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Published: Sunday, February 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Romance on hold 'til kids are asleep

In honor of Valentine's Day coming up Thursday, I thought I would offer some empathy to all of you moms and dads who didn't book a baby-sitter.

It might be fun to thumb your nose at Hallmark, but dinner at Mardini's in Snohomish would have been fun too. Maybe next year …

Lots of us are in the same boat. Our big plans involve folding laundry, packing school lunches and falling asleep watching reruns on TV.

If you're lucky, there might be a box of chocolate and a bottle of wine involved, too. It's called "Married People Celebrate Valentine's Day."

Fake-date-night can't officially start until all your children are asleep. That's where the real trouble starts. So here are my top five tips for ditching cute girls (and boys) in bed:

Tip 1: Try singing every song you can remember. Start with the standard nursery repertoire of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," move on to summer camp standards, and then progress to really horrible renditions from "Les Miserables."

If Broadway isn't your thing, then feel free to try The Eagles. "Take it Easy" is usually a sure bet. Eventually your children will be so tired of your singing that they will collapse in exhaustion.

Tip 2: Lie back and think of Everett. While your kids are doing somersaults and asking for drinks of water, just completely ignore them.

Clearly express with your silence: "I'm here so you won't be scared, but I don't put up with bedtime shenanigans."

In the hour it might take for this tactic to work, think really big thoughts. Isn't it time to get a membership to Imagine Children's Museum? What would be the best use of the old Kimberly-Clark site?

You may be swathed in Star Wars sheets, but that doesn't mean you've killed off your brain cells.

Tip 3: Let (everyone) cry it out. Ugh! I hate this method, but must admit to having tried it on many occasions.

I think this one is really kid-dependent. (You'll get no judgment from me if this is the only sleep solution that works for your child.)

I hate it only because I'm having flashbacks. Sitting on the stairs and feeling your heart hurt isn't very fun.

Then when your kid finally falls asleep, you immediately panic. "Why is it suddenly quiet? Is something wrong?"

I'm breaking into a sweat just imagining it.

Tip 4: Be willing to sacrifice your arm. OK, so the way this works is you stand next to the bed or crib, but you let your kid snuggle with your arm.

Yeah, you're totally hunched over like Quasimodo, but big deal.

When little Junior hits Dreamland, you'll only need to remove one limb. Talk about cutting your risk of bed-spring noise way down!

The only problem is, how long are you going to have to leave your arm there? (Maybe you should revisit tips one and two.)

Tip 5: Tell your spouse: "But Honey, I did bedtime last night. Don't you remember?" (This one ALWAYS works.)

When 8 o'clock rolls around, you'll be the one drinking chamomile tea and checking your Facebook account.

Happy Valentine's Day to you, Sweetheart.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybaby

Story tags » Parenting

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