“No iPads at bedtime this week,” I announced to my children.
“Awww, no, Mom!”
“I will tell you pretend stories and read books.” They opened their mouths to protest again. “Look, just try it out, okay?”
That was two nights ago. I thought it was a fabulous Supermom idea at the time.
The first night, I pretended the battery was dead on every device. This works for a toddler if you don’t let them touch it to confirm your claim. My children were tucked in. I told part 1 of ‘Wizard of Oz’, a humorous version starring the kids. They were asleep quickly and I did a proud dance in my head. Dancing should always remain in my imagination, or my kids are utterly embarrassed. I am just awkward like that.
The second night, they requested my story to be finished. Wow! Score for Supermom!
Tonight, we had a late start, but I was determined to read aloud.
“Turn off the iPad now, it’s time to read.”
My toddler tiger looked up and began wailing. I repeated myself. I was stern. I was nice. I did everything except the banned dance. She started negotiating.
“I hide it.”
“No, turn it off and put it away.”
“Nooo, I hide it!” She pulled the blanket over the screen, a wide toothy grin plastered on her face. She was so proud of her idea.
“Okay, fine. Hide it, but pause it so the sound turns off, too.”
Her little fingers twitched, and stopped. “No, I hide it.”
“No, pause it, then you can hide it.”
She paused the show and slid the blanket over it again. “I hide it!”
“Okay. We are going to read ‘Big House in the Woods’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder.” I opened the book to the first chapter. “Hey, turn that off!”
Toddler tiger giggled and paused the show again. I gave her a sideways look as I resumed reading. Within a few moments, she was babbling, as babies do. About nothing. “Shhh, listen to the story.”
“I want birthday cups and plates,” she informed me. “And balloons.”
“Right. Got it. So, there were trees everywhere, hey- turn it off or I will take the iPad away.”
She pouted and covered the screen. I continued reading in between cries. My older girls let me know they couldn’t hear the story. I sighed and turned the lights out.
Toddler tiger was quiet for a minute. I suppose most tigers lay very still before attacking. She sprang onto her hands and knees, and tore into my hair. I struggled to remove her fingers without hurting her. As soon as my hair was freed, she latched onto my ear. I gasped out, “It’s Baby Jack from the Incredibles!!”
Eldest daughter called out, “Tell the story!”
I immediately launched into the tale of a birthday party coming up that needed plates and cups. Toddler tiger froze. “Birthday?”
“Yes!” My voice might have been overly excited since she stopped
trying to buck.
“Sure.” I continued the story and she began pummeling me again. She pinched her sister. Sadly, I missed that important window of opportunity to get her to sleep. I didn’t feed her after midnight, so it wasn’t a Gremlin appearance.
My fingers groped blindly in the darkness. Finding the iPad, I cowered before the Queen and showed her my offering.
Her voice was exuberant and quite surprised. “Thanks, mom!”
Negative five thousand points for Supermom.