Monday, October 27, 2008

creativity deferred

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 =).

26 comments:

Jessica said...

It is a brilliant plan... sorry it didn't work! We are in the midst of nap/bedtime struggles, too, and it is about to do me in! If you figure anything else out that might work, please email me or tell Macy : )

Anonymous said...

Angie - I know bedtime can be a struggle and even teenagers are difficult to get them to go. What a great idea. THanks for making me chuckle. I really enjoy your blog. THanks for continuing to share your life. Livona

SSU said...

This made me chuckle quite a bit. You definitely have a strong-willed child!

julie said...

i love that kid!

Anonymous said...

My mouth was open the minute I got to the first token being tossed! I was cracking up!

Our first was just as strong-willed, as the other person said, and it's exactly the term we used for it, because I found a book that described her so well, entitled The Strong Willed Child.
connie

Angie said...

I've read that book, Connie, and it certainly is true. She is a sweetheart, but there is nothing naturally compliant about her. With the ups and the downs, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Jena Baker said...

Angie--We had a time with our oldest son. I thought we had tried every trick in the book. This was something we didn't think of. Thanks for making me laugh today! Hope tonight goes better.

KrazyMom said...

Just remember that having a strong willed child will one day be a huge blessing when she is facing peer pressure! No one will talk her into doing anything she doesn't want to do!

Thanks for the laugh.

Chrissy said...

lol...it was/is a good idea. I almost just considered if such would work w/ an 8 and 12 year old! hmmm, how could I incorporate such with the one who "needs' the TV on in order to fall asleep and the other who "needs" hot chocolate, every night, 3 minutes before bed time! Thanks for the laugh tonight!

Peter and Kate said...

That was a great story. We are struggling with bedtime at our house too.

Laurie said...

Oh Angie,

These "little people" are just too clever for their own good!! Such a good plan and her wittiness cracks me up! Reminds me of my grandson Isaac who tries to stay ahead of me one step at a time. You have to love them:) And the "token toss", priceless. I love you Angie and love to hear the stories of everyday life in your home. Have a great week.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Emily said...

That is so funny!! I, too, have a strong willed little person living in my home! Bedtime is filled with "I'm thirsty" or "please read me a bible story"(my personal favorite because they know you can't say no to a bible story!). It was a valiant effort on your part & a great idea!! Good luck with future efforts!!
Emily

Staci said...

I have been through the same struggles with my strong willed 5 year old son and even stronger willed 3 year old daughter. The only thing I can say is it lasted about a month and then things went back to normal...well, whatever normal is anyway. By the way, I have also read a great book called Setting Limits with your Strong Willed Child. Great book...lots of ideas...some have worked for us...would work lots better if the kids could read the book too and see how they should respond :)

Adam & Amy Wilson said...

oh my goodness, that was hilarious! marianna is most definitely not dealing with "deferred creativity". she seriously has the greatest personality ever. :) (praying for a good bedtime experience tonight.)

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Angie,
This stuff is so cute and funny (when you are not in the midst of it). I remember when Allison went through this once (she does it here and there) and she got her last warning and she yelled in a fake cry desperation voice, " please Daddy, I am going to poop in my pants, .......I mean it......I guess nobody is coming.....Please Daddy come up.....not my pretend Daddy, not my make believe Daddy, but my Daddy named Chris.....please come up.....my door is the one that does not have the horse on it (her sister's room has a horse on it). I was laughing in my pillow between the tears of frustration. I will never forget it.
Thanks for the sweet laugh.
Kim

Anonymous said...

Hahaha adorable story! I am wondering if the token concept was a bit too complex for her to grasp. But it was creative!

Kenzie said...

Oh my goodness Angie... each time I hear stories I KNOW that her and Deacon would be the best of friends... SO alike. :) It's funny because these struggles, and our creative ways to address them, seem to consume my mind at the time, and then a few weeks later, seem to somehow get resolved. I wish I could remember that when I'm going crazy trying to make my "plan" work :) She is hilarious and I hope that you guys can find something that works!

love ya girl!
Kenz

laura said...

i rarely post- but this reminds me so much of my girls. (so far my boy hasn't done this!) hang in there- you will find a strategy that works- usually it's less elaborate than the ones that we make up ourselves. my daughter threw a fit in barnes and noble (on the floor, crying, kicking, etc.) as i was trying to purchase Dobson's book- so i'm there with you! my favorite parenting book(s)thus far: Don't Make Me Count to Three (ginger plowman) and Grace-Based Parenting. praying for the nightime stuggles!

Anonymous said...

a way to modify it:
your token system is good but still encourages her to call for you 3 times after going to bed. instead, she earns those 3 bedtime tokens, and if she goes to bed without calling for you at all, she gets her 4th token (in the morning). once she earns say 10 tokens (or however many you like), she gets...a special snack? a video? some kind of prize.

Always Been Different said...

Now that's my kinda kid!!

Laurie said...

Hey Girl,

Just checking in and I just LOVE the new look here. The title is precious and so true. I hope your weekend is a wonderful one and as bright as this new look!!:) I love you Angie.

Laurie in Ca.

leslianne said...

you make me laugh:) i miss you!

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Dear Angie,
I was thinking of you and Poppy Joy yesterday - just wanted you to know. I can't believe it's been over a year since I met your sweet girl through your blog. She and her mommy will always be a blessing to me.
Love you,
Kim

Anonymous said...

LOVE the new look!!!

ajc4ever said...

Oh my, this story made me laugh and laugh so much that I had to share it with my hubby. Our 6 yr son is just like this...so strong willed. The most brilliant plans sometime just DON'T work. Keep up the good work...that's all you can do. Thanks for the hilarious story.

JMom said...

As a mama who struggles with bedtime and who loves creative parenting ideas I was hanging on every word of this post thinking about how it might help things here...then I reached her response and I giggled b/c it is SO similar to what would happen in our home.