Mama Madison: It's past your bedtime (Mom)!

Seeing in New Year's Eve with your kids

All three of my children sleep through the night. I don't say this to brag or to make any of you envious. This accomplishment didn't come easy"it was years of work in the making. Ferber, Weissbluth, threats, rewards -- we used every sleep-training theory available to achieve the trifecta. Just thinking about the middle-of-the-night brings back unpleasant memories of exhausting feedings and the ensuing arguments about whose turn it was to get the baby. So please understand when I say that New Year's Eve holds absolutely no interest to me. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have the luxury of passing from 2010 to 2011 in blissful slumber.

To be honest, New Year's Eve was not a favorite holiday of mine, even before kids. I always felt too much pressure. First, there was the pressure to find a date, or at least someone to kiss as the ball dropped. It was like Valentine's Day had come a month and a half early, but with genuine holiday legitimacy (no one takes Valentine's Day seriously after elementary school, right?). And then, even if a date was scored, there was pressure for big plans -- to be invited to the right (or some years, any) party, to snag reservations at a hot new restaurant, to get into a club before the clock struck midnight. In essence, I felt overwhelming pressure to have fun. I guess I've always considered one of the many benefits of "settling down" and starting a family was the right to stay home on December 31. I could now announce, using my best "Oh, I am so boring now that I have kids" voice, that I'll be watching New Year's Rockin' Eve. It's not that my New Year's Eve date had never been Dick Clark before, but now I could say it with mock horror as opposed to genuine embarrassment. I had finally gotten out of the New Year's Eve rat race.

But this year I don't recognize the names of half the folks who will be performing on the ABC special. Have any of you heard of La Roux or Far East Movement? And those I do recognize, namely the Back Street Boys and New Kids on the Block, have little nostalgic value to me. I guess I am probably more Bandstand than boy band. Besides, my kids are itching to actually do something this year. They must have gotten the "party" gene from their father. Maybe we'll try the family-friendly US Bank Eve I've heard so much about. The night boasts awesome acts like the homegrown live-band karaoke known as Gomeroke and the music of Madison's Ken Lonnquist, plus temporary tattoos, horns and a Monona Terrace balloon drop countdown at the fabulously sane time of 9:30 p.m. Perhaps it's worth extending bedtimes into the double digits, both theirs and mine, for a quick toast as fireworks explode over Lake Monona at 10:05. I'll have four fabulous dates, after all. All of whom I'd be happy to kiss at a fake midnight.

What is your New Year's Eve speed? Are you champagne at twelve or more Auld Lang Syne at nine?

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