Instead, it sounded like they were having a pagan festival shouting and dancing, along with numerous THUMPS that I would pay a good amount of money to bet that they were launching themselves off the bed. I'm sure they made a game of who could jump furthest.
Normally, if a parent puts the boys to bed the unspoken rule is that parent is also responsible for going upstairs and telling them to knock it off. But J hadn't shown himself since bedtime. I am guessing he also needed to escape and threw his own headphones on.
I tried to ignore it as long as I could. But by 9:30 with no fatherly intervention, I decided to deal with them. I sidled off the couch and started creeping up the stairs, trying to catch them unawares. But despite my stealth, I stepped on the third step, notorious for creaking. And while I would have thought the rumpus upstairs was loud enough to cover that tine squeak, the boys sometimes amazing hearing abilities (you know, the abilities they get when they know they're doing something wrong, but are deaf any other time of day?) kicked in. The next thing I hear is two year old Soren going "SHHHHHH! Ashe SHHHHHHHH!" a flurry of feet running, and then silence.
I open their door not a moment later. The light is on, the room is trashed, there are pull ups EVERY WHERE. And there are two little boys, "sleeping" peacefully, tucked in their matching covers, eyes closed. Soren is even trying to snore.
I smell bullshit. But... it was funny as hell. Trying as hard as I could not to burst out laughing, I said "You aren't fooling anyone boys. Go to sleep!". They resisted acknowledging me as they continued their theatrics of sleeping angels and I closed the door.
I told J they needed more acting lessons if they wanted to pull that stunt off, but I have to admit, for amateurs in the theater business, they stayed in character.