Oh bedtime. Never has anything been so wished for by parents, and so dreaded all at the same time. We love our little ones, and we love spending time with them, but we also need a break—so that we don’t lose it and kill those little creatures of mischief and mayhem. If kids only knew how much bedtime is in their best interest, they wouldn’t fight it so much. Kids have so many survival instincts, so how come they don’t pick up on the wide-eyed, mommy’s-going-crazy look, and get their little butts to bed, pronto.
As much as we love the peace and quiet that follows the fast-asleep child, bedtime routines can be dreaded and tiresome affairs, and if your kid is anything like mine, the routine can become a battle of wits and will. Whose willpower will hold out the longest? Just like I always lose at staring contests, I usually lose the Battle of Bedtime Domination. “But sleeping is boring,” my youngest tells me. You’ve got me there, kid. “But, sleeping is good for you! I swear it!” I rebut. His tiny skeptical brows suggest I won’t be winning this battle anytime soon. Some of us just give up the bedtime routine altogether, convinced it’s not worth the fight. They’ll go to bed when they’re ready.
We’ve got to give it to kids, though. For a group of tiny, powerless individuals, they sure do know how to manipulate the adults in their lives to extend playtime for just ‘five more minutes’, and to keep those heavy-lidded eyes open just a teensy bit longer. Here are 15 hilarious bedtime stalling tactics kids use on their parents.
15 Difficult-To-Answer Life Questions
"Mommy?" he asks. “Can I ask you a difficult life question, twenty minutes past my bedtime, which will take you another twenty minutes to explain? During the explanation, I will ask 'why' 50 times, and I will tell you I still don't understand, all in an effort to extend bedtime for as long as possible. I don't know why I hate bedtime so much, but I do, so can you please be very detailed in your explanation. If you aren’t specific enough, I will ask you to start the whole explanation over again, and that will be your fault. "
“Well yes, Junior. That sounds like a great idea! There never was a better time to ask those important questions, than right before bedtime when you are at your sleepiest. I LOVE spending 40 minutes explaining something to you, which you are too tired to actually remember, and are probably too little to really comprehend. But sure, fire away!”
14 Getting PJs On Takes A Very Loooong Time
“Now Mom, I know that normally I'm too lazy to put my own shoes on, or clean up my toys—that's because I don't really like doing it—cuts into my playtime, you see? But at bedtime, I suddenly become overcome by this desire to do everything on my own. 'I do it!' is my new motto. Yeah, I realize I can't actually get my arms through those holes (why are there so many holes in a shirt?), but I simply must try! My pride is at stake here! You understand pride, don’t you mother? You will just have to let me figure it out on my own. How am I ever going to learn, if you always do everything for me? Side note—this only applies at bedtime. The rest of the day you have my full permission to clean all my messes, put my clothes on for me, and feed my ‘like a baby’, etc. Good talk.”
13 I Can't Find My Lovey
Thing 1: Hey bro, did you hide your lamb-lamb, like I told ya? Please say you hid it! That will buy us at least another half hour, if you hid it well...
Thing 2: Yeah, dude. I remembered to hide it. Last time you-know-who found it under the bed, so I hid it under the couch cushions this time. She'll never find it! We've got at least another hour to play while she searches the house frantically for it, I'm sure of it.
Thing 1: Nice! Proud of you. And I hid all of my binkies in the flushy thingie. I’m not sure if I’m happy about that, or sad, so I’ve been crying at random throughout the day. I don’t know why she hasn’t figured out why I’m upset. Sometimes, I feel like Mom is a few blocks short of a tower. On the bright side, looks like another all-nighter! Whoop, whoop!
12 The Guilt Trip
“Listen Mom, we need to have a little chat. I need more cuddles, and I need them now. No, no, you listen! You have been busy all day, cooking, doing laundry, washing the dog, washing me, washing the floors, picking up after me, scrubbing my fingerprints off the wall, keeping me from jumping off the stairs 'like Superman'. I mean, who does that? Spoilsports do. Is that what you are? Also, you have barely spent any time with me all day. What kind of mother are you, anyway? I'll answer that for you, a selfish one. I need attention and you haven't been giving it to me. That blowout on the bed received more of your time than I did today, so now you're going to give your time to me at bedtime. Don't blame me for this. It's you who've got your priorities mixed up. Get it together, woman!”
11 I'm Starving To Death
"I'm starving. What is wrong with you? You've only fed me 22 times today, and you ought to know by now that I need to be fed a solid 26 times. If I didn't love you so much I would call the authorities on you—for neglect. I'm a growing kid. I would think you should understand that if I want to grow up big and strong, I've gotta eat. A lot. And especially at bedtime. You want me to go to bed right now? Ha! Not without a bowl of cereal, two Go-Gurts, and a Pop-Tart. Wait, what did you just say? You want me to eat a vegetable? If it's a green one, I'm running away right now. An orphanage would be better than staying with parents who want me to eat those ghastly, poisonous things. Do you want me to die? Of healthiness? Yeah, that's a thing. Healthy people just drop dead…and I’m sure it’s because their parents fed them vegetables.”
10 I'm Scared. Of My Soft, Fluffy Bed.
“What exactly am I scared of, you ask? Of sleeping in this cozy bed with all the soft blankets and pillows, that's what. This stuffed animal pile, which is basically a mountain of cuteness, is absolutely terrifying. No. Don't mock. All that fluff is bound to suffocate me in my sleep, and then won't you feel bad. I am very afraid, and no, I'm not exaggerating. I may not seem that scared—in fact—I might seem downright cozy, but appearances are deceiving. I need the nightlight on too, please. Nope. Brighter. Brighter I said, aren't you listening? The nightlight needs to be shining brighter than ten thousand suns. Wait! Don't go. I'm still terrified. I can't articulate what it is that I'm afraid of, maybe it's just that I want to manipulate you into letting me stay up, who knows? It would be breaking the kid code if I shared that information with you; so pretend I never said that. You better just sleep in here with me…probably the easiest thing all around. There's a good mommy.”
9 I'm Outta Here
"Whenever the rest of my ploys aren't working on you, I've got one last-ditch effort--flight! I may look small, but I've got fast legs, like the Roadrunner. I zig and I zag, and I squirm and wriggle, and then I can be loose like a noodle, and slippery as my boogers. If I don't want to go to bed, I'm not gonna. And that's final! I know you want to have some—what's it called again—'me time'? But, why would you ever want to have time away from me? I don't get it. I'm cute and curious, and I'm full of awesomeness. Sometimes people think they know what they want, but it's not really what they need. Well, I happen to know what you need, and it happens to be more time with me! So, next time you try to tuck me in all cozy-like, I'm springing out of bed like the Dreaded Sleep lurks under those covers. You better get your head in the game, cause I'm outta here!"
8 I Suddenly Need To Pee
"When you gotta go, you gotta go. I don't know why you’re giving me that look, just because I have to go at bedtime. Don't you want me to learn how to use the potty? No skin off my nose if I use the bed for my personal toilette. I'm not the one who's gotta change the sheets, you know. Why am I taking so long, you ask? Maybe it's stage fright. It's a lot of pressure to go on demand, with you hovering over me with those desperate eyes. Let me just chill here on this throne for a bit with my book. Go ahead and walk away...I'll let you know when I'm done. Nope. Not done yet. Still not done. I think I might have to stay awake for a while, just in case. No. Don’t put a Pull-up on me; I’m not a baby anymore. Don’t fuss. I’ll go when I’m ready. That's right, walk away. Bye, Felicia."
7 I'm Dying Of Thirst
"I'm thirsty," she says.
"But, I just gave you some water five minutes ago," I reply.
"Is that supposed to mean something to me? Does that change the fact that I'm thirsty? Water makes up something like 75% of my body, and I need it to survive. Would you really deny me the most important element of my survival? That's low, Mom. I shouldn't even have to ask you for it, you should just know. So what if it's bedtime? Thirsty is thirsty, no matter what time of the day it is. Go get me some water, lady, chop chop. Oh, you might want to bring me, like, five glasses, because chances are I'm going to want some more. Or, I might spill it—just so you have to get even more. No, this is not a stalling tactic. I would never! What are you talking about? Mmmm-hmm, that’s what I thought.”
6 I Can't Decide Which Book To Read
"You know, there are an awful lot of books on this shelf, and I can't even read yet. Why are you standing behind me trying to pick out books for me? It feels like you're rushing me, and I don't really appreciate it. This is a very important decision. I'm trying to decide which book will take the absolute longest to read, and then I plan on begging you to read it two, or maybe three, times. If you refuse, I will interrupt you multiple times, even if there are only two sentences on the page. No, I'm not doing it on purpose. I really must know why Mr. Giraffe doesn't want to play with Mr. Lion. Why are you yanking on your hair like that? I don’t think that’s good for your scalp. OMG, I think I just saw a grey hair pop out of your head. Just give in to my demands already, your hair will thank you."
5 Something, Somewhere On My Body Hurts
"I seem to get injured a lot around bedtime. I'm not quite sure how it happens, but it does. Did I say it was my left food that hurt? No, I meant my right food. Or maybe it was my right ear. Doesn't matter. I'm in pain, Mom. Comfort me. Just because you can't see anything, doesn't mean I'm not hurting. Doubting me makes me feel like you don't trust me. Would I lie to you? Of course not. I'm too young to deliberately tell a fib, just to stay up a little later. I would have to be some sort of evil genius to tell all those lies, and keep them all straight, too. So, like I told you, my pinkie hurts really bad. Yeah, the big finger. That's the one. Kiss it and make it all better, please. Why don’t I feel any sympathy coming from you? How would you feel if I was really hurting, and you didn’t do everything you could to make me feel better?"
4 I Really Want A Different Lullaby
"We kids have the right to change our minds, don't we? I've seen you when you're shopping at Target, and you change your mind at least ten times, and it's over the agonizing decision of which grey throw blanket to purchase. I think I should be able to demand a different lullaby at bedtime. Lullabies are meant to be soothing, and lull me to sleep, which is exactly why I want some hard rock instead of these terrifying nursery rhymes. I mean, have you even listened to them? They're positively horrifying. Everyone's all like, 'video games cause serial killers', and I'm over here like, 'it's the lullabies'. Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall and shattered? Is that some sort of metaphor warning me to be careful? Well, it's terrifying. What about the little old lady in the shoe? Maybe if she had just kept her legs closed, we wouldn't be singing this stupid nursery rhyme. And don’t even get me started on Rock-A-Bye Baby. That song makes me the opposite of sleepy, so good choice."
3 My Teeth Aren't Clean Enough
"I really don't understand you, Mom. You want me to do things like brush my teeth, wash my hands, go to bed, but it's only on your time. Why are you so self-centered? I overhead you (don't think I didn't), telling your friends that everything would be wonderful once you got me 'on your schedule'. Why does it have to be your schedule? Why don't you love me as I am? Well, I'm done dancing to your tune, Mom. It just so happens that I like brushing my teeth at bedtime. And unless you want me to stop brushing them all together, I suggest you stop being so picky about when and how I do it. Do you want my teeth to get rotten? By the way, has anyone ever told you that you're a bit controlling? Not judging, just saying. Control freak is not a good look on you.”
2 I Can't Sleep If My Room Is Messy
"So here's the thing, I don't care about messes. In fact, I kind of love them. I hear you way up there, saying it's dangerous because 'someone' could trip and fall, and blah blah. But, I don't even walk yet, so I'm not the one tripping and falling anywhere. Why you gotta put your problems on me? These toys are all my size and they don't hurt me. I really find toys scattered all over the floor extremely comforting. That's why I dump out the bucket of toys, right after you've just filled it. Do you want me to feel comfortable in my own home? Then just leave the toys where they are. The only exception to this rule is bedtime. I suddenly feel overwhelmed by clutter, and I MUST clean before I go to sleep. Not an hour beforehand, mind you, I'll just feel that itch to mess it all up again. It must be exactly at bedtime. Teriff."
1 Why Do You Get To Stay Up,
"For some strange reason, parents want to be the boss of their children. They think they 'know best' and they tell us when to sleep, when to eat, what to wear, and how many games we can play. Maybe you think it's right that you get to stay up late when I can't, but I don't like it. It's for that reason alone that I feel compelled to buck this unjust system. Millions of children all over the world feel exactly like I do, so there must be a problem. Why can't you see it? I'm not tired, I don't want to go to bed, it's not fair that you get to go to bed whenever you want, and I want another story. If you don't start doing as I say, I’m going to start rebelling in ways you won't expect, like hiding your car keys. Yep, I've done it before and I'll do it again. I have a whole arsenal of ways to make you pay for your subjugation of a weaker class of people. Horton said it best, 'A person's a person, no matter how small.' Treat me like it, or else."