It is night-time.

The kids have just gone up to brush teeth and get their story before going to sleep. I begin to walk up the stairs.

Picture by Carolina JG

The hall light has not been turned on or it has been turned off. All is quiet as I make my plodding way up the stairs. My foot steps are a little heavy to let them know I am coming.

That is when I hear it, the pitter-patter and giggles of little ones getting into place. They know I am coming. I know they know I am coming. And I know what to expect next.

BOO!!!  BOO!!!

I do a little yell, enough surprise laid in so they think I was really scared. It is something we stopped doing during the summer when I would half-carry tired bodies into bed. Then, all they wanted to do was sleep.

But now, now, they are protesting those few minutes before sleep. Now they are trying to make bed time a little more fun before the eyes fall shut.

In the last two weeks we had adjusted bedtime for the start of school. They go to bed at the right time to get enough sleep so there will be no sleepy eyes at school.

For most of the summer, bedtime was ten because at nine it was still light out and there was an excuse not to sleep. Light meant you could still play a little more.

As summer winds down, it is getting darker sooner. Long lazy days are coming to an end. By nine, the sun has gone down and let the dark skies take over. It is ok, now, to go to bed at nine. Eyes begin to shut not with the second bedtime story but the first.

Winter habits are creeping back. Winter tastes and winter clothes will sneak their way out of the pantries and closets. Hot chocolate and warm cookies will replace Popsicles. Graham crackers will get soaked with the sweet hot drink instead of kool-aid.

Every night, I will walk up the stairs, footsteps heavier than they need to be. And when I round the corner, I will hear giggles and pitter-patter of steps as they get into place. That is when I prepare myself to be a little scared because these moments will not last forever.