The Four-Year-Old is an expert practitioner of the art of delaying bedtime. So much so, that I’m convinced that putting off bedtime is the way children develop the vital life skill of procrastination.
Still, bedtime is bedtime and not, as The Four-Year-Old claims, the best time for hunting polar region allosaurs, so something had to be done. We took the tack of setting aside a set amount of time for getting ready for bed. The Four-Year-Old can spend that time any way she likes, but the longer she takes to get ready for bed, the fewer stories we read to her before tucking her in. The first story is used up at the 5 minute mark, the second 3 minutes later, and the third 3 minutes after that–giving her a total of 11 minutes to get ready for bed.
Sometimes she shocks us by getting ready in less than 3 minutes. Generally, though, she gets her pjs on in just under 8 minutes, a feat that gives her plenty of time to hunt down her allosaur and tuck it into bed for the night, while keeping two stories. But she has had a couple of nights when the allosaur hunt has consumed her entire storytime. These rather dreadful experiences have taught her the full horror of not having any stories at bedtime.
In the words of The Four-Year-Old, “One story is bad. Having no stories is gigantically bad, like a zombie.”
Pause, then: “Mommyo? How big is a zombie?”