Well Played, Mouse

March 29th, 2011

Do you ever get the feeling you’re being played?  Like, say, when your two year old — having been read to, sung to, snuggled, hugged, kissed, and tucked into bed — suddenly sits bolt upright to exclaim slyly “I have to go potty.


We went through this four, yes four, times tonight as I tried in vain to put the child to bed.  Josh is usually in charge of bedtime but he has Bible Study on Tuesday nights.  Tonight was my first time on bedtime duty since we moved Miss Mouse to her big girl bed. 

It didn’t go well.  When Josh arrived home, an hour after her bedtime, he was greeted by the sight of a pajama-clad Mouse sitting happily on the couch next to me, flipping the pages of a book.  “Hi, Daddy” — she announced cheerily.  And five minutes later, she was in bed.

Clearly, one of us is a sucker.  And just as clearly, she knows which one it is.

She’s always been able to wheedle extra hugs, kisses, stories, etc. out of me, but I’m at a loss for how to combat this new onslaught of bedtime avoidance.  She has picked the perfect weapon — the potty.  And it wasn’t just the potty.  It was the Big P: Poop. 

She kept claimed she had to poop and I was powerless to out think her.  Because I can’t be sure she’s not telling the truth.  And making her sleep in her mess all night to teach her a lesson about power struggles at bedtime is unthinkably horrible. 

And I also have fears about giving her a potty-related complex by responding negatively to her requests to use the potty.  Which sounds far-fetched, except that we know a couple who has a child with just such a complex and it’s a huge big problem. 

Our current plan of attack is to work on her potty independence.  So that if she wants to trot to the bathroom half a dozen times, she’s welcome to do so…by herself.  One of the principles of the Love and Logic school of discipline is to know what you can and cannot control.  I cannot make her go to sleep.  Thus, my goal needs to be to get to a place where I, at least, can go about my evening business and not be sucked into two hour bedtimes games.

Anybody got strategies that have worked for you?

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