File 69 - Screen Time Standoff

The key in a standoff is to not show fear.  You can not, under any circumstances, portray any sign of weakness.  They are waiting for that.  They live for that shit.  You need to hold your ground, even while Anxiety is prattling in your ear: You are losing this. They don't respect you.  You are a crazed lunatic. Fight the urge to walk away and go back to your chips and true crime documentary.  This is, literally, a hell of your own making.  So, you take a deep breath and stare back at your opponent.  The tiny human that has decided that they will not be abiding by bed time rules.

This pandemic has definitely shaken up things in this house.  Specifically, discipline and bedtime routines.  There is a lot of exhaustion and erratic behaviour.  And eating.  Always eating. At the best of times, bedtime can be unpredictable.  One child rises with the sun, so he is usually ready to hit the hay, when the time comes.  He is like his Mama, that way.  Nothing wrong with an early bedtime, thank you very much.  Even if it is 9:30, on a Saturday night.  Can I get an Amen? The other little, is like his Dad.  The sun goes down and he goes to 100.  All of a sudden, he remembers everything that he forgot to tell us during the day. Also, all the funny scenes from the shows and movies he has watched.  Further, his stomach feels weird.  And he is thirsty.  And he has a boo boo, from last week, that hasn't been attended to.  This sweet baby gets out of bed like it's his job and he is striving for a promotion. Before you know it, two hours have passed, you have paused your show 20 times, and you are in a deadlock with your mini moonlight meanderer.

These impasses are quite tricky indeed.  Our discipline of choice is threatening to take away things that the boys like. You know, give them the option to choose if they are willing to lose something to continue acting unreasonable. This used to give us several options in our arsenal - no park tomorrow, no playdate, no Timmy's.  However, since the quarantine, our leverage has lessened significantly.  We are down to video games and YouTube.  This is a double-edged Minecraft sword, if I have ever seen one.  Taking away their screen time hurts me, just as much as it does them, these days.  If I have a work call or video meeting, I rely on those screen saviors.  There's no shame in my game.  Or should I say - their game?  It's part of our pandemic protocol.  So, when there is a deadlock between myself and a smaller version of myself, no one emerges victorious.  

To add insult to isolation, this baby will often choose to lose his screen time, in order to keep acting ridiculous.  His stubbornness, outweighing his judgement.  His need to win, overtaking his foresight.  His need to for ruckus, beating out his reason.  So, there we are. in a screen time standoff.  Me and my mini me.  And Anxiety.  Because, you know she never sleeps.  As it usually does, it ends with tears and frustration and a total video game prohibition, for the following day.  But, he doesn't get out of bed again.  For tonight. 

If you're going to enter the standoff, you have to make sure that you win.  And by win, you also lose.  Just don't show fear.  Don't listen to Anxiety.  If they smell blood in the water, they've got you. 

Does Mama need to lose her shit?

Not this week.