Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The magic jack o'lantern

I'm almost afraid to post this because I'm afraid it will jinx me or something! But last night, I somehow stumbled onto a way to keep Andrew in bed after the lights go out. And it worked. It was like a miracle.

He deeply adores the electric jack o'lanterns that I bought at Target a few years ago. Even though I optimistically store them away every November, he always digs through the bin of Halloween gear and retrieves them.

So you might drive by our house one balmy May evening and spot a jack o'lantern leering at you from our front porch. The azaleas are blooming, the dogwood tree is covered in white blossoms, and the jack o'lantern is lit. I'm sure our neighbors think we're crazy.

Last night, Andrew objected when I removed the jack o'lantern from our front porch. I told him that it was bathtime and that I was not leaving the pumpkin outside again. Then I had an idea.

"Would you like to keep the jack o'lantern in your room tonight?" I asked temptingly. "You have to stay in your bed, though, if you want to keep it in your room all night long."

"YES!" Andrew shouted gleefully. It was if I'd offered him a winning lottery ticket. And let's face it, when you're three, a light-up pumpkin is more exciting than some piece of paper with words on it that you don't understand anyway.

So after taking a bath and brushing his teeth, Andrew willingly climbed up into his new big boy bed and got all cozy. I plugged the jack o'lantern in and handed the Cars flashlight to Andrew. I turned off the overhead light and reiterated that it was time to go to sleep--and that the jack o'lantern's presence depended on Andrew's ability to stay put in his bed. Then I walked out and closed the door.

I braced myself for the usual telltale thump that heralds Andrew vaulting out of bed and making a beeline for his bedroom door. So he can taunt me. Nothing.

A little while later, I could hear him "reading" to himself, probably by the light of his pumpkin. (William later confirmed that Andrew was indeed doing just that.) Then quiet.

And it stayed quiet.

I was shocked. Shocked and gleeful.

Oh please please please, let it work tonight, too. I'll put a Christmas tree in his room if it'll convince him to go to bed.

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