As I glance at the clock, I notice it's a few minutes after 8pm. Ellie's bedtime! I turn to her and say, "Ellie, guess what? It's bedtime!"
Immediately, she throws her head back and falls to her knees, wailing "No!"
"It's dark outside," I say. "It's actually past your bedtime."
More tears. Then, desperation. Anything to postpone the inevitable.
"Please, can I have more milk?" "No, it's time for bed."
"Please, can I watch a movie?" "No, it's time for bed."
"Please, can I have something to eat?" "No, it's time for bed."
"Please, can I sleep in your bed?" "No, it's time to sleep in your bed."
Dragging herself down the hall, she begrudgingly brushes her teeth with her Spider-Man toothbrush. We make our way to her bedroom and it's a toss up: will she want to put her pajamas on all by herself or will I have to wrestle an octopus? Tonight, she decides she wants a t-shirt, no bottoms. I'm not fighting it.
Now she starts crying again because I asked her to pick out two books to read. Her world is ending, but she eventually decides that reading books is better than going to bed with no books. She climbs into her twin bed with her choices and I lay down with her. I choose the wrong book to read first, but luckily we avoid another meltdown.
Books are read. She decides she has to go potty one more time. But she can do it by herself and I need to stay right here until she comes back. While this is a stall tactic, I oblige to avoid an accident overnight.
She crawls over me into bed, and I turn off the lamp. She asks me to lay with her "for one minute." She snuggles close, holding her stuffed animal of choice, and whispers, "I love you." "I love you too. Night, night."
Bedtime isn't that bad after all.