Michael is a master staller. He knows how to work every moment of the bedtime routine to drag it out as long as possible. When he's feeling well, I'm pretty aggressive in fighting the stalling tactics, but when he has a cough I try keep things from escalating to tears because that often leads to puking and sheet changes, which can delay bedtime more than stalling. Totally counter productive.
The stalling thing drives me insane, particularly when he keeps calling me in after lights out. I work full time, I have a 45 minute commute, spending 2 hours on bedtime just sucks the life out of me. Andy helps out when he can, but sometimes he's not available, and I get sucked into the whole mess.
Last night was one of those nights.
I wanted to exercise, I needed to write thank you notes, have tons of stuff to get done before we leave for Disney next week. The last thing I wanted to do was run back and forth into Michael's room. But, that's what I did.
I have to hand it to him, he is creative. The first time he called me in it was because his head was itchy. He asked me to put cream on his head, referring to the hyrdacortisone cream we used when he had hives. He was very disappointed when I explained I couldn't put it on hair. He giggled and said, "So you could put it on Grandpa Bernie's head, right?" Zing, poor grandpa Bernie getting burned for being bald.
The next time he called me in, it was his back that was itchy. I put lotion on it. He called me back in for a shoulder itch. I put on more lotion and explained that the cream was too powerful to put any more on. So, not only did I lie about what I was putting on him, but how powerful it is. I'm sure Oil of Olay would love to hear that. But, it worked. He dropped the itchy routine.
He didn't drop the call backs. Unlike school nights when he stalls, he was actually yawning and seemed to be truly exhausted. That stopped me for a moment and I thought about his day.
As I mentioned yesterday, he had a dentist appointment. It went very well. The dentist showed him all of the tools he was going to use and blew the water and air onto his fingers so he knew what to expect. Michael allowed him to do the work and we were out of the office in 15 minutes. No big deal.
Well, maybe not. It wasn't a big deal for me, but maybe it was a very big deal to him. We had talked about the appointment before hand so Michael had plenty of time to be anxious. And, even after he let them do the work, it was probably still upsetting, even if he went along with it.
So, I finally went in, got him up and we sat in the rocker and told each other stories. He had drawn a picture at my moms, and I let him tell me all about it. I just guided him with open ended questions so he could talk about whatever he wanted. He ended up telling a very interesting story about two kids going to the zoo. When he finally seemed to be relaxing, I told him a story and then sang for him. Once I tucked him, he was able to finally fall asleep.
Not only did I learn an important lesson about how to diffuse his stress, I also got to sped some quiet time with Michael just exploring his imagination. Maybe stalling doesn't always have to stink.