A toddler’s guide to bedtime stalling—in 30 steps
STEP 20: If you see your parent backing away slowly out the door, you have one option only. “Waaaaaaaaater!!!!!!”
Ilana Wiles is the genius behind the unwaveringly hilarious Mommy Shorts and the author of the upcoming book, The Mommy Shorts Guide to RemarkablyAverage Parenting. She writes about her remarkably average parenting experiences with her two daughters, Harlow and Mazzy, and all we can do is nod our heads in agreement.
Between wiping away tears and gasping for breath from laughing so much, we felt the need to share an insightful excerpt from her book. We think it will shed some light on the inner goings on of little ones around the world during that infamous hour of the day: bedtime.
Mazzy and Harlow may have both been successfully sleep-trained as babies, but as they became toddlers, they each became incredibly advanced in the art of “bedtime stalling.” This is the process of prolonging the bedtime routine by any means possible.
It goes a little something like this . . .
STEP 1: Make it as hard as possible for your parents to change you into your pajamas. This can be accomplished by running around the house at full speed and stopping for no one.
STEP 2: Hide.
STEP 3: When they finally catch you, scream, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!!”and kick your body out in every direction.
STEP 4: Cling to the floor.
STEP 5: Go limp and make yourself as heavy to pick up as possible.
STEP 6: Break free and run into the kitchen, screaming that you’re hungry. This works best if you barely ate dinner and your parents fear you will wake up starving at three a.m.
STEP 7: If your parents refuse to open the fridge, ask for a banana. Only the cruelest parent can turn down a toddler’s bedtime banana request.
STEP 8: Refer back to “rules for eating a banana” in the previous chapter.
STEP 9: When you have finished eating, don’t tell anyone. Wait until they discover you have finished.
STEP 10: Brush your teeth. Spit in the sink. Resume brushing. Keep repeating until someone tells you to hurry up.
STEP 11: Become fascinated with running water and wash your hands for as long as possible.
STEP 12: Become fascinated with towels and dry your hands for as long as possible.
STEP 13: When your parents aren’t looking, hide your blankie. Then say you can’t go to bed without it.
STEP 14: Take a long time selecting your bedtime book. When you finally select your book, make sure it is the longest one on the shelf. Don’t let your parent trick you by skipping pages.
STEP 15: When your parent is finished reading your book, beg them to read it again.
STEP 16: When your parent is finished reading the book again, ask for another book.
STEP 17: Suddenly claim a need to pee in the potty, even if(especially if) you have never successfully used the potty before.
STEP 18: Sit on the potty doing absolutely nothing until someone tells you it’s time to get up.
STEP 19: After you have been tucked in, complain about something really vague. Example: “It hurts! That thing!” Grunt and squirm for effect while your parent attempts to “fix it.”
STEP 20: If you see your parent backing away slowly out thedoor, you have one option only. “Waaaaaaaaater!!!!!!”
STEP 21: “Not that cup, the other cup!!!!!”
STEP 22: Ask for a Band-Aid. Actual boo-boo is unnecessary.
STEP 23: Once your parent returns with a Band-Aid, tell them you need a different Band-Aid. For instance, if your parent brings you a Jake and the Never Land Pirates Band-Aid, say you want a Frozen Band-Aid.
STEP 24: Once you have taken the Band-Aid situation as far as you can, ask your parent to sit in the room with you.
STEP 25: If your parent folds, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Milk these moments for as long as possible.
STEP 26: If you are still not ready to accept the inevitable, reach down inside yourself, dig as deep as you can, and do something amazing. Speak in full sentences, sing the alphabet, count to twenty—anything your parents have been trying and failing to film throughout the day can work.
STEP 27: Once you have run out of material, give a heartfelt“I love you.” It’s very hard for parents to walk out the door when they are finally getting the adoration they feel they deserve.
STEP 28: At this point, your parent probably feels it is safe to walk out. It’s time to start crying.
STEP 29: You have one last card up your sleeve. “Kiss and huuuuuuug!!!!!”
STEP 30: Hold on for as long and as tightly as possible.