Friday, October 1, 2010

monsters at bed time

This is either a terrible parenting moment that I'll deeply regret or a genius parenting moment which uses the power of the fairy tale in a magical and effective way.

Gemma (nearly four years old) has been resisting bed time with every ounce of her being. I've once before told her that monsters will come after bed time and check to make sure she's in bed. If she's in bed, they'll leave her alone. She brought the subject up again. She was refusing to change into her pajamas and said "will the monsters come?" I said, "Oh yes. Monsters come and check to make sure you have your pajamas on." (desperate parenting maneuver on my part.) The discussion continued about what the monsters will do, etc, etc. The end of the conversation was this:

Me: "The monsters come after Mommy and Daddy leave your room and they check to make sure that you're in bed and have your pajamas on. If you don't, they will scare you. If you're in bed and have your pajamas on, they leave you alone and go check the next little girl to make sure she's in bed."

My husband comes in the room and Gemma tells him, "Mommy said that monsters will come to make sure I'm in bed and have my pajamas on."

He says, "Oh, I'm sure she didn't say that. There's no monsters."

I said, "Well, um, yeah, I kind of did say that."

Miracle of miracles, Gemma and Oona were in bed by seven o'clock - light out and pajamas on. I'm sure the monsters were both disappointed they couldn't scare them and happy that they were being good little girls.

(And my apologies go out to friends if Gemma tells them that monsters come at bed time. What works for one little girl may completely backfire for another.)

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