“Just one more thing…” and other 4-year-old stall tactics

I was scrolling through social media this morning in bed, right after I woke up at 5am (on a Saturday…of a long weekend…) and came across this HuffPost blog featuring hilarious tweets from parents of 4-year-olds. While trying to keep my laughter to a minimum as to not wake the misters, I came to realization that we are all pretty much raising the same 4 year old.

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 11.03.20 PM
Image from some ecards

One of the biggest challenges in this house, is bedtime (getting out of the bathtub is a close second; I swear our child would stay in the tub for hours and turn into a prune if we let him). No matter how great of a day you could be having together, the minute Little Mister hears that magical 3 letter word B-E-D it’s all over. Our child has negotiating skills that would put some government officials to shame.

Bedtime looks something like this…

Bedtime in 45 minutes with a 4 year old.

The routine in our house is: bath, jammies, TV show, brush teeth, read a book (two if we’re relatively on track), tell a story and light’s out. But even this routine – the same routine we’ve been doing for just about 3 years now – can feel completely new to a four year old.

Here’s one night at bedtime in our house:

8:15pm: our selected TV show of the night has ended, Mom and Dad announce it’s bedtime and shut off the show. “NOOOO!” he screams, angered that we had to shut off his TV after we told him we agreed to one show and not getting mad when it was time to turn it off just 30 minutes earlier. The nerve of us.

8:16pm: Tantrum continues. “BUT I’M NOT READY YET!” Oh, but guess what, small human? Mommy and Daddy ARE ready; we’re so exhausted we’re practically sleeping on our feet. (Also, that grumbling sound you heard during your show? That actually WAS Daddy snoring and sleeping!)

8:18pm: We remind Little Mister one more time that we need to start the bedtime routine. He tells us, “I just have to do one more thing.”

8:23pm: Seventeen “one more things” later, including deciding right now is the perfect time to drag out his Mister Potato Head and his 346 pieces, we make it to the threshold of the bathrrom, arms filled with toys.

8:25pm: He steps INTO the bathroom at the speed of a turtle.

8:26pm: Little Mister arranges the menagerie of animals he has brought into the bathroom with him on the small bathroom sink. He painstakingly stands and arranges each and every one of them.

8:30pm: Success! We have one foot on the stool!

8:31pm: Little Mister takes one look at Daddy holding his toothbrush and announces, “Only MOMMY can brush my teeth!”

8:32pm: Dad and I switch places and I ask him to open up. He takes one look at the toothbrush I picked out and refuses to use an orange toothbrush. Cries about it, actually. And while we’re at it, the toothpaste I’m using (child’s Berry Blast flavor with Paw Patrol on the tube) is way too “spicy” for him.

8:33pm: The bottoms of his teeth are brushed!

8:36pm: Little Mister gets mad that he’s brushing his teeth when it’s dark out.

8:37pm: Teeth are done!

8:38pm: Little Mister wants to pick out a book because “He’s never allowed to do anything he wants to do and it’s just. not. fair.”

8:42pm: We finish the first book.

8:43-8:44pm: Little Mister is presented with the choice of one more book, or a story instead. He diplomatically informs us that he would like both a book AND a story. Cries hard for a minute when we tell him that it got too late for another book.

8:45pm: We tell Little Mister the ‘story of today’ which is 99% made up since I last saw him in the morning and he’

8:50pm: Little Mister is ravaged by a thirst so strong, he needs a drink that very minute because he’s ‘just so thirsty’

8:51pm: We tuck him in for the first time (foreshadowing!) and I tell Little Mister the story of the day.

8:52pm: “But Mo-o-om, I’m not tired.”

8:53pm: “Did you hear me? I said I wasn’t tired.”

8:54pm: “Where’s my big seal? I can’t sleep without my big seal!” We locate his big seal, with whom he hasn’t slept in over two months.

8:55pm: His feet are hot. We take off his socks.

8:56pm: Philosophical questions commence: “Why do we go to sleep?” “Why is it so dark right now?” “Why don’t we eat candy for breakfast?”

8:57pm: “I didn’t brush my teeth!” he yells, starting to climb out of bed. We gently remind him that he did, indeed, brush his teeth. Deflated, he lays back down.

8:59pm: “Good night, Little Mister!” we say. “Goodnight Mommy!” he says back. “Sleep tight! See you tomorrow!”

So we can do it all over again.

(PS: at 9:01pm Little Mister is out cold._

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