Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Enter Sandman: The Nighttime Negotiation

Friday, 18 May 2018

Enter Sandman: The Nighttime Negotiation

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, following an Oscar worthy performance of surprise when the allotted bed time hour rolls around, a toddler will resolutely refuse to go to sleep on those evenings on which you need them to most. These evenings include, but are not limited to:

1. When you have cobbled together enough energy and enthusiasm for a rare night out and have promised the rather shell shocked looking babysitter that the children will be asleep for the duration.

2. Following a particularly hard day at the office (be it actual, home or metaphorical); when you have expended every last ounce of patience placating Nora the office nag/Nigel from accounts/Ned the tyrannical toddler.

3. When you have any form of urgent, non toddler friendly activity to undertake e.g. the home hair dye when you are less roots and more bad ombre, any computer based activity (see bill paying, blogging, on line shopping, etc.), long overdue marital relations (oh it feels good to laugh.)

These are the evenings on which the toddler will take it upon themselves to inhabit the role of cocaine addled Wall Street banker circa 1985. Their meticulously choreographed bedtime revolt will undoubtedly follow five similar stages to those of grief:

Stage One: Denial
At the mere mention of bed the toddler will instantly find great interest in a previously ignored plaything, probably previously relegated to the bottom of the over filled toy box which they will undoubtedly need to violently ransack to locate afore mentioned object. This toy shall utterly consume them to the point that they will be unable to hear repeated requests to brush their teeth, use the potty or stop torturing the family pet.


"Bedtime you say? We're off..."


Stage Two: Anger
At the point in which you need to step in and physically extricate them from the situation, proffer the toothpaste laden brush towards their person and plop them on the urine receptacle they shall mount one of two responses:
(1)   Writhe around like a fish on dry land until you are forced to put them down for fear of dropping them (which would only serve to delay bed time further – eyes on the prize, people.)
(2)   Full body plank with such rigidity that you fear rigor mortis has set in.

He is a wily character...

Stage Three: Bargaining
If your toddler has mastered the art of verbal communication they will likely attempt to play on your emotions, weakened by the day’s events and guilt for your unfettered joy at the potential of parting with your beloved offspring, you will likely be wholly susceptible to their doe eyes, petted lips and pleads for “just one more stowy” (knowing full well that they can pronounce the ‘r’s’ with aplomb when they are demanding rice cakes, raisins and Raa Raa the Reprehensible Lion.) Should your toddler be yet to vocalise they will employ their inner thespian, using the body as a tool to pluck at your heart strings. There will be clammy hands thrown around the neck, deep and desperate cuddles that make you feel indispensable; the absolute definition of their continued wellbeing. You will be convinced that a few minutes more body contact will eventually result in a bedtime without reproach. You will be wrong though.  


Just 5 more minutes....

Stage Four: Depression
The tears will flow. And flow. Then they will ebb, and you may even get hopeful, but then they will flow. You shall wait outside the door listening to their anguished cries citing your failure to love them as the reason that they can no longer go on. You will feel bad.


You will feel (and potentially look) bad

Stage Five: Acceptance
The good news is that no child has actually stayed up all night (don’t quote me on that) and they will eventually tire themselves out and have to submit to slumber. There is, however, the distinct possibility that by the time this happens you will have missed the event you were meant to be attending, witnessed your babysitter running for the hills with arms flailing or fallen asleep yourself.


   ...and relax

Sorry about that.  



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