Originally published on parent.co on July 16, 2017 without the first paragraph.
There are nights when it seems that my son has reached the apex of new silliness. I mean, he becomes totally unglued. Flopping on the ground like a spawning fish, word play that involves creating an almost complete new language, and selective hearing that would make a certain president proud.
In a few words: it's frustrating. Luckily, I've managed to come up with a few ninja moves with have proven effective.
Ninja move #1: The walk and talk move
As he launches into some sort of silly story, verbose explanation about the construction of hovercrafts and their unique propeller, solar systems, and capability, I turn to him and say, "Tell me more as we're walking upstairs." This gets the little legs moving but still allows him to chat chat chat away. Note: this move can also be used effectively when dressing, undressing, and re-dressing in pajamas.
Ninja move #2: Code words
My son and I have come up with some code words that mean, Mama is serious. Dead serious. Time to cut this shit and get serious, too. Our code words are "chocolate chip." The word "chocolate" gets his attention every time. "Chocolate chip" adds to the length of it and grabs him even more. When I say, "Chocolate chip," he knows I'm fed up. Time to knock it off and get serious. It's also a lot more fun than saying, "Time for teeth - no really, time to do your teeth. No. Really. Time. For. Teeth."
Ninja move #3: Invoke competition and lovies
My son can be very competitive, and I must confess I'm willing to use it to my advantage when necessary. Suddenly, his racing to my bedroom trying to run away turns into me saying, "I bet I can get to your bedroom faster than you! Oh, those babas [his word for blankets] are gonna feel so cozy . . . All for me!" Truly, I've stacked two moves together: the first is how I'm going to win, and the second is that I've involved two of his beloved objects.
Ninjas move #4: One-upping the one upper.
This is the mother of all ninja mama moves for bedtime silliness. It works when I realize that all serious talk is ineffective. I generally find I prefer not to issue threats (when I'm tired, the threats get BIG), so this move has become golden. When I say, "Take off your pajamas," and his response is to pseudo-copy with, "Pake opp py papamas?" I realize that it's game on. I respond, "Zake ozz zer zalama bama bozamas." I take his words, make them sillier, and even add. This is key. This move not only one-ups the game but short-circuits his silliness capacity for an inkling of a second. During this move, I might add, "Zow your zeeth."
Sometimes this move is so crazy effective that he doesn't know what the hell I'm talking about. "Zeeth" is an easy one, but I have been known to throw in some humdingers, just get him asking questions. Yeah, it's a power move, but at the end of the day, I'm tired. If I can break the cycle, then we all get to bed earlier.
So there you have it. What are your ninja moves for getting your child to bed?
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