I was struggling to find a topic for Tuesday’s Top 10. Fortunately it was 9:12pm on Sunday night, and this one just sort of happened all around me. By the way, I’m really not a fan of parents who spend all day and night complaining about their kids, so please don’t misconstrue this as a list of grievances – I actually find most of these completely hilarious.
So here are the top 10 stalling tactics my children use:
1) “I’m hungry” – this is usually said with chin tilted forward, eyes looking up at you, as if they no longer have the strength to hold their head in an upright position and will certainly not make it through the night without one more bowl of Cheerios. Or one last banana. This is one of the hardest stalling tactics to thwart because what parent likes to think of their kids going to bed hungry? But they realize this. They have Navy SEAL type tactical skills in that 5 year old brain. Don’t give in.
2) “I’m thirsty” – this one is difficult as well, because the amount of time it takes to fulfill the request is minimal. But it’s the principle folks. One drink of water now will lead to a request for a 7-course meal at 10:30. Which will inevitably lead to . . .
3) “I have to go to the bathroom” – a relatively straightforward request, the first of which is granted. Each successive request becomes less and less believable . . . unless you’ve given into #2 already. Which is another reason not to give into #2, because then you can’t be so sure about denying #3. The recently potty-trained child can make this tactic especially problematic.
4) “I’m scared” – once again, sometimes tough to deflect. What if they’re really scared? What if the same shadow that scares the belittles out of you each night just went across their window? Probably not. Chances are they saw you pause and will now press in, hoping tonight’s the night they get to sleep in bed with you, ruining any romantic bedroom plans you might have had with your wife and turning a decent night’s sleep into a long interior monologue regarding whether or not now is the time to migrate to the sofa.
5) “I’m not tired” – this is usually said while yawning or collapsing on the floor in a fit of sulkiness. Or falling asleep standing up.
6) Singing – my daughter will sing to herself just to stay awake. I’m not sure how this works. If I would sing to myself in bed, at night, in the dark, I would either put myself to sleep out of sheer boredom or Maile would knock me out – either way, I wouldn’t be awake any more.
7) Poking themselves in the eye – my son Cade does this. Yes, the one who referred to nipples as first knuckles then nupples. We can always tell he is nearly asleep because he keeps sticking his index finger in the corner of his eye and peeling back his eye lid. Very strange.
8) Being good – this is when they go super-stealth. You might even forget they’re still awake, because they’ve retired to one corner of the room, surrounded themselves with books and toys, and are prepared to make their last stand Ghandi-style: completely nonresistant. You find yourself saying, “Oh, look at how nicely they are playing – what the heck, let them stay up for another half hour.” Before you know it, you’ve brushed your teeth, retired for the night, turned out the light, and suddenly realized you never put the kids to bed.
9) Making things up – this is sort of a last ditch effort. “But dad, we NEVER get to stay up late.” “But dad, you never read to us anymore.” “But dad, you’re just making me go to bed early because I’m being bad.” None of which are true. If they start with this one and somehow realize they’re making as much sense as Bryan Allain’s Cannarf rating system, they’ll usually retreat and go back to #1-#5.
10) “Ummmmm” – this is a new one for our family, introduced by Abra (pictured above), and I’ll admit: it’s got me stumped, mostly because I just don’t have the heart to simply walk out on her. It goes something like this:
Me: Good night, Abra. (kiss)
Abra: Gaggy? (that’s how she says Daddy)
Me: Yes, honey?
Me: Abra, what do you want sweet heart?
Me (frustrated): Okay, good night Abra (I turn to walk out).
So what’s your favorite kid’s stalling tactic?