Nicholas, being the youngest member of the family, has the earliest bedtime.
He also, by virtue of being youngest, is the one who got stuck with “bed-in-a-hallway” – a room that you must pass through in order to get to Lorelei’s room.
He’s generally down for about an hour by the time Lorelei goes to bed, and more and more her bedtime is starting to resemble a Marx Brothers bit:
1. Eric and I finish reading Lorelei her stories and tell her it’s time for bed.
2. Lorelei starts walking up the stairs to her room, followed closely by me and Eric. We are roundly – and repeatedly – shushed by Lorelei (finger to lips in classic librarian style) so as not to wake up Nicholas. Occasionally she’ll announce in a very loud stage whisper that “WE HAVE TO BE QUIET SO WE DON’T WAKE UP NICK-A-NUS!”
(Alternate version of #2 – Lorelei demands uppies from Eric, who picks her up and carries her up the stairs. Lorelei and Eric both loudly turn to shush me as I silently follow them up the stairs, despite the fact that I am making less noise than anyone else.)
3. Lorelei tip-toes through Nicholas’s room in a deliberate, lead-footed way that is far louder than her normal walk. Eric and I follow behind, creaking the old floor boards as we go. Usually by now Brodie has also joined the convoy, meowing at high volume for no apparent reason.
4. Nicholas stirs a bit and moans softly; this is sometimes accompanied by a curling of his arms and legs. Eric and I hold our breath, hoping he’ll quickly return to his sleeping spread-eagled self.
5. We close the door between the kids’ rooms, softly sing to Lorelei, and put her down in her crib. This usually goes well, though very occasionally she’ll forget herself and make some loud pronouncement just as we’re creeping out: “ARE WE GOING TO DRINK JUICE AND EAT O’s TOMORROW?”
6. Eric and I prepare to sneak back through Nicholas’s room. By now Brodie has placed herself between us and the stairs and is meowing enthusiastically. We glance, fearful, at Nicholas, trying to ascertain how out of it he is while avoiding any potential chance of eye contact.
7. We shoo Brodie downstairs and quickly follow her, hitting every last creaky step as we go.
8. We hold our breath for a few minutes before pouring our respective drinks.