So I find it humorous when I read some advice or reminder that a bedtime routine should be a soothing event that relaxes the body and calms the mind and transitions the child into sleep.
Our bedtime routine is a frantic event that damages the body and excites the mind and transitions the child into exhaustion. But that works, too.
The newest routine is a pillow fight before bed. The boys talked me into doing this one night when John was out of town. I agreed. I should not have. I got hit with this homemade pillow that felt like a brick. Aren't homemade pillows supposed to be lumpy and half-stuffed? Later, John said, "They are not supposed to use those pillows. They are hard as bricks." No kidding. Just ask my flat face.
So the boys got in trouble for breaking the pillow fight rules. And mom no longer plays pillow fight. But guess what? The boys changed the pillow fight rules and the brick pillows are now part of regular play. The new rule is no hitting in the face. Although it happens often in the pillow fight because they can't really aim. So they can do it on purpose and claim it was an accident. And the fight continues with no one having broken any rules.
So as the pillow fight roars, I sit in the other room hearing periodic bursts of laughter; bursts of crying (some real, some fake to bring someone close for a hit); shouts of, "Bring the Pain," and constant repeats of the one rule that is golden, "Don't hit in the penis." It sounds a little like this, only I am always braced for the tears:
I know the pillow fight will last until someone gets hurt (which is every time) or until John surrenders (also every time). Then he has to spend another ten minutes trying to settle the boys down in their beds. Then they get their calming books, but by then they are completely exhausted. So I guess our routine is working.