Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bedtime staller

At 2 and a half, Owen is still taking an afternoon nap. And that means when bedtime rolls around at 8 p.m. he, unlike Will, is not quite totally exhausted. And so Owen has begun to turn into a master staller.

Owen is still sleeping in a crib (on this point Rob and I are the stallers; we are still haunted by memories of Will popping out of bed every 5 seconds as a 2-year-old). In any case, Owen is dependent on us when it comes to sleep procrastination.

For a while he would claim he needed to go potty about 3 minutes after we’d suited him back up in his pajamas after a failed attempt to go. (Until we made the rule “you can only go potty once before you go to sleep” I think he was actually deliberately holding it in on the first attempt in order to get to make a second.)

Once we cut out all but one round of potty shenanigans, he continued to think of lots of pressing questions to ask us before he felt ready for us to leave him in his crib.

“I have to tell you one more thing …” he would say about 15 times in a row as I tried to make a gentle exit.

And his favorite “thing” would be a question, since this typically elicits a more varied response – as opposed to an, “Okay, good night Owen” -- and lays the groundwork for further questions.

Here’s a sampling of the many “one more things” Owen has urgently needed to ask or tell us before we said our final goodnight:

“How does Pooh Bear take a shower?”

“How a train come through gate in our back yard?”

“Why I not get out like you guys?” (As in why are you still imprisioning me in this crib.
A valid question, I admit.)

“My belly hurts. I need some lotion on it.”

“What are these called?” (pointing to crib rails)

"What is that?" (pointing to crib bumper)

“What do elevators look like?”

"I can't sleep this late."

"I can't see anything."

And the list goes on….

Owen and I had ourselves a little meeting several days ago and agreed on our new bedtime rules: only one trip to the potty, only one session of water drinking, and he gets to tell me only “one more thing” to which I will respond simply “okay” even if that thing is a question. Then I say “Goodnight Owen. I’ll see you in the morning.” And the ritual ends.

But he still tries to bend the rules, and I can’t help answering at least one question a night and letting him get away with about three “one more things” before I notice myself racing to the door before he can get the next question in.

What bedtime stalling techniques have your kids devised (or how have you managed them)?

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