We're playing a new game around our house at bedtime.
It's called You Suckers Don't Really Think I'm Going to Sleep, Do You? and so far, Small Fry is in the lead.
The object of the game is to do everything in your power to stay awake, dodging sleep at all costs. If you happen to drive one of your parents nuts, you get extra points. If you make BOTH of your parents raise their voices by one or more octives, you automatically advance to the highest level.
Small Fry starts off by getting out of the bed several times, first under the guise of having to go to the bathroom. Then he gets out the bed -- multiple times -- for no apparent reason other than the joy it brings him to be herded back to his room. You can almost read his little mind. Oh, these people are lunatics if they think I'm staying in here by myself. It's gonna take a lot more than that Mickey Mouse nightlight to keep me down.
We, and you know that "we" translates to I, explain that it's time to go to sleep and have sweet dreams, that our bodies need to rest up for all the playing we'll do tomorrow, and so on and so on. I've even resorted to telling Small Fry that Santa is watching and that if he doesn't go to sleep, Santa will bring lumps of coal. In eleven months.
We've tried the time-out route a few times, but all that does is give him an excuse to stay awake. Go to time out? Heck, yeah, man! Time out is awesome! No, time-out at bedtime doesn't do the trick.
We have a jar we keep in the kitchen called the Gem Jar. When the boys do something extra nice or helpful, like putting their dishes in the sink without being asked or picking up their toys without being asked (or fussing when we do remind them), we let them put a marble in the jar. Once it reaches a certain level, the boys get to pick something fun for all of us to do together, and they're only about ten marbles from their reward. They picked bowling as this jar's prize, so once it's full, we're off to the bowling alley. (What could be more fun than wearing used shoes and eating nacho cheese from a machine? Who wouldn't love that?)
Anyway, the prospect of adding a marble to the jar usually goes a long way with Small Fry. A few weeks ago I started beginning our bedtime routine by telling him that if he's quiet and still and goes to sleep without a fuss, he can put a marble in the jar when he wakes up the next morning. For a while it worked like a charm. So much so that I thought I might be named winner of the bedtime games.
A couple of weeks ago, Small Fry was particularly worked up around bedtime. I'd already put him back in his room several times and was sitting in there with him when I decided to bribe him remind him of the gem jar.
"If you want to put a marble in the jar tomorrow morning, you have to be quiet and still."
That stinker sat straight up and said, "I don't."
Huh? I'm sorry? Did I hear what I think I heard? Uh..uh...uh...
I was caught completely off guard. While it may show a high level of stupidity on my part, I never thought for a moment that he would ever say that.
Well played, Small Fry. Well played.
As I'm learning from the three-year-old, bedtime with small children is not for the faint of heart.
So, does anyone know where I can pick up a copy of Bedtime for Dummies?