Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Wonder Twin Powers: Activate"

The coming of nightfall brings a mysterious occurrence to our home every night. Our once peaceful household is gradually filled with increasing amounts of activity. As I am getting more and more tired and starting to settle everyone down for the night, the kids seemed to have some invisible source of energy.

Remember the Superfriends and the Justice League of America Saturday morning cartoons? Remember the really cool Wonder Twins? They had a routine in which they would touch hands and shout "Wonder Twin powers, activate!" and then they would be able to take the form of different shapes. Well my kids are not twins and though I have never witnessed them doing it, I am convinced that this is their mantra every evening.

It seems that the nonverbal 1-year old (Alyssa) and the very verbal 4-year old (Chase) must secretly get together and shout "Activate!" every day around 6 pm. Alyssa begins dancing her bouncing, arm-waving routine as Chase begins crawling around pretending he is a dog (complete with barking) or using his ruler as a sword. Next, Alyssa starts chasing her brother around squealing with glee as he pertends to run from her. Then, Alyssa may take a break from that game to spend some time twirling around the middle of the floor until she gets dizzy while Chase gets his Dad to start wrestling. Alyssa quickly comes to the scene of the full-body contact and literally throws her body on the pile. (All this is happening while I am either trying to finish my writing for the day or straightening up and making preparations for bedtime).

Eventually, my "Wonder Twins" succumb to my best efforts to settle them down. This is no easy task and usually requires some superhero strength of my own. After everyone is asleep, I spend time asking myself what I can do differently the following night to thwart my little heroes and their nighttime activation.

Suggestions anyone?


Anonymous said...

This exact same thing happens to us, usually because Julia has turned on the tv before dinner. Now that it's warming up, I'm going to try to send her outside to run around for half an hour before we eat dinner. And I'm going to play soft, slow music in the background at dinnertime. We also just bought her a CD-clock radio for her room, and she likes the idea of listening to that in the dark for a bit sometimes before she falls asleep.

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask how you entertain them during the day. Although we've had some dinnertime meltdown issues, for us the issue has been much more about sleep itself. I think his little mind is so busy turning around that he just has trouble sleeping because his energy has nowhere to go. We've found keeping him busy during the day (going new places or doing new things) basically wears him out so that he goes to sleep easily.

Depending on what you're able to do (I SO know how hard it is to write and entertain at the same time), they may come to accept "quiet time" around then.

Or, if you can't easily entertain them during the day, why not institute a family exercise period? That's the time of day I exercise - it's a good transition for me. You could put in an Elmo-cize tape or something you could all do together.