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Luckily the new house has lots of extra shelves for all the wine.

Something is wrong with our kids. No, seriously. We follow all the damned parenting rules, we constantly communicate, establish boundaries, take deep breaths, pick our battles, seek out "learning moments," watch SuperNanny, blah dee FREAKIN' blah. It doesn't matter, though. Not really. Because the little puppet masters thrive on the nervous breakdowns they cause every night at bedtime. The screaming, the crying, the laughing, the kicking, the demands, the pleas, the stomping, the guilt trips, the claims of severe dehydration and severed limbs - it's never the same combination, the same order, or the same intensity, and so it effectively keeps us scrambling and sandwiching grumbled "your turn"s between teeth-clenched profanities as we walk by each other in the dark, usually tripping over a god-forsaken piece of plastic crap along the way.

"Have you...tried ignoring it?" our well-meaning family members ask. I know this is always the first thing that comes to mind for everyone - what are they not doing that I might helpfully suggest? I admit that when I hear other parents wailing and gnashing their teeth over the latest behavioral problem, I too make tactful suggestions. So let's just get this out of the way right now: YES, WE HAVE TRIED IT. Whatever the suggestion is, we've tried it. Ignoring, cajoling, negotiating, playing along, yelling, punishing, threatening punishment, pleading, being consistent, using the element of surprise, bribing, setting expectations early in the evening, small animal sacrifice, selling our souls to the devil, contacting the FBI, running away shrieking and waving our hands in the air - nothing has worked.

In a week, we'll be moving in to a house where the kids will be in separate rooms at night. On the one hand, they'll no longer be able to feed off of each other's frantic night time energy without getting out of bed, walking across a room, opening a door, and walking into another room. On the other hand, for the puppet masters, this is nothing. I'll tell you what we need: some nice person to come reverse the locks on their new bedroom doors. Heh. Heh heh heh. "Oh, what's wrong kids? Can't make eye contact with your evil puppet master partner? What ever will you do? Here's a thought: GO. TO. SLEEP."