I took a step back one day and tried to analyze what was going on. I noticed that one of the biggest time eaters during the bedtime routine was Colin's desire to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk! It's like he had the entire day up their in his brain just waiting to spill out 2 minutes before lights out. So I came up with Colin's "chat time." Once we turn out the light for Caleb and Benjamin (who share a room), either James or I would take Colin into his room, tuck him into bed, and stay for an extra five or ten minutes just to "chat about our day." Talk about your jackpot parenting moment. Colin was eager to get to chat time, so he stopped lagging while getting ready for bed. The extra time-eating chatter was saved up for his special time. He got some much needed one-on-one time, which we can see is not only important for an oldest child who is expected to be grown up, but also for Colin's personality.
I love parenting moments like these. Every once in a while I hit on something that is just perfect for us, and solves a myriad of problems or issues that had been lurking in dark corners. Sure, there are a lot of things I try that don't work, and some never even get off the ground. But for every ten that fail, it's worth it for that one that is brilliant.