Sometimes it pays to go to bed early. In the summer, getting kids to go to bed is like trying to get bubble-gum out of hair. Last night, though, the boys were showered off and sleeping by 8:00 pm. Since it's gotten warmer, the summer routine has dominated our days. The bedtime story has been replaced by biking and playing with friends; dinner is outside with the neighbors, not inside with the fam, and five o'clock is chimmed in with the clinking of glasses, celebrating the end of a day at the office. Divine, but after a few weeks, things start to backfire, little kids start to get grumpy, and the summer routine demands a break. Last night, we took that break and excused ourselves from the festivities celebrating the end of the World Cup, put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, and stayed home. It's never easy being the odd one out, but last night, as the house quieted down and the babies were tucked in tight before the first vuvuzela tooted, it was oh-so-worth-it. Over the last couple of weeks, the sweet serentity of bedtime had been tainted by arguing, crying, and begging, by tired little boys who refused to admit that they were tired. I don't like days to end on that note and the mornings are usually not much better. This morning, though, I was rewarded with happy children who had had a solid sleep; I was rewarded with smiling faces and contented souls. Sleep is a precious commodity that does wonders for big and little people alike.