Don't get me wrong. I love my kids, and I love spending time with them. But I've put almost 28 years into parenthood and still have at least 15 to go. I homeschool my children, so I spend a lot of time with them. When evening roles around, I am worn out and in much need of some quiet time. It takes me a couple hours to unwind enough before I can go to bed.
Ideally, I like to start getting the children ready for bed around 8:30 or 9:00. However, many nights it is at least an hour later. After the kids get ready for bed, we start our wind-down of the day with singing some silly songs, including The Alphabet Song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, This Old Man, and 10 Little Aliens. Yes, I said Aliens. I don't think Allie understands what an Indian is; to her they are just people like the rest of us, so why would we be singing a song about them? Aliens, however, seem to make more sense.
We progress from silly songs to more serious songs that teach the kids about Jesus and to worship Him. Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves The Little Children, Jesus Loves The Little Ones Like Me, This Little Gospel Light of Mine, and any other songs the children can think of to prolong the inevitable. My older kids are probably outgrowing some of these songs, but they enjoy the routine.
After singing, we pray. We say two different versions of Now I Lay Me. I am so thankful Allie has not realized there are even more variations! After that, we pray for family members and whatever else happens to be on our minds. Then, Daddy and I bless the children, kiss them, and tell them goodnight. The boys are sent to bed, though more often than not they end up together on their floor. Allie gets a little extra snuggle time, giving the boys the opportunity to be quiet before she actually lays down. Susanna is allowed to practice her dancing or get on the computer for a while.
It is a strict rule in our house that once someone has gone to bed, they are not allowed out until the sun is up, unless there is a fire. Every night, without fail, the boys get up anyway, to get a drink of water. I ask if there is a fire, and they give me gigantic grins and explain there isn't but they are thiiiirrrsssty. Finally, they settle down, and then I get Allie into bed. Susanna makes relatively noise and is usually up for an hour or so more. At last, there is peace.