My oldest son’s room looks like a bomb went off in it and exploded with toys.  Toy trucks, cars, buses, trains, books, alphabet and building blocks and stuff animals cover almost the entire floor of his room.  When I go into his room, I have to be careful where I step because if I don’t, I’ll risk tripping over, kicking, stepping on them risking a stumped big toe or a strain ankle or just pain period of the foot reign.  I would come into his room to read him a story and all I see is land mines of toys.  I would have to kick a path through his toys to his bed to sit on it only to find more toys in the bed.  So about three weeks ago, I implemented the clean up your toys policy before reading him his bedtime story.

We usually head to his bedroom around eight o’clock so my husband can put the baby down to sleep.  I would tell my oldest to put his toys away so he can get a story.  I would tell him to quickly put his toys away because when the time say 8.3.0, then we wouldn’t have time to read a story. 

When I first implement the policy, I would help him clean up his toys by putting them in the colorful bens on the shelves.  He would start then get distracted and start playing with the cars, rolling the wheels on his chest as he drives them down an imaginary street.  I would have to keep reminding him to put his toys away or he wouldn’t get enough time to read a story.  Lately though, once he gets finish cleaning up his toys, we have maybe five to ten minutes reading a story and then he would want another story.  But when 8.3.0 hits then it’s time to go to get ready to go to bed but I give in an extra few minutes to finish the story.

Well tonight we were off a little on time instead of going into his room at eight o’clock; we went to his room at eight eleven because my husband wanted to spend more time with the kids.  I figure we still had a good five to seven minutes to clean the room and get at least one good story in.  I guess my oldest son had other plans because he was taking his extra sweet time cleaning up his toys.  And every time I tell him that if he doesn’t put his toys away by eight three zero than it’s time to get ready to go to bed.  He does his driving his car thing on his chest.  I tell him “Put your toys away.  Say goodnight to your toys.”  He starts to put them away then he stops again to play with the toys. 

“Hurry up and put them away or no story.  Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” 

My oldest says, “No Story?” 

I tell him, “No story unless you finish cleaning your toys.” 

I think he wanted to test that theory by continually playing with his toys. 

I told him, “Ok, you want to play with your toy, that’s fine, but when eight thirty hits, it’s time to get ready for bed.” 

Its eight fifteen now.  I’m keep pushing him to clean up his toys.  I watched him ignore me and continue to play with his toys.  I thought to myself, “Ok, I’m not going to keep reminding him to clean up his toys.  He will have to learn that mama is serious.”  Ten minutes later, my husband walks in the room getting ready to say good night him.  I told my husband, “See he’s still playing around, he’s not getting a story tonight.”  So my husband decided to turn it into a game and make it exciting for him.  It work for about a minute then my oldest wanted to play with my husband.  I told both of them that he needed to finish cleaning his room.  When my husband told the oldest to clean his room, he let out a stern, “NO!”  My husband and I said “YES!” to him in such unison that the loudest of it made him cry. 

Now my husband laughs and that doesn’t help the situation and I told him that.  I told our son, “You have to finish cleaning your room but you won’t get a story tonight.”  Looking at the time it’s about eight thirty one.  My oldest was still crying and saying, “Story! I want a story!”

“No, there’s not enough time. Finish cleaning your room so you can potty, wash hands, and brush your teeth.” 

My husband started feeling bad for him and said that he held him up and should have let me clean up his room like I offered so he can get a story because I like reading to him.  Yes, I do like reading to my son and it’s disappointing that I couldn’t get to read him a story tonight, but he has to learn that mama means business when she says to do something. So my husband says goodnight to our son and our son cries for him. 

I told him ‘Don’t cry to your daddy.  Finish cleaning up.” 

He finally finishes but all the while cry and stomping “READ STORY! READ STORY!” 

I’m not much for patience when it comes to temper tantrums so I yell and said, “GET IN THE BATHROOM…NOW!” He goes in the bathroom goes potty crying.  I see some little toys that need to be put away so I put them away and turned off his bedroom light and turned on his doggy star light. 

I walked into the bathroom and sat on the tub next to the toilet and my son says, “Sit on mama’s lap and read story.”  I told him that he could sit on mama’s lap but no story because it’s time for bed.  I can see the frustration in his eyes as he tries to grasp what I’m trying to tell him.  So I calmly said, “No story tonight because we ran out of time. Next time you have to put your toys away really fast so we can get in at least one story in.  We’ll try again tomorrow, ok?” 

“No story?” he whines.

 “Not until tomorrow and not before you put your toys away ok.”  He was still a little upset but he calmed down. 

After he brushed his teeth, we went back to his room; he took off his socks and shorts leaving just his t-shirt and underwear on because it was hot in his room.  I sat on the floor and he walked over to give me our routine hug.  He sat on my lap as I rocked him and he said again, “No story?” 

“Not until tomorrow.  But remember, you have to clean up your toys first fast so you can get time to get a story in ok?  Say ok.” 

“Ok”, he says half asleep.  I told him it’s time for bed, tucked him in, gave him a kiss, and said my goodnights. 

Why does it feel like I cut off my nose to spite my face?  All I wanted was to teach him a lesson of consequences but yet I deprive myself the enjoyment of reading to my son. How else will he learn about consequence? I hate being the bad guy.


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