Brett and I have never even come close to understanding it. It's just three steps. How complicated can a three step process really be? How many years could it possibly take for a person to learn (with DAILY practice, mind you) three simple steps? They are relatively intelligent people otherwise. What could be the disconnect between functioning normally in the rest of life but being unable to master the three simple steps at bedtime? Here it is. The three steps we require for getting ready for bed:
1. Get your jammies on.
2. Brush your teeth.
3. Use the bathroom.
These steps have been unattainable for even the most advanced Thomas children at shockingly elevated ages. We have given lectures on the three steps both individually and corporately. We have dished out punishments for lack of adherence to the three steps. We have done everything within our parenting powers to teach the three steps ... stopping just short of pie charts and demonstrations. But you would not believe the number of times in our combined parenting years that we have had the following conversation:
Parent: "Are you ready for bed?"
Parent: "Oh, good. Go get in bed then."
Child: "But I haven't brushed my teeth yet."
Parent: "You said you were ready for bed."
Child: "I am. I just haven't brushed my teeth."
Parent: "But brushing your teeth is one of the three steps ... "
Child: "I know."
Parent: "Then you are not ready for bed."
Child: "I'll go hurry ... " Running off before they get in trouble for lack of careful adherence to the three steps.
Tonight a most disheartening thing happened. First, you need to know that our fourth child, with no genetic credit of our own, is extremely intelligent. (The subject of a future post.) If any of our children should acquire early mastery of the three steps, it ought to be her. We were all hanging out in the living room and Brett asked her the fateful question, "Mia, are you ready for bed?" "Yes!" Remember ... getting ready for bed = the three steps. Then comes the three step nightly quiz.
Brett: "Did you brush your teeth?"
Mia: "Yes!" (She had her jammies on.)
Brett: "Did you go potty?"
Brett: "Are you sure?" (He knows not to believe them ... )
Mia: "Yes, I did. Oh ... um ... no ... I guess I didn't." Off she goes running ... The others in the room started to quietly laugh. Someone said, "Even she doesn't get it."
Proof. See? It's proof. "Proof of what?" you ask? I'm not sure yet! But it's got to be proof of something. Some conspiracy they have going to slowly drive us crazy? Proof of a chromosomal abnormality caused not by nature but by nurture? Proof that there are microscopic alien forces that infiltrate little minds if you don't wash their pillowcases often enough. I don't know!!! But it certianly is proof of ... something.