Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Eve Party: Family Style

Several images come to mind when you hear the words "New Year's Eve." There's alcohol. Noisemakers. Confetti. Fireworks. Having someone to kiss. Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve. A giant glowing ball dropping from the sky in New York City.

It's all a lot of fun.

But, when you are the parent of several small children, a few other things come to mind: How late should I let them stay up? Can I convince them that 10:00 PM is really midnight? Isn't that actually lying? Is it okay to lie to your kids? But what if it's for their own good? It's midnight on the east coast, so it's not really a lie, is it? If I let the kids stay up until midnight, will I be able to stay up that late? Should I let the kids drink champagne? (Who am I kidding? I'm a life-long teetotaling Mormon. I wouldn't have the first clue how to even buy champagne, let alone serve it to my children.)

Happy New Year!!! 
The Wife and I have three kids, ages 7, 5, and 1. Bedtime for the kids is usually 8:00 PM. (Bedtime for the adults is usually 8:15 PM, or as soon as we can get the baby to sleep.)(We'd stay up later, but after wrangling the kids all day, that's about all we have the energy for.)

So, when it came to New Year's Eve we were left with a dilemma: should we A) act like it's a regular night and put the kids to bed at 8:00 PM? B) Let them stay up until midnight and welcome in the New Year? Or, 3) Let them stay up later than normal, but not all the way until midnight?

It used to be easier to trick the kids, but they're old enough and smart enough now to understand what New Year's Eve is, and that adults celebrate it by staying up late.

We ended up going with the compromise solution. We let them have some ice cream after supper, then we let them stay up a little late, until about 10:00 PM. And, their Mom let them have the special treat of getting to pile into Mom and Dad's bed to watch a show. (And yes, our kids our so starved for television that an episode of Veggie Tales is considered a treat.)

The Baby even went to sleep with relative ease. The only problem came at midnight when the neighbors started shooting off fireworks. The Girl and The Boy stayed asleep, and so did The Wife. The Baby woke up and fussed for a moment or two, but luckily she quickly re-entered the land of slumber.

So, when the New Year rolled in, I was the only one in the house who was awake. I celebrated by doing what I had been doing for the previous hour and a half: I watched old television episodes piped into my house via Amazon Prime.

In the end, at our house, New Year's Eve is basically just another eve, but with a little more ice cream and a little more television. (And we all could use a little more ice cream in our lives every now and then.) Happy New Year!

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