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Published: Sunday, August 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Summer livin’ is easy, except at bedtime

This summer, here's something to think about the next time it's 10 p.m. and your kids are running around like banshees: You are not alone.

I love the Pacific Northwest, but having it stay light until so late makes putting children to bed extremely difficult.

When my son was little, people suggested buying blackout shades for his room. Two hundred dollars later, his room can become cave-like. Bruce Wayne would be impressed.

But blackout blinds only help the sleep issue a tiny bit. I'm also going to have to replace them before my son hits high school. I wouldn't want a teenager living in a dungeon of doom.

So if darkness and light aren't the issue with summer sleep, what is? My second thought would be heat. Like many families in Puget Sound, we don't have air conditioning. Our house is cool in the morning and hot at night, even though we open windows in the evening to chill out the upstairs.

But I can never open my kids' windows all the way. I've listened to enough Eric Clapton to be petrified of children falling out of upstairs windows and dying. I also feel guilty that we don't have safety bars, even though I don't actually know anyone who owns safety bars.

Enter the oscillating fan. But not the one that could slice off fingers! Fans easily add another 10 minutes to the bedtime routine.

First you hear, "I want the fan higher, Mommy." Then a few seconds later, "I want it lower." Then (wait for it) … "It's too noisy" and "What's that light?"

When you hear, "I'm too cold!" you're officially fried.

Light, heat, cranky fans and cranky parents who want to watch John Oliver on "The Daily Show": Summer nights can seem endless. But finally, kids fall asleep and everything is good, right?

Unless you have swim team … I know families who wake up at the crack of dawn to get their children to the pool at 7 a.m. That sounds like so much fun.

Swim Team Moms, you get a round of applause from me because I'm pretty sure nobody else is cheering you in your minivan. I'm also giving you a "hurrah" every time you make your swimmers wash their hair. Sometimes you have to be very sneaky with that shampoo bottle.

My own children aren't on swim team. So we would probably sabotage our bedtime schedule further by sleeping in later and later each summer morning, except I've got a hero on my side who keeps us from being too lazy.

Every morning at 8:30 a.m., my son's best friend calls him to engage in a very detailed discussion of Pokemon. It's our summer wake-up call.

I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for Pokemon.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at

Story tags » Parenting

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