Sometimes They Come Back
Stephen King once wrote a short story called “Sometimes They Come Back.” It’s about a man, a school teacher, haunted by the reincarnation of some childhood bullies, now out for revenge and blood.
My story is not so gruesome but still distressing.
Every evening Jen and I pray with the girls then send them upstairs around 8 o’clock. They get ready for bed then are allowed to read or draw or whatever they want to do until about 9 or 9:30 as long as they stay in bed. At that time I go upstairs, kiss them goodnight and tell them lights out.
After 8 o’clock is down time for Jen and me. Time when we can relax and talk or watch TV or read or knit (Jen knits). Time when there are no questions after questions after questions, no endless chatter, no bickering. Time for relaxation after an often long, busy day.
When we send the girls upstairs we expect them to stay up there. Only it rarely works out that way . . . sometimes they come back. One comes down having to tend to her rabbit. Another has a question about tomorrow. Another needs help with her ear rings. A book needs to be retrieved. Or a drink. Or a pencil. And the list goes on.
Sometimes they come back.
Now, lest I portray a false picture, we have great girls. I hardly ever have to discipline them which may be part of the problem. I’m out of practice. I usually wait until my patience is worn thin before taking a firm stand on the issue.
Nevertheless, every time I hear the pitter patter of footsteps on the stairs after we’ve sent them to bed for the night I think of that story by Mr. King.
Sometimes they come back.
And sometimes I get cranky.
Anyone else in this boat?
Posted on December 5, 2011, in Family, Life in General, parenting. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.
Well, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve dealt with this, since our Leigh is 27 years old. But here’s what we did: She had to go to bed at 8:30 when she was younger because she needed the sleep. However, she always asked to be allowed to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than whatever time her bedtime happened to be because she wanted to read!
Everything was easy with her. She was the best child ever, I think. Weaning, potty training, teething, she never had a problem with any of it. I was really BLESSED! My mother used to enjoy saying Leigh never ever sassed. It’s true. She didn’t.
Leigh still reads all the time. She used to carry a book around in her purse everywhere she went. Now she carries a Nook.
Thanks for the comment, Susan. You are blessed. Our daughters are great too. They don’t come downstairs to be ornery or sassy. I think in their minds they have legitimate reasons for interrupting our down time. And we’re blessed, too, that all three of our older girls love to read!
Girls can be a lot to handle! 🙂
We do something similar at our house. We have 3 girls in one bedroom, so settling down takes a little time, so I start half an hour before their actual lights out time. Usually when I say, “Time to get ready for bed” there’s a rush for water, which means 4 children standing around the kitchen with their water bottles. (Uh, is it snowing on this page or am I seeing things?)Anyway, they are allowed to read until lights out. Nothing else. I want them off computers, games, t.v., atleast an hour before bed. Usually I have to go back to their rooms once to “remind” them they are to sleep but not too often. I am not, unfortunately, out of practice in the discipline area, but, they usually settle down quickly. My kids always seem to think of something that happened at school today that they “need” to come tell me about after they’ve been in bed for a while. And, if their dad comes in after they just turned out the lights, there’s atleast another 10 minutes of resettling. I guess it just depends on the day and how tired they are.
Yes, they come back – a lot! We have one son. And while I can get grumpy when he “comes back'” many times, interrupting time with my husband, I feel more blessed that he wants to spend time with us and enjoys being with us. It’s a good thing they come back, unlike a Stephen King novel.
Donna, I needed that reminder. Thank you! My wife often tells me it’s a good thing they want to talk to us so much now because the day may come when they don’t want to so much. I hope it never comes and do want to keep the channels of communication open.
Mike, mine is not with children but with a mom who is suffering from vascular dementia and Altzheimers. In many ways it is like dealing with an over intelligent two year old. She will say that she is going to bed and as I sit down and get just about relaxed….here she comes circling the room explaining that she needs to take the dog out when I just took her out 5 minutes before. Then she will appear to be settled and then here she comes because now she has to have water. We have to laugh in our household because we have found that keeping it light enables us to deal with the many situations without over stressing. But yes they do come back and life always seems to come full circle! God bless your children and pray that they have the same patience if someday YOU come circling back! 😉
Great, great comment, Reggie, and really puts things into perspective. Thank you!
Yep, mine are *always* coming back. Tonight it was 10:30 before they conked out. They wanted to sleep by the Christmas tree (just decorated today). Out came the hide-a-bed. Then they wiggled and argued while I tried to get a bit of work done at the desk across the room. Then the teenager walked in from his Christmas concert. Then my husband phoned from his night shift, expecting to be able to have an uninterrupted conversation at 11pm. Well, sometimes it happens. 🙂
This sounds all too familiar!