stalling and war

by humanmama on September 13, 2011

I’m sure if you have had children, or even if you’ve ever babysat, you know the ridiculous tactics that they will go to in order to avoid bed. Sometimes they’re towards the good side of the Stalling Spectrum: “Mommy, please, can I have another book before bed?” (Doe eyes/quivering bottom lip are standard with almost all stalling bedtime requests.) But lately, my kids have gotten a little extreme in their stalling techniques.

Lilly is two, and recently just decided she’d like to be potty trained, so one day, in July, she just went on the potty and never wore a diaper again. At night and nap she still wears one, but all day long just underpants. We’ve had a couple of accidents, to be sure, but she actually did potty train herself, like the Legend of the Second Child Manual suggested might happen.

Just kidding, there is no manual. Sorry to get your hopes up!

Anyway, there are really wonderful things that go along with an early potty trainer! Yay us! Brag, brag! But you’re forgetting the really horrible. She learned instantly that she could forgo any consequence, or delay any situation simply by saying “I have to go potty!” She actually doesn’t say that, she says (in singsong) “I’m poooo-pin’!” So of course no matter how asleep you (she) should be, you awake full-throttle and run for the bathroom. The worst thing about it is that she actually does poop 75% of the time. Meaning she’s storing up her poop for the nighttime, just to delay bed. Well, perhaps you don’t think so, but if you knew her, you’d probably agree with me.

the new counter-terrorism unit

waterboarding schmaterboarding.

Then Helena. She’s five now, and absolutely chock full of the questions. She stores up the absolute best ones for bed. Like “Mommy, why aren’t your parents married?” among others. “Um,…” But then, even after her stockpiles of difficult questions are used up and you’re turning off the light and closing the door, she has a new method. “Um, mommy? Mommy? One more thing.” She says this like she’s an infomercial. “But wait! There’s more!” And then there’s always something unimaginable thrown in there for good measure. Tonight it was about the dog:

“goodnight, Helena, my darling. I’ll see you in the morning. Love you.”
“Um, Mommy? I have a question for you. WAIT! I HAVE JUST ONE MORE THING TO ASK YOU!”
-SIGH- “Yes, Helena, what is it?”
“Um, mommy? Um,” [picks toenail polish, scratches behind ear] um–“
“Goodnight, Helena. We’ll talk more in the morning.”
“Um, mommy? Can we paint Cocoa’s toenails in the morning?”
That is your question? Goodnight, we can talk about this in the morning.”
“BUT WAIT MOMMYIHAVEONEMORETHINGTOASKYOU!”
“Helena, Good NIGHT.”
“Mommy?”
“Yes?”
“Will you still love me when I’m big?”

And see? That’s the ultimate stall technique: say something loving. Damn! No parent can resist!

“I’ll always love you. GOODNIGHT.”
We should use them in warfare. No one would get hurt: just driven crazy with cuteness until they talk.

And believe me, they’d talk.

"just one more thing!"

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