A Kiss Before Bedtime

A wonky wireless home networking system kept me from doing any kind of post last night, and the in-and-out connection has been playing havoc with me today, too.

I will probably post another installment of the Cleansed By Fire novel sometime today, if the gods of the Internet are kind to me, but here’s a quickie post to make up for having posted nothing yesterday and to give you something if you aren’t a sci-fi fan.

Mrs. Blue doesn’t like it when I ascribe semi-diabolic  motives to Little Girl Blue’s actions. She’s agreeing me with more often than she used to now when I point out such things, but I remember in the past year or so many, many times when I would suggest our little girl was playing us a bit, and I would get the stank eye in return from the wife.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My 3-year-old is not some devil child. She is challenging at times, but she’s also loving. And she’s whip-smart. To a certain degree, I like seeing that she has enough intellectual power to find subtle and tricky ways to get what she wants. I have to stay one step ahead of her, and that sometimes wears out my own brain, but I’d rather have that than a child who goes into brain-shutdown/drool mode in front of the TV on a regular basis.

The latest trick in her book is asking for a kiss at bedtime.

No, no, you don’t understand.

It’s not the kiss goodnight that’s a problem. I’m more than happy to give out one or even several kisses and hugs as I lay her down in bed.

It’s when she gets up, 5 minutes later and I ask, “Why are you up?” and she says she wants to give me a kiss. And I do. And I tell her she must go to bed and stop getting up. Five minutes later, she needs to give me another kiss, or a hug. And so on.

Now, she will from time to time say she needs a damp cloth to wipe her eyes, or another drink of water, but by and large, she will whip out the extra affection as an excuse to get up more often than not these days.

And this poses a real challenge for me as a loving father.

I know she’s stalling and trying to put off going to bed. And she probably enjoys yanking me out of my office every 5 minutes too, since it’s right next to her bedroom and it’s not like we can let daddy do his thing. 😉 But the real quandary for me is this:

I don’t feel right saying, “No, you can’t have a kiss.” Nor do I feel good scolding her about delaying her sleep after I give her one, even though I sometimes have to.

And she’s smart enough to know this, which is why she added this trick to her arsenal. She found an excuse that at least partially defuses my ability to get cross with her. Oh, sure, I eventually do reach a point at which I may have to threaten to deep-six one of her Dora DVDs or something, but for the most part, she gets to delay her bedtime (which is already way late by most family standards) and give me very little room to operate in a disciplinarian mode.

Like, I said, this girl is smart.

It’s that kind of skill that might serve her very well in life as she figures out how to navigate the hell that is other people (other annoying people at least…I’m not such a misanthrope that I think all people are trouble). But it’s going to give me some headaches, and many gray hairs, until she begins harnessing those skills for good instead of selfish reasons.

6 thoughts on “A Kiss Before Bedtime

  1. deadlyjelly

    Hahaha! Your daughter sounds like a spark. I don’t have any kids, but my five year old niece is a MASTER of cunning, tactic, strategy, intrigue and manoeuvre

  2. Deacon Blue

    Maybe smart preschoolers are what the CIA should be recruiting these days. Might help their intrigues greatly….

  3. Big Man

    She does sound slick. I would try telling her that she gets one good kiss before bed and she has to make it last until morning. Tell her it’s like a special piece of candy or something.

    Preschoolers would be great CIA operatives until naptime. Then the whole operation would fall apart.

  4. Deacon Blue

    LOL, Big Man…but if you give them enough sugar, they can last until 3 or 4 p.m.

    I do actually give her the rundown at bedtime most of the time. OK, here’s your water. Now give me your kiss. And here’s my kiss. And hugs. OK, now we’re all set for bedtime. No need to get up until morning.

    Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, not so much. And some nights now she’ll only get up once but still, there are those occasional nights where I’m up 5 or 6 times and those can drive me nuts.

  5. WNG

    I’m glad that you appreciate the awesomeness of her reasoning. I’ve got no advice at all – but the story reminded me of many times in my own adorable youth when I would pull a stunt that had Papa G giving me a ‘stern talking to’ and then having to find a place he could hide and laugh. Of course, I didn’t know about the laughing part until years later.

    Make sure you tell her about this when she’s older :-)

  6. Deacon Blue

    Oh, we’ll have SUCH stories to regale her with when she’s of proper age.

    And we’ll remind her of them again when she has kids of her own and we tease her with the “we told you so” stuff.


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