In theory, the children share a room because they love being together. They all go to bed at the same time, about 8.30, have a little chat together after I kiss them all goodnight, and go to sleep.
In reality, they all sleep in the same room because we don’t have enough space. They go to bed at the same time because the younger ones don’t like being in the room alone. They get ready for bed at 8.30, most nights, all mucking about, dancing, doing their hair, and so on. After shouting at them a few times I find someone still hasn’t put on their pyjamas or brushed their teeth. They seem surprised that the routine they’ve been following since they were about one, hasn’t changed for the night. I finally manage to get them to bed. I give each of them a kiss and a hug, but some of these exchanges end in me struggling to get away and save myself from getting hurt. Someone jumps up because they have to do something, then someone else needs cream for a mozzie bite, and someone else needs a glass of water, and the youngest doesn’t want to be left alone, so they’re all up. Or someone realises they have news in the morning and don’t know the topic and can I call so-and-so’s mum and ask? I get them back to bed, but someone has offended or hurt someone else and someone starts crying. Whoever is crying, or gets up after five minutes saying they can’t sleep, I send to sleep in my bed. Everyone needs more hugs and kisses. Eventually they all settle by about 9.30.