Not negotiating with terrorists seemed reasonable until I went and had a baby. As an infant, my son would hold hostage my bedtime. His witching hour was around 2 am, which gave me the illusion of a dilemma between watching Extreme Makeover again or early morning infomercials. Some of the products sounded really brilliant through the thick fog of sleep deprivation. Maybe my life would be vastly improved by space saving vacuum bags and I’ve been wrongfully denying myself valuable storage space all these years. And just like those infomercials, my son’s insomnia always announced with an overly enthusiastic, “But wait… there’s more!”
There was more, indeed. It never really stopped.
I would love to take this as concrete evidence that my company is so delightful he can’t bear the thought of separating from me. He struggles to keep his eyelids from closing, confident his mother’s comedic genius awaited if only he persisted in his mission to deprive her of crucial REM time. To give him the benefit of the doubt, it is equally likely my kind-hearted son is so enamoured with the adorableness of sheep that he can’t be bothered to count them.
I can always count on him to come up with an innovative reason why he needs to not go to bed at his designated time. One night he desperately required an extension to consume more spaghetti squash. Part of me was like, “That’s a lot of commitment to healthy eating, maybe I should hear him out.” Another part of me was like, “Don’t go down the alley! It’s a trap! He just wants to steal hugs and kisses and replace them with dark bags under your eyes!”
Sometimes, to avoid these telltale circles, I begrudgingly permit him to crawl into my bed. He shares my genetic ability to turn into Gumby and stretch to occupy a statistically improbably quantity of bed space. He then regales me with the symphonic range of his snoring, with the percussion section represented by the rhythmic grating of his little teeth. But wait, there’s more! He also talks in his sleep, so there’s intermittent a cappella vocalizations alternating with strange sounds like the ones belugas make at the aquarium. My slumbering offspring subsequently becomes a barnacle, permanently affixed to my back to ensure the racket is positioned as close to my ears as possible. He doesn’t want me to miss a thing.
I think that comes from a place of empathy, because he doesn’t want to miss a thing. The smoothest bedtimes are when he lays in bed, watching me toil away in the kitchen. He says it reminds him I’m taking good care of him. This sounds like an incredible con but he’s very convincing when he relays this rationale for dish soap instead of bubble bath at the end of the day.
I admit that occasionally I do negotiate with terrorists. Holding him in my arms by the glow of his night light, I feel like we both win. He has taken my heart hostage completely. When it comes to loving him, just wait…there’s more!
How do your kids avoid bedtime?