BEDTIME STALLING 101 is a course Mazzy taught a few years ago. She has since passed the torch to her little sister, who teaches a way more advanced class. Let’s call this Bedtime Stalling 102. I’ll let Harlow (aka @insta2yearold) take over from here.
STEP 1: Tell your parents you are in the middle of a poop, so they must wait it out before they change your diaper.
STEP 2: When it seems pretty clear you have pooped and your parents reach out to change you, make your whole body stiff, open your eyes wide and say, “NOT FINISHED YET.”
STEP 3: 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 4: Hide.
STEP 5: When they finally catch you, scream “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” and kick your body out in every direction possible.
STEP 6: CLING TO THE FLOOR.
STEP 7: When that doesn’t work, go limp and try to make yourself as heavy to pick up as possible.
STEP 8: Tell them you’re hungry. This works best if you barely ate dinner and your parents fear you will wake up starving at 3am.
STEP 9: Break free and run into the kitchen, crying in front of the fridge to really bring the “hungry” point home.
STEP 10: If your mom refuses to open the fridge, ask for a banana. Only the cruelest parent can turn down a toddler’s bedtime request for a banana. Cantaloupe requests are less likely to be received well, but you never know.
STEP 11: Once you have your food item, sit down and get comfortable. You are going to try and drag this out for as long as possible.
STEP 12: When you finished eating (i.e. scraped that piece of cantaloupe down to the rind), don’t tell anyone. Wait until they discover you have finished.
STEP 13: When they attempt to take you to bed, scream “STILL HUNGRY!” (This probably won’t work but it’s worth a shot.)
STEP 14: When your mom puts toothpaste on the toothbrush, yell “NOT THAT TOOTHBRUSH!” even though you have no other tooth brush.
STEP 15: Brush your teeth for as long as possible. Spit in the sink. Even if it’s just pretend spit because you don’t really know how to spit. Then resume brushing. Repeat until someone tells you to hurry up.
STEP 16: Become fascinated with running water and wash your hands for as long as possible.
STEP 17: Become fascinated with towels and dry your hands for as long as possible.
STEP 18: When your parent isn’t looking, hide your blankie or comfort item. Then cry because you can’t go to bed without it.
STEP 19: Take a long time selecting your bedtime book. Make sure the book you ultimately select is a the longest one on the shelf. I recommend Eloise or Busy Town. Also effective are those big board books with hundreds of flaps. If you read a flap book, MAKE SURE YOUR PARENT LETS YOU OPEN EVERY SINGLE FLAP. Even better— the “look and find” books where you have to find small items hidden in huge complicated pictures. YOU CAN TAKE FOREVER!!!!
STEP 20: When your parent is finished reading your book, beg for them to read it again.
STEP 21: When your parent is finished reading the book again, ask for another book.
STEP 22: Suddenly claim a need to pee in the potty, even if (especially if) you have never successfully used the potty before.
STEP 23: Sit there doing nothing until someone tells you it’s time to get up.
STEP 24: After you have been tucked in, complain about something being uncomfortable but be really vague about what it is. Example: “It hurts! That thing!” Grunt and squirm for effect.
STEP 25: While your parent is trying to figure out what is wrong by fluffing pillows, shifting your pajama top and smoothing out the blanket, keep making vague comments like, “No! Not that thing! The other thing!” Do not rest until your parent has changed your pajamas entirely.
STEP 26: If you see your parent backing slowly away out the door, you have one option only. “WAAAAAAAAATER!!!!!!”
STEP 27: “NOT THAT CUP, THE OTHER CUP!!!!!”
STEP 28: Locate something, anything that resembles a small scratch or cut. Then ask for a band aid. If you can’t find anything, just point to your leg adamantly. If you believe it is there, your parent will have to believe it too.
STEP 29: If your parent says your boo-boo doesn’t require a band aid, DO NOT ACCEPT THIS. Scream “It hurts! It hurts!!!!” until they are forced to listen to you.
STEP 30: 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 Neverland Pirates band aid, say you want a Frozen band aid.
STEP 31: When your parent returns with a Frozen band aid, say they brought you the wrong character. “NOT ELSA, I WANT ANNA!!!”
STEP 32: Once you have taken the band aid situation as far as you can, ask your parent to “sit” or lie in bed with you.
STEP 33: If parent folds, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Milk these moments for as long as possible.
STEP 34: If you are still not ready to accept the inevitable, this is when you must pull out all the stops. 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 35: 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 36: At this point, your parent probably feels it is safe to walk out. I suggest crying to prolong your goodbye.
STEP 37: Once your parent leaves, continue crying. If he or she comes back, repeat STEPS 34-36.
STEP 38: At this point, your parent is starting to feel weak and manipulated. A final goodnight is near.
STEP 39: Your parent has left. Try to relax. Close your eyes for a moment. Are you sleeping yet? No? Okay, you have one last card up your sleeve. “KISS AND HUUUUUUUG!!!!!” This is guaranteed to bring your parent back no matter how many times you have used this tactic in the past.
STEP 40: Hold on for as long and as tightly as possible.
STEP 41: Let go. Give in. Sleep. (You can try to stay up all night again tomorrow.)
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