We Have Reason To Believe You May Be A Terrorist

Stall. Stalling. Stalled. Staller.

How many times did my Mother yell “no more stalling, get to bed” and how many times did I lower my head and shuffle back down the hall?

The all-American bedtime stall is has begun in earnest around here and its kinda cute. Annoying, but cute. I only say its “cute” because a 4-year old can’t really trick me yet. For instance, if you get in your bed and I walk down the hall, there is NO WAY you have already fallen asleep and had a “bad dream” by the time I turn around. I mean, maybe you’ve fallen asleep in record time, but I’m guessing you haven’t had enough time to have any sort of thought other than “ok, I’m getting out of bed and telling her it was a bad dream.”

So yeah, the Count exiting his bed 1 full second after I’ve put him there is annoying, but rather hilarious that he thinks he’s pulling one over on me.

HRH Princess Peanut is much more slick. She’ll lay her wee head on my arm and pet me. All she says is “sleep Mamma? Sleep?” Which means, “crazy lady, lay down with me.”

They pull the usual need to go pee, need a drink of water, forgot my stuffed animal, etc. etc. etc. But I’m starting to like it when they run out of the regular excuses and try their hand and manipulation.

“Mom, you said 5 days ago that one day we would look at the stars and moon when its dark and we would make telescopes. So let’s GO! What do you mean NOT TONIGHT? But you SAID that…that ONE time…like a WEEK ago!”

“Mom I forgot to finish that game we were playing downstairs. And if I don’t finish it the game will never end. It will NEVER END, Mom. I have to go now and finish that game.”

But even better than the really lame excuses that don’t even make sense, are the reactions when I say “no.”

“Oh MOM this is my WORST NIGHT EVER. I have to go get that one puzzle piece to sleep with or this will be my WORST NIGHT EVER and I will NEVER SLEEP. I WILL NEVER SLEEP.”

I’ve been trying to remember what was so god-awful about going to bed. Why is it such torture? Obviously we all did this as kids. Its not like our children invented the bed-time stall. I think I used to fake sick. Or maybe need LOTS of water.

Whatever the reason I’m still trying to remember WHY I didn’t care to go to bed. Life was too exciting? I was way to busy? I had too many things to think about?

I want to know this because I think I can reason with my kids. Its my downfall as a parent. I want to reason with them. As any of you know, you can’t reason with a temper tantrum throwing 2-year old any better than you can reason with your couch. Yet I try. As Sarah and Bush say, “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.” I only adopt that reasoning part of the time. I need to implement it ALL of the time.

Assume children are terrorists. Do NOT attempt to reason with them. Always be on the offensive. Maybe stop short of Gitmo, but think about barbed wire for beds.

Alright, that might not work for us either. Its not a huge problem at our house yet, but I can see those little wheels spinning in those little heads and I can tell they will be champion stallers before Christmas. There is no bedtime battle as of yet, I’m just trying to be a good dictator and avoid one. You know, fight them now so I don’t have to fight them later.

Or is it inevitable? Maybe I can just bomb the shit out of their bedroom, you know…f’ up their infrastructure a bit. Then walk away. NOW SLEEP! HAHA! I mean, that sends one hell of a message. I’m in charge. I can make your life hell. Don’t mess with me. Go to bed.

Or I can try reasoning with them.

Or not.

I don’t know. I do know I’m lazy and don’t really have the energy to fight them there so I don’t have to fight them here. In fact, for now maybe I’ll just be amused at their attempts. Silly little terrorists.


  1. I have always said that reasoning with a 4 yr old and 2 yr old is like negotiating with a terrorist. It doesn’t happen. Not the way we would like for it to at least. I’m glad I’m not the only mom who thinks the same thought. You’d be laughing if you saw the crazy looks I get from people when I say the terrorist line.

  2. Mine tell me that they can’t sleep before they ever lay down.

    Lately it takes about 90 minutes before anyone goes to sleep.

  3. My mother used to always tell me that she refused to argue with anyone over the age of 2. I think she regretted telling me that when I got to be a teenager & got smart enough to quote it back to her. Heh.

  4. I think they harbor a secret suspicion that the REAL FUN begins for their parents, without them.

    And they would be right. (If you define “real fun” as watching TV that did not originate on Disney, Nick or Cartoon Network.)

  5. I’m the laziest mother ever when it comes to bedtime for Dawson. That is, I don’t force him to go to bed. I’m weak. And he usually falls asleep on the couch at 9 pm anyway, so I just carry him to his bed.

    Slacker Mom. That’s me.

    But what’s really strange is that I’m strict about everything else. How can this be? Heh.

  6. Paige has gone is phases… months where she happily runs to bed without a peep, and then months that are….well… not as nice.

    We are in a not as nice phase right now. She always needs “just one more”. One more kiss, one more story, one more song (we always sing at bedtime), one more stuffed animal. I always keep the routine the same, and when she asks for one more I tell her she can have one more in the morning when she wakes up. And I promptly leave, and much crying ensues, and 5 minutes later she is sound asleep.

    Part of me feels bad letting her cry herself to sleep, but I know nothing is REALLY wrong, and i also know if I give in she will think she can win all the time. I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED. Constant vigilance.

    We may not win all the battles, but we’ll win the war!!

  7. When Cordy won’t sleep, I always say she’s afraid she’ll miss the pony rides. She’ll fall asleep, and suddenly magical ponies will show up and offer all the kids rides, and they’ll be gone when she wakes up so she’ll miss it. That’s what it is – kids are afraid they’ll miss the pony rides.

    And damn, I wish I could go back to my kid self and tell her to sleep more. I didn’t know how good I had it.

  8. I found duct tape and bungy cords useful in getting my kids to stay in bed 🙂

  9. When I was little I asked my mom to come back to the bedroom EVERY NIGHT because I “needed a drink of water.” My mom still talks about that. And I still remember why I did it – because I wanted to see her. She thinks it’s cute NOW.

    There was a family with 4 kids for which (whom?) I used to babysit, and the second oldest always used to call me back after I’d gotten them to bed, pronouncing my name wrong in a hilarious way, and often when I would get there and ask, “what is it?” he would say, “ummmmmmm, uuuuuuuuuh, hmm…” LOL – kids.

  10. We used to do really well at the bedtime thing. I might have been a little smug about how easily my kids went to sleep. That has all changed now. I have a nocturnal son who sleeps all day and stays up all night. He sleepwalks, and because of this all 4 kids have learned to try to stall bedtime. It is making me crazy! I keep thinking it has to get easier, but so far no luck. My 9 year old will put herself to bed, so I suppose I’ll just wait until they all reach the age of 9 and then be set? If you find a good answer, let me know!

  11. I absolutely hate it! We start trying at 7 and it always ends up about 9:30 with our three kids. The last hour and a half is time we really need to get things done and have a bit of time for ourselves. My husband and I are so exhausted! To top it off, weekdays his job is so taxing that he works long hours and falls asleep when the kids do. On the weekends it is just taxi service and battles. Now, his health is starting to fail–he had an ulcer attack tonite when I had to be away with our eldest and he took the toddlers all am and then tried to help with bedtime this eve.

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