Monday, July 2, 2012

Pumping Your Child For Camp Deets

Anyone with a school-age child is probably familiar with this conversation:
Hi sweetie! What'd you do at camp/school today?
Nothing? What were the best and worst and most interesting parts of your day?
Nothing, mama. It's the same as every other day.
Sound familiar? Ever wonder how to get the info out of them in ways that don't involve bribing their friends for details?  Fear not! Though pulling teeth can be easier than getting information on what happens at camp from these kids, we have discovered an easy way to have them share.

It's simple, really.

Just try and put them to sleep.

We have put together an easy script for you to follow below.  Behold the brilliant stall tactics in action, and the treasure of nuggets of info that are so deliberately doled out.

8.50.  You have spent the better part of 20 minutes trying to get this child to sleep.
Mama, I can't sleep.
Okay, let's try this. Close your eyes and I'll rub your back for a few minutes, ok? Think about your favorite part of your day and imagine you were there.
Pause to think to yourself: really!? My child?
Okay, then woodworking.
A minute later.
Mama, woodworking's not working. Can I think about the sing-along?
You had a sing-a-long? (doh! Just broke cardinal rule! Must not encourage stalling!!)
Yeah, we all learned this song, and this dance (she sits up and tries to do it)
Okay, sweetheart. Show me tomorrow, ok? Time to sleep.  Good night.
Mama, will you check on me?
Three minutes.
One minute.
Okay, but mama, will you promise to come in and tuck me in again.
Only if you promise to really try and sleep.
I promise, mama. 
Good night, sweetie.
9:05.  First "check-in". She's sitting straight up.
It's not working, mama.
Shhhh..... (stroking hair and whispering). What's not working?
Going to sleep.
Well, remember the rules of going to sleep? You have to keep your eyes closed and your mouth closed too.
But if my mouth is closed I can't breathe. Sometimes when I'm asleep my mouth likes to be open.
Okay, mouth open, but no talking.  Eyes closed though, that's a rule.
But it didn't work.
Sweetheart, your eyes are open.  Of course it didn't work. You didn't actually try it.  Can you try again?
Mama, did you know, that sometimes, at camp, when it's hot, they put the sprinklers on and we can run around in them.  We got to run around in the sprinklers today.
She smiles sweetly, one new tooth sticking out from her gummy smile.  You take a moment to try and force out ("this one time, in band camp...") quote that won't leave your head for some reason now.
I'm glad you like the sprinklers. It's time to go to sleep, okay? One more check in, that's all.
One minute.
Two minutes.
Shhhh... Five. And you need to follow the rules the whole time, okay?
Sigh. Okay, mama. 
9:15.  2nd "check-in". Her eyes are wide open.  Pull up her covers, give her a kiss on the forehead, stroke hair and attempt to walk away.  Make it three steps.
 Go to sleep, love.
My eyes are open.
Yes, I can see that.  Eyes closed, no talking, k? 5 more minutes, okay? Last one. I mean it.
Pause to silently curse yourself for being a marshmallow and vow to read up on how to actually follow through on discipline.   Tiptoe away.  Quiet.  Retain hope she will actually finally sleep.

9:25. 3rd "check-in". Calm, eyes open. Walk in, kiss child on the forehead and try to walk away.
Yes, baby. 
Did you know cherry tomatoes were invented in Israel? (calmly)
I did. Where'd you learn that? (doh! another moment of weakness!)
In Shi'ur.
Go to sleep sweetie.
But mama....
Okay, did you nap on the bus? (doh! you did it again! She gets you every time...) 
Try and walk away. Almost make it out.
Mama, one more time? Pleeeeeeeeese?
Sigh. Okay. 
Wait six minutes. Tiptoe in.  She's finally asleep.  Breathe for the first time in an hour.

So there you have it. You may not get your child to sleep until too late, but if you want to loosen their tight lips about camp, just try and enforce bedtime.

Oh, and you're welcome.


Emily said...

At least she's not reading Harry Potter under the covers at 9:40 :)

Wendy said...

Ella is a master dawdler as well at bedtime. Sounds like you have more patience than me though at that time of day!