Good evening and welcome to Bedtime.

I’ll be your guide for this interactive, multi-course experience. Have you been here before? Oh, hello. I didn’t recognize you with clean hair. And what are those? Pants with a button?! Wow, good for you. What’s that? It was Date Night, and you didn’t make it to your usual Bedtime reservation time? You thought we’d be closed by the time you arrived? Hilarious! No worries, though. You’re here now, and I’m sure those extra two hours won’t make a smidge of difference to tonight’s events.

As our most frequent visitor, I’m sure you know how we do things, so what bedtime procrastination technique should we start with? No, no, your late arrival doesn’t mean we have to cheapen the experience by rushing through. I see you still have no idea how Bedtime works despite visiting for 1,295 days straight, but that’s fine. I’m here to help.

I highly recommend the I’m So Hungry. It comes standard with pouty lip-face, convincing acting, and just a hint of parental guilt. Oh, you heard there was already a babysitter-provided snack tonight? What kind of snack, may I ask? Because here at Bedtime, we believe snacks should be of the highest shelf-stable, sugar-packed quality; we do not accept atrocities like a “yogurt tube and apple slices” pairing. This isn’t some low-brow afternoon playdate. I see. Yes, I guess a large handful of contraband Valentine’s candy eaten while you were paying the sitter does meet the qualifications. Hold on one second, let me just write a small note to myself regarding unrelated kitchen hiding spot locations.

Okay, well, lucky for you, I also have a special on our Well-Timed Sweet Moment Procrastination Technique tonight. This option features me, your typically independent-bordering-on-feral child climbing into your lap, cuddling into you like a small kitten, stroking your cheek, and whispering, “I lub you so much.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? I see your “aww” face. I knew you’d like that one; it’s extremely popular with those of a more, how do I say this politely, elderly age, like yourself.

I’ll get that started, but I do want to let you know it will cost you an additional thirteen minutes of your evening. Five for the Well-Timed Sweet Moment and eight minutes for when I decide I’m done with you and would rather empty the contents of my jewelry box onto the floor. No, I’m sorry, one of the rules at this Bedtime franchise location is there are no substitutions. It’s been that way since the Incorrect Lullaby Tantrum. Yes, I know. It’s still fresh for me too. Sorry to bring that up.

Slowly moving on, what can I interest you in for our main Bedtime Routine? The house specialty includes one book, one song, one water retrieval, three blanket adjustments, and fifteen minutes of sitting next to me in the rickety rocking chair until I fall asleep. What? Oh, I forgot the Tooth Brushing & Pajama Application Palate Cleanser? Silly me. You didn’t strike me as a person concerned with, ah, refined hygiene practices, but sure, let’s add it on. Just so you know, the price of this item has gone up. Whereas teeth brushing used to be an enjoyable complimentary part of the Bedtime Routine a few months ago, it now costs ten minutes plus an additional struggle-to-the-floor surcharge because I recently decided I really don’t want to do it. Plus, the eleven different kinds of toothpaste you’ve purchased are all yucky.

Additionally, due to supply-and-demand issues, pajama application is a market-price item. Tonight, that price includes three minutes of scream-sobbing because you mistakenly got out my pink nightgown after I said I wanted the pink nightgown. I understand your confusion. Economics is tricky.

So, now that the walls have been newly spackled in berry mint and tears, we’re back to discussing the Bedtime Routine selection. Oh, I’m sorry, it looks like the house special has just been eighty-sixed. Why? No reason. The only option I have available tonight is the Complete Disaster, which includes ten minutes of jumping on the bed, two hundred tearful whiney requests to cuddle, seventeen different blanket configurations, and four sleep fake-outs.

This will run you approximately seventy-five minutes and your very last nerve.

Don’t worry: we did not forget the dessert course. Here at Bedtime, we reserve our Finale menu for rare occasions like when you have a show you want to watch, when you’re more exhausted than usual, or whenever we damn well feel like it.

Tonight’s Finale menu includes only one option, and it’s my personal favorite, the 1:00 a.m. Surprise. Are you familiar with this one? The look on your face is hard to read. Anyway, the 1:00 a.m. Surprise expertly pinpoints the deepest moment in your sleep cycle and pairs it with a scream reminiscent of being attacked by a wild boar. A splash of soaked blankets and bleary-eyed sheet-changing deepens the flavor and provides just enough stimulation to ensure full alertness. Twenty minutes of restlessness and pleading leads into the pinnacle ingredient, a rare-full bodied twist of giving up and laying on the floor next to the toddler bed, flown in directly from the desperation region of Things You Said You Weren’t Doing Anymore. Finally, the 1:00 a.m. Surprise is complete around 4:00 a.m. when your body rips you from slumber screaming an IcyHot-sponsored rendition of Khai’s “My Neck, My Back.”

The cost? Well, let’s just say it’s a thing you’ll want to buy on credit. You’ll be paying for it for a while.

Now that you’re awake, I’m sure you’re already looking forward to your next Bedtime experience. Unfortunately, Bedtime isn’t accepting reservations for approximately sixteen hours. However, if you just can’t wait for more daily tasks that seem to drag on forever, Weekday Morning is opening right now. Can I watch a show?