I know I am not alone. That there are thousands of other parents dealing with "bedtime delay syndrome." My 5 year old is an expert.
Her best skill is making it look as though she is absolutely fine with the fact that it's bedtime. That she has no problem with closing her eyes and going to sleep. That she is looking forward to it actually...because it's been a long and tiring day.
But after the kisses and hugs and I Love You's have been exchanged. After she has been tucked in and provided with the chosen stuffie of the night along with pink blankie. After the door has been shut and we are finally sitting down to watch something on TV that is not animated or features a talking dolphin as the main character. After allowing enough time to make us think we are in the clear...the doorknob turns for the first time.
She usually starts with "I have to pee." And even though I know she just went I allow this. Because I really don't want to deal with the 3am accident call.
And then she's back in bed. 2 minutes later the door handle moves again.
Now she needs a drink of water. Forget the fact that this action completely negates her first out of bed activity...that is far too logical a thought for a 5 year old.
Then...she's back in bed.
Door handle movement #3. I need cream...my legs are itchy. Well she's got me there...she has eczema and I can't ignore this request.
Back to bed. Kisses. "No more getting out of bed okay?" "okay mummy...I promise."
Door handle number #4. Little liar....
My toenails are too long - can you cut them? There's a witch under my bed. I forgot to hang up my jacket. I missed you.
Take your pick because this excuse is always the lamest. And she knows it. I think she just tries because...why not...it's tradition.
So after years of this pattern I'm pretty much done with the whole thing. I try to make sure all potential excuses are dealt with before bedtime...but it doesn't always happen.
That's why she was able to catch me so off guard last week. As I tucked her in I made a mental checklist. Pee? Check. Water? Check. Cream? Check. Toenails? Cut. Witch under the bed? Out for the night. Jacket? Hung.
I was so confident that she would not be coming out that I actually made a cup of tea and sat on the couch with a contented sigh and turned on Netflix.
And then the doorknob turned.
"Mummy...I need to tell you something."
I exhaled loudly - clearly showing her my frustration - and headed into her room for what I was sure would be a question like - "why is the sky blue?" and instead found my little girl sobbing.
"Mummy...when I get older...and move out...I don't want to leave my pink blankie!"
I have no idea what brought it on...but my little love was truly inconsolable at the thought of having to live without her precious pink blankie. It took about 10 minutes of cuddling and reassurance and attempts at humour and distraction ("when you are an old lady you can wear pink blankie like a scarf!") to get her to stop crying.
Finally she calmed and I tucked her back in. Where she promptly threw the treasured pink blankie to the end of the bed, cuddled up with her bunny blankie instead and effectively dismissed me from her presence with an offhanded "good night mummy..."
Kids...they make no damn sense sometimes. Isn't it great?