Thursday, February 3, 2011

That awkward moment when your child calls your bluff

Hi there! I'm back from my holiday, settling into my new place slowly, and ready to blog some more. The kids are getting used to the new house, the backyard seems much more interesting and they have new, exciting bedrooms to destroy (I give them about 8 days.)

Moving house really disrupted their routine, as it tends to do when all of your things are in a box, and you suddenly live in a different town. Jack and Isabel have shared a room for maybe a year, and never been fantastic at going to sleep at night from toddlerhood up, but in a fresh house, they seem to have renewed energy levels for playing up at nighttime. In the past, we locked their doors with an extension cord- but then I kept needing to use an extension cord for things, so we progressed to a door lock fashioned out of some of Dave's old ties. This way, they can't come out of their room and eventually seem to give up and go to sleep.

In our new house, though, we have no tie-lock, unless I put it in a special box for weapons- to -use- on- children when we were packing, and haven't found it yet. So every five minutes, either Dave or myself bursts into their room with the usual "What's going on!? Back to bed. Blah blah. Random threat." After doing this for awhile, you quickly begin to realize if you have to go in every five minutes, what you are doing is not effective! Smacking bottoms- not working. Threats to take toys away for a whole day- not imminent, therefore not working. I'm tired and my brain is fried...I ran out of ideas. But then...

I burst into their room. (Using 'stern' voice...)"If I catch either of you out of bed or calling out AGAIN, you will go and sleep in the shed. Do you understand!??" They look at me with wide eyes and say "Yes Mummy," and I leave the room, satisfied that surely this time I have gotten through to them.

About 2 minutes later, almost on cue, it starts up again. Right! "Time to go to the shed." Jack panics. "No I'll be good! I'll stay in my bed!" and pulls his blanket up protectively. I reach out for Isabel and she quietly and compliantly takes my hand and follows me. "I like sleeping in the shed," she assures me," cos I'm brave."

Aww, crap.

I keep leading her to outside. "You know it's very dark in the shed".
"And you'll be all by yourself."
I know, here I am helping my child develop a phobia of the shed. Gold star for Mummy.

So I just keep marching her to the shed, pretending I, and not my three year old daughter, am in control. I will not lose to a three year old. I refuse.

We get to the shed and I open it up. I look around and wonder what I actually expected her to do in there. Oh well, keep acting, can't show weakness. "Lie down,"I instruct her, and she obediently lies down on the concrete. I can't believe how pathetic this is. "Good night." I walk out the door leaving it open, and go back inside to sit down with my husband who has just witnessed my embarrassment. And now I wait.

Luckily for me, within a few minutes, Isabel returns and announces she is ready to stay in her bed, giving me an out. (YES!) So keeping up the stern facade, I escort her back to her bed.

And you know what? They both went to sleep without any more trouble. Dave thinks this is pure coincidence. I have no comment.

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