Marianna has had a string of unpleasant bed time episodes over the past week--crying, moaning, asking for blanket, socks, water, bathroom time, different pajamas, another bedtime book, a princess gummy--nothing is exempt. Of course I've made it top priority to nip this in the bud and go back to normal! So yesterday I came up with a somewhat brilliant plan. What if we could make bedtime similar to Chuck E. Cheese? Wouldn't that put a brighter face on things? It certainly would for me.
Here is how I formulated the plan in my mind. There would be tokens that could be earned for good pre-bed behavior. One for going up to bed immediately without protest, one for going potty, and one for putting on pjs and pull up with out delay or complaint. This gave the possibility for three tokens to be earned.
Now comes the exciting part. These tokens can then be spent for the things she most desires after we have tucked her into bed. For example, if Ruffy the dog falls out of bed and she cannot get him herself, she can call up, "Mom, will you please get Ruffy?" and I in turn will reply, "Do you have a token to give me?" And I will go up, get paid one token, restore Ruffy to the bed, and then go back downstairs. If her blanket comes off her feet, again, the remaining tokens can be used. If she would rather save the token for something more important, she can fix the blanket herself. It was my hope that this new system would restore some fun to bedtime, while at the same time, eliminating the endless requests we've found ourselves submerged in throughout the bedtime hour.
Last night the time comes for me to lay out the plan. I cut three green tokens from construction paper and deliberately place them in front of her, laying the bait. She looks interested. We go through a mock round of bed time where all three tokens are successfully earned and spent. And then it was time for the real deal. I asked Marianna to give Nathan a kiss and go upstairs. The first token was officially up for grabs. She hesitated, telling me she needed 20 more minutes. I hand her the green token and say, if you want this, you need to go upstair right away. Marianna grabs it from my hand, and I momentarily think we've gained victory...all the way until she makes it over to the trash can where she promptly disposes of token number one.
She is taken to bed against her will, made to potty against her will, and then finally earns a token (all the while telling me she does not want it) for putting her pajamas on quickly and without complaint. I leave the token on her bedside table and tell her she can use it to call us up if she needs it. I kiss her and go downstairs to see if my creative bedtime ploy will work. She comes out of her room a few minutes later, something she knows is off limits, and Nathan immediately tells her to go back in. She starts crying, almost hysterically, telling us that she has to throw some trash away. Nathan tells her to drop it through the stair rail to him and he will throw it away from her. She runs to the stairs and releases.
Down fluttered the mangled green token.
When she had gone back in her room, Nathan and I laughed our heads off. So much for my plan for bedtime ingenuity =).