Monday, October 27, 2008


Tonight, Captain Adventure really worked to keep me in his bedroom as long as possible. First, he wanted to read the book himself. V-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

“What dat, mommy? Dat fly, dat right! Good job, mommy! What color is fly? Noooooo, ee no gray, ee black! Good job, Captain Adventure!”


Then he wanted to argue for two books. Three books. TEN books. All the books there are! And then he realized he had made a tactical error because his name the colors and shapes book is, I kid you not, more than sixty pages long and loaded with endless, ENDLESS I TELL YOU, Q&A.

How many dots on the ladybug’s wings? What color is the BROWN lion’s NOSE? Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. SIXTY PAGES WORTH, PEOPLE

So he wanted that one. And I said, firmly, “No. We already read A Fly Went By. It is time for lights out.” (I also made a mental note to take the “educational and therefore loooooong” books out of his room.)

And he said, “No! Noooooo! Is color book! Is good book! Mommy! I wanna so smart boyyyyyyyyyy!”

Oh yeah. He is a so-smart boy. Will use blatant emotional blackmail to keep mommy in the room an extra half hour…

A few alligator tears later, I had the lights out and was rubbing his back. He sniffled a little bit and then said, “Oh! Mommy! Wait! No sleeping…is Oats!”

Hmm. OK. This is a new word, and I’m pretty sure he’s not talking about a nice bowl of oatmeal, here. Oats. OK, Tama, think…think…he tends to leave off the beginning and/or ending consonants a lot…

“Ghosts?” I guessed.

“Yeah,” he said.

“There are…ghosts…in your room?”

“Yeah. I scared of oats, in my oom!”

Alrighty then. This is one of those rare areas with Himself where I know exactly what to do – whether he’s really scared of ghosts or just using them as a way to keep me in the room a while longer, I know how to bring this game to a skidding halt.

In my best Mommy Voice, I addressed the room: “OK, listen up, ghosts! It is time for sleeping. You need to go home now and go to bed, because Captain Adventure can’t play right now. He needs to go to sleep, and so do you. You can come back and play tomorrow after school.”

I gave the ghosts a moment to say, “Awwwwwwww!” and trundle off to their ghostly mansions. Then I patted Captain Adventure confidently on the back and said, “OK, there you go! Everybody is going night-night now!”

There was a long silence as Captain Adventure pondered this solution. On the one hand, ghosts being Minions of Darkness and all, what are the chances that they’d just *poof!*, go to bed like that?

On the other…well…Mommy Voice…

“Oh,” he said at length, then stopped for a little more thought. Hmm. Well, nothing for it, really, because Mommy Voice Means Business and all… “Oh…well…night-night, oats.”

“Night night, honey,” I said, firmly, pulling his covers back over him and kissing him firmly on the cheek. There was a little whimpering, a couple half-hearted protests, and then a long-suffering sigh.

“Night night, mommy. See morning. WAIT! Is hug you! {attempts to throttle me, plants big juicy kiss on my ear} OK, is night night. See morning.”

“Night night. See you in the morning,” I replied, slipping quickly into the dark hall. A few sobs (purely for effect), and then silence.

Not a creature was stirring, not even the spirits of the departed…which left me free to ponder the many things I never anticipated motherhood would bring. The things nobody ever told me, the things I never read about in any of the (too many) books I read on the subject.


The ability to banish the Creatures of Darkness simply by telling them to go home to bed in a firm, no-nonsense, I will brook no denial tone of voice…definitely not something they tell you about in all those “what to expect” books.

But pretty darned handy, wouldn’t you say?


Tola said...

but he said a new word!

RM Kahn said...

We had a routine of kicking monsters out of Peanut's room. Literally we'd walk around the room kicking the monsters to the door, yelling, "Get out!" Oh, the things we do to get the kids to bed.

Chery said...

Don't forget it, either! I'm sure you will use your mommy-voice, firm and no-nonsence will be needed many times more. Just wait until he's a teen!!

froggiemeanie said...

I must remember that. I usually go the "cry all you want...yer goin' to bed" route. Sweet, aren't I?

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed! Score one for mothers! And score one for the Captain's interactions.

Anonymous said...

Perfect solution, everybody wins!

Anonymous said...

Very effective. I'll have to remember that one, just in case! Right now, what's working for us is putting on quiet music when the lights go out. :-)

Louiz said...

Amazing... must work on my mummy voice!

Anonymous said...

These little ones are master manipulators, aren't they? But clearly you've got the Captain's number! I would have loved watching that play out.

Science PhD Mom said...

We used monster spray in our house for a while. Amazing what some water in a spray bottle will do when a kiddo wants comfort. :)