Rookie Mistakes is a series where guest bloggers divulge their parenting fails, and make us laugh or inspire us in the process.
This week I am really thrilled to feature my first Dad blogger, because if you didn’t already know this, men make mistakes too ;). Anyway that Dad blogger is Mostafa who blogs brilliantly at Arab Baba.
I think the phrase “give them an inch and they will take a mile” came about specifically for children at bedtime. Never show any weakness, as Mostafa explains…
My name is Mostafa Hassan. I am ArabBaba. I’m a full time stay at home Arab Baba (Dad) based in Dubai raising 2 amazing girls (and periodically their mom J ). I’m an educator by degree but chose to go against the Middle East norm 6 years ago and raise our girls as an at home dad. My focus has been raising awareness in the Middle East on the importance of a father’s (and mothers) influence on their children – addressing the taboo of direct Arab Baba involvement as critical in the successful growth of a well-rounded, tolerant and compassionate individual (and not a psycho!). I do this through humor, networking, blogging and various social media outlets. I am also very active in Dubai supported conferences in education as well as writing content for educational magazines for the UAE. But, my most important role, is Baba – and I never want that to change.
Bedtime Delay Tactics & Strategy by Atilla The Hun
Is considering Panadol at bedtime when they are NOT sick a Rookie Mistake? Is throwing in the towel, giving up on all parenting advice about ‘staying strong’ and ‘be the adult’ when dealing with a strong willed child, a sign of being a Rookie? Well then, I am the ‘King of Rookie’!
My daughter is 6. She is destined to be a great leader someday (because I say so). She is very strategic. She clearly has a secret You-Tube watch-list of How to Negotiate. In fact, she is probably the one recording and posting them. Her biggest strength is delaying bedtime (bedtime, homework and eating corn – in that order – is her playground). And it’s not because she doesn’t want to sleep – she is very good about announcing she is tired. This future political candidate (I really hope not) is defining her boundaries and how far she is able to jump back and forth over those boundaries with her mom and I. Consider it 50% less strength on the parental leverage side when her mom is travelling and I feel like I’m fighting a war with a popsicle stick (especially when the 2 year old decides to ‘back the regime’ of her older sister).
The routine normally starts with an announcement after homework is done (pulling teeth). And, in this case, it was last night.
“Baba (or Momma), I’m tired.” She announces.
The wife and I look at each other (if she is here – otherwise, I just refer to the blank space next to me for a reaffirming look of fear). The time has arrived.
“I think I should have a snack.” She stands up.
“I think it’s time to go upstairs.” We announce- unified in our battle.
“I’ll tell you what, if I can have a snack and the Ipad, I will sleep straight away.” Where did that come from?
“How about we just go to bed?” I tell her.
“But I need a snack and the Ipad. It makes me comfortable. You want me comfortable right?” Here we go.
2 year old is now saying “Ipad! Ipad! Ipad!” and jumping up and down (as my oldest pats her little head in praise for reinforcing her defense).
We are now at a crossroads where we have to work on something and compromise because we know she needs to be up for school early and she needs to sleep and having lengthy conversations about nothing is only going to make everyone touchy (you can now see the whittling down of power happening).
“No Ipad and you can take a few pretzels”.
“Deal!” She says.
I smile broadly at my wife (or at the empty space next to me) feeling successful. And, off she goes and hops into bed (this is already after she has brushed her teeth and now I’m feeding her pretzels).
20 minutes later after a tuck in and a kiss, I hear the patting of feet coming quietly down the stairs.
“Baba, I don’t have a book I like and if I don’t have the Ipad I know I won’t sleep.” Empty bowl of pretzels in hand and the hunched over look with big brown eyes staring pitifully at me.
2 year old is now whining because she is tired and saying “Naamy Naamy” (‘sleep’ in Arabic). Wife has jumped onto a conference call now (granted a reprieve) and it’s all up to me.
We go back and forth about why we can’t have the Ipad at night and let’s go up with her sister and read a book. She whines, she brings her sister into the mix, they both whine. Wife is ‘shhhhhing’ us. I battle with my own parental sensibilities. I contemplate the introduction of 5ml Panadol into their mouths. I sigh. I carry them both upstairs, Ipad in hand, pretzels occupying both of their hands and my pride floating away into the distance. I have retreated.
Charlie and Lola are on the Ipad. Little one is asleep in 5 minutes (pretzels still in hand). Walk into the oldest’ room and the Ipad has fallen over on her pillow and she is snoring (2 minutes and 35 seconds into the show).
Really? This is what I’ve spent the last 45 minutes for? I’m now the one hunched over in defeat. Big brown eyes staring back at my wife as I shuffle down the stairs.
“What happened? I thought we agreed no Ipad? It was going so well.” She squints at me.
“Honey, we lost the battle. The white flag has gone up. I’m starting over again tomorrow. And this time, it’s your turn.” I settle onto the couch.
I turn on the Ipad and within 2 minutes and 35 seconds, I’m ready to call it a night.
You can follow Mostafa’s blog Arab Baba on facebook and twitter.
Have you ever made any bedtime rookie mistakes?
You can read previous guest posts from the Rookie Mistakes series here.
If you are a blogger and wish to take part in the series you can find out more here.
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