Beware the bedtime word barrage

door knob

My kids have discovered a new strategy for delaying going to bed by a few seconds. As I say goodnight and begin to close the door, I am pummeled by a volley of words. They try to say as much as possible as the door is closing because they know that I’m too nice to just shut the door without answering. I pause closing the door and respond as succinctly as possible. The door continues to shut. Another frenzied word bombardment. Pause. Answer. Continue shutting. Further shelling. Etc.

What they hurriedly shout as the door is closing is often stream-of-consciousness but usually centers around what will happen when they wake up.

Daddy, when we wake up we’ll eat breakfast. Yeah. We’ll eat french toast. And then we’ll play with our trucks…

Of course, they have to get it all out as quickly as possible because their window (or rather door) of opportunity is rapidly closing. So it usually sounds more like…

Daddywhenywewakeup (pant, pant) we’lleatbreakfast (gasp, pant) Yeah (pant, pant) We’lleatfrenchtoast. Andthenwe’llplaywithourtrucks (pant, gasp)…

Since there are two of them, they can tag team. One can talk rapid fire while the other catches his breath. Plus, they know that if they say something outrageous, I have to pause and reply.

Daddytomorrowwe’regonnaeatchocolateforbreakfast (gasp, pant) Andthenwe’lleatdirtysnowoutofthetiretreads. (wheeze, pant)

Unfortunately, at this age my children often interpret a parent not answering as a “yes.” So the word-siege succeeds temporarily as I pause the door closing to come up with some sort of responsible-sounding parental answer like “No, we won’t do that tomorrow because oatmeal is better than chocolate and dirty snow is yucky. Go to sleep.”

I’m on to their strategy, though, and now I just stick my lips through the door for a few milliseconds as it swiftly closes and give a cover-all-the-bases answer to rapidly and deftly deflect the barrage:

Yes,tomorrowwe’regonnadofunsafehealtystuff.Goodnight.Gotosleep. (gasp, gasp)

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