Take Me to Paradise

A dance party from a year ago. A simpler time, with more chocolate on our faces and fewer sexually suggestive song lyrics.

Bedtime can be rough.  A battle royale from which no one really emerges victorious. Sure the kids eventually make it to bed, but only after ONE MORE STORY AND CAN I HAVE A GLASS OF WATER AND WHY DON'T YOU WANT TO BE WITH ME ANYMORE? I AM ALONE! And all the while Viola squawks along in support of her older sister's oh so righteous indignation. A few weeks ago, I threw my hands in the hair and started to laugh.

"Yes, you will be alone. But daddy and I are just on the other side of the house. And listen, you should savor the alone time. LOVE IT! Because one day you will be a mommy and you will never, ever, ever be alone again."

There was a moment of silence and they both looked at me completely flabbergasted.

" Ummm, Mom?"

"Yes, Zuzu."

"Can I have another glass of water? But come back quick BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE!"

And then the point comes every night when Riley and I practice "extinction", which basically means we close the kid's door and pretend they no longer exist. Eventually they stop yelling for us and start yelling and playing with each other. And then finally, somewhere between my last Diet Coke and first ibuprofen they fall asleep.

It is exhausting.

We have been trying to think of ways to make bed time more fun. The first is that they each get an extra story every night. That's right, that means three, count 'em, three books each night. Zuzu has been leaning towards anything with dragons, while Viola doesn't seem to care much as long as the book has lots of color and pages that don't rip easily.

Our second great bed time innovation? The three song dance party. Every night we get on our socks, head out to the slippery wood floor and dance for three songs until we just can't dance anymore. We giggle, we invent dance moves and by the end of that 12 minute cardio workout the kids are too tired to remember they are too awake to go to bed.

It is awesome.

Yesterday, Riley turned on a mix that had some dancetastic selections from Mr. Bruno Mars. (Yes, I know he has been around forever. We are nearly thirty old parents with a mortgage. I am proud of myself anytime I know anything more current than Hanson.) Bruno's music is exactly the kind of thing Zuzu loves. Great melody with beats worth bopping to...she was having a blast. I held Viola and swayed while Riley and Zuzu executed some sort of complicated knee kick-slide across the floor-fist pump in the air move. This, I thought, I will always remember this. Riley still in a collar and tie and Zuzu all red cheeked and white teeth. Little Viola nestled into my neck, I could feel her smile when I started moving a little faster. Happiness, this is complete happiness, right here in our little home.

And then I started listening to the lyrics of the song that serenaded our hops and twirls.

Never had much faith in love or miracles Never wanna put my heart on the line. But swimming in your world is something spiritual I'm born again every time you spend the night

Cause your sex takes me to paradise Yeah your sex takes me to paradise And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah Cause you make feel like, I've been locked out of heaven For too long, for too long Yeah you make feel like, I've been locked out of heaven For too long, for too long

Oh, yeah yeah.

"Ummm, Riley. We might want to change the song."

"Why?"

"Listen to the words."

He stood still and listened while Zuzu danced around us.

"What the..."

"Yeah..."

"Okay! Dance party over! Your mom is going to read an extra book tonight instead!"

I promised Zuzu I would introduce to this cool new group called Hanson tomorrow. She is going to die for MmmBop. The fact that no one's sex is mentioned even once is a benefit none of us are taking lightly.

(Don't worry, Bruno. We still love you. You just belong at a different kind of dance party. Ahem.)