The 5 Most Annoying Bedtime Ploys

1. “I have to poop!” You sort of know they don’t really have to poop but you also don’t want to spend the next 45 minutes of your life cleaning up feces. So you take them to the bathroom and they get this smirk on their face like they just played you.  Which they did. You get to the bathroom and they sit on the toilet.  They make lots of grunting noises while you stand in the hall and wonder, How did this become my life? Then they groan, “Uuuuh. The poop won’t come out! Uuuh!” So you go back upstairs with your child who is now even wider awake and all full of themselves because they manipulated you like a tiny, pathetic puppet.  And you know what happens the one time you don’t take them to use the facilities? Yeah. Total poonami.

2. “I’m hungry.” Except it’s more like, “I’M H-UH-UH-UH-UH-UN-GREE! YOU DIDN’T FEEEEEEEED ME!” So then you reflect upon what your child ate that day and your very helpful partner says, “Well, maybe she’s growing” so you take  your bundle of joy a banana.  Which is, of course, not what the kid wants to eat. But you hold your ground and say, “It’s this or nothing!” Your poor, malnourished, low-on-the-growth-curve child then whispers something about how she’s “starving” and you go make a peanut-butter sandwich.  If you think bitter thoughts while making the sandwich (such as, What am I? The chef? or She’s not hungry she’s just trying to make me mad) your child will eat the whole sandwich, thus confirming that you are a terrible parent who is not giving your sweet little baby enough food. For shame! If, on the other hand, you make the sandwich gladly while humming a jaunty tune, the sandwich will be thrown in your face.

3. “I want a song.” This may not be so bad if you were smart and raised your child on short lullabies, school fight songs, or Irish drinking songs. If, however, you raised your child on “American Pie” (all the verses), then, well, you are totally screwed. It’s at least another 8 minutes of signing — more if your child is in a questioning mood, “What’s chevy? What’s moss? What’s satan? Why did the music die? Was it shoted?”

4. “I didn’t get to say goodnight to Daddy/Mommy/Gramme/Pop-pop/the mailman.” Suddenly your child becomes all sentimental and weepy over missing a goodnight hug.  The same hug, which 20 minutes ago, was flatly refused with an “I don’t want you!” But now your child looks at you with dewy eyes and you think, Aw, my child is so loving and sweet. How could I deny him a hug? Except when your partner comes up to give the requested hug, they are met with hitting/kicking/slapping/spitting.

5. Screaming. Screaming. Aaand more screaming. This can be noise screaming: AAGGGHHHHHH! Pity screaming: I’m all alone! Guilt screaming: No one loves me! Fake-peril screaming: Ow! Ow! I’m HURT! Or about-to-puke screaming: Gak! Gak! I’m gonna throw-up! My child’s personal favorite seems to be freaking-mom-out-by-calling-her-name-in-a-devil-voice screaming: Jossss-lyne! Josss-lyne! She might as well be calling, Red-rum! Red-rum!

Remember when they used to sleep like this?


22 thoughts on “The 5 Most Annoying Bedtime Ploys

      1. Amber Burgin Hoyle

        The only one I remember was from my older childhood years. My mom told me “NO” to every thing I asked until I realized the trick. If I started the question with “Mom, I know you’re going to say no, but can I ……” It worked every time. EVERY TIME.
        I think that’s so funny that Zoey calls you by your name sometimes. I remember doing that when I was around 11 or 12. Clearly, I’m not very smart…not like Zoey. That kid is going places, I tell you!

  1. ErinM

    Seriously, Zozo is a genius. She doesn’t mess around with “I’m afraid of the dark,” or “Please read me one more story….”. That would be for amateurs.

  2. Sara

    Which is why “Go the F* to Sleep” is one of my current favorite books! It’s mean, but it’s sooooooo true 🙂

    And I was a terrible kid. I would just say “I miss Daddy” and cry and my mom would feel REEEAALLLLLYYYY sorry for me since they were divorced. Got her to sit next to me and rub my back for hours or anything else I asked. Ahahahahahaah [evil laugh]

    1. joslyne Post author

      LOVE that book! It has gotten me through many a night. I, stupidly, just started back rubs at bed time: “Mommy? My back hurts — you better rub it more!”

    1. joslyne Post author

      She does use her powers for good. Sometimes. Maybe I should write about that for a change . . .

  3. Wendy

    Love it. Zozo is smart as a whip. And Go the F* to sleep is pure brilliance because, gosh, how else do we deal with such amazingly cute AND irritating shenanigans than inappropriate humor. Elijah recently said: “I’m too lonely to go to bed”, which tugged at the heart strings a bit, but then unwisely followed with: “I’m too tired to go to bed.”

    1. joslyne Post author

      Oooh, nice one with the loneliness Elijah! Zoey will often say, “I’m too sad to be alone in bed.” Her dad melts every time. I often say, “Well . . . sometimes we’re sad. Goodnight!” Bad mommy! Bad mommy!

  4. Niki Evans Stringer

    Are you seriously telling me that “I’m scared!” isn’t on the list? That is the absolute worst one if you ask me. Nothing can top it! I have horrible memories of being afraid of being alone in the dark in my bed and I feel like I have been punched every time she does a convincing rendition of the “I’m scared” ploy. Then I remind myself it’s just a ploy and lock her in her room, as per usual. I am TERRIBLE.

    1. joslyne Post author

      That one annoys me a lot less than the poop one or any one that requires her getting out of bed. Also, she doesn’t use it very often so it’s low on my list. But I have a feeling it may make it’s way up the list as she gets older. *sigh*

  5. herzigma

    I think it’s awesome how carefully our kids study us, figure out *precisely* the right ploy, and bend us to their will. Wait, did I say awesome? I meant making me dream about overnight camp.

    Frieda’s started screaming 5 minutes after we put her down: hermouthhurtsshedoesn’twanttogotosleepsheneedssomewatershecan’tgetcomfycozypleasecanIsitwithhernoreallysitdaddydon’tsquat…and the worst thing is, I know I created this monster by giving in every night. Sigh.

  6. Sandee Decker

    Sorry, Jos. It is pay back time. Remember when you would sleep 20 minutes and be up 2 hours “AROUND THE CLOCK!” You don’t get much sleep in 20 minutes. Oh, you did this until age 14 months. To be fair colic put you in this nasty habit. Then you were perfect! 🙂

  7. Sandee Decker

    Absolutely sure it was my one and only “dear daughter.! Despite her lack of sleep see how well she turned out? 🙂

  8. Lisa McKay

    It is a mere seven days after giving birth and I’m leaving a comment here after answering exactly none of my congratulatory emails re Dominic yet. That’s how much I like this post. Hope you’re well. Sending hugs.

    1. joslyne Post author

      I’m amazed you can type a complete sentence. You must be doing GREAT! So happy for all 3 of you! Zoey and I have looked at the pics MULTIPLE times a day! xoxo


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