Thursday, November 5, 2009


Michael has always been a staller and a talker, but he's really starting to raise it to a whole new level. It's one of those things I'm really proud of...when it's not driving me crazy.

I've been using the 5 minute warning system for quite some time with Michael. It really helps in transitioning him from one activity to another. I do this by telling Michael that he has five more minutes and I hold up my hand with all five fingers extended. Then I count down each minute and I hold up my hand to let him know how many minutes he has left.

Recently, he has started negotiating with me. When I say five more minutes he'll say that he needs ten more minutes. No, five more minutes. We go back and forth a bit until I offer the option of leaving right now, and then he tells me he's throwing away all of my minutes. When he is really annoyed with me he'll also add in that he's throwing my inches away too.

Then, I count down from five and we leave.

He's also really fixated on the number 10. Not only does he want ten more minutes, he also wants ten hugs, ten "tater totters", or for me to sing Rock A Bye Baby ten times (Not a chance). It's possible that I may occasionally call him Mr. Monk.

He's really having a lot of trouble with night time lately. Between not wanting to go to bed and waking up in the middle of the night, Andy and I have been countering all kinds of crazy negotiations and manipulations. Last night, he threw all of them at us in a series that started at bedtime and ended at 5:00 this morning.

He started with book stalling. I actually let him do a little of this. I value reading together time so highly that I've moved his bedtime up 10 minutes to allow for an extra book. He get's one extra book, and that's it. After that, lights out.

Next he made me restart one of his songs because I had mumbled a few words. Once he was in bed, he insisted that I sing Rock A Bye Baby ten times. I sang it one extra time. He wanted something else, but he already had it so I just needed to point it out before I left his room.

Five minutes later..."Mommy! I'm scared. There are monsters." I went back up and gave him his flashlight.

"Turn the light on for 10." I turned the light on, pointed out all the monster prevention equipment, and then turned it off again.

"Turn it on for 11." I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. Who taught this kid to count again? Oh wait, that was me. Why did I do that again?

"Michael, mommy really has to go potty."

"OK." And he let me tuck him in and leave. So, it turns out that having to go to the bathroom trumps monster chasing. At this point it's clear that manipulation has come into play.

At 4:00 am, I hear "MOMMY! I DON'T LIKE MY SLEEP!" to respond to that. I considered if I could get way with calling back, "I DON'T CARE!" but I realized I wouldn't get the desired results. So, back in for negotiations. They went something like this:

M: "I want such and such"

Me: "No, let me tuck you back in."

M: "I want such and such"

Me: "No, let me tuck you back in."

Until finally he gave in and let me tuck him in.

At 4:45 we hear "I DON'T LIKE MY SLEEP."

Andy handled it. He manged to get him tucked back in right in time for our alarm to go off at 5:00. At which point Andy walked out of the room and got his shower while I did my hair and make-up. Michael waited patiently for me to come and get him at 5:25 as if he hadn't just spent the better part of an hour trying to get us to take him downstairs.

So, in summary. Michael doesn't like his sleep. He will do anything to avoid sleep. Mommy likes her sleep and will do anything to get her sleep. So far, no one is winning, but Michael is becoming very skilled with his techniques.


Maria said...

Could you get him a digital clock and tell him that he can't call for you until the first number is a six (or whatever number you like)? I did this with Lilly when she was three I think. She was allowed to read, play on her room quietly, etc but she couldn't come out of her room (unless it was an emergency...we had to put the childproof doorknob on a few times). She caught on pretty quickly, and we kept a monitor on just incase. Good luck, giving her all the "power" seemed to help, and she really didn't get up at night anymore. She sometimes still woke before six, but when she did she waited until the clock said it was okay.

Steph said...

I did the clock thing with Cooper too and it has worked well. He still has a few times that he is up prior to 6, but for the most part he's happy to get the positive reinforcement from us when he stays in bed until 6. This mommy is a much happier one when she gets her rest!

Mel said...

The five minute warning is a good thing, but I added a twist that I got from Love & Logic. Give her a choice: Do you want to leave in 2 minutes or 5 minutes? Of course Michael will probably say 10 minutes LOL!

Beth said...

I don't know what's funnier--Michael's negotiations, or you telling the story. William's latest tactic is just asking the same question over and over, no matter how many times I say "no." It's the most annoying thing ever, and I have to work very hard not to blow my top. How do toddlers instinctively know how to push their parents buttons?

Stacey said...

Sigh... I sure can feel your pain here (except Cole wants seven of everything right now).

My "favorite" of his current tactics is shutting a book on the second to last page and saying he actually wants a different book instead.

Cole's been waking up at night too lately. The other night I was tired and frustrated and I said rather angrily, "Cole, please tell me why you are waking up!! Are you scared of something?" And in his sweetest voice ever he said, "I'm not scared Mommy, I just love you SO much." He's a master.