Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


The Dictator's new favorite two words are "But Mommy..."

I swear, I might have to start putting the Dictator to bed at 4 p.m. because it now takes her so long to go to sleep. If I put her into bed at 7 p.m., she'll finally stop coming out of her room at about 9: 15 p.m. If I put her into bed at 8:15 p.m., she'll stop getting out of bed by 10:30 p.m.

I tell you, sleeping is my number one hobby, so I don't get why she doesn't want to go to sleep! I'm waiting for the day someone forces me to go to sleep.

"But mommy," she says, after I tuck her in, for the 8th or 9th time.


"I want you to sleep with me," she says.

"Ok, you fall asleep first and then I'll come sleep with you," I'll say.

"But mommy. I have to go poo," she'll say. (And, unfortunately, she's always telling the truth about that.)

Then we go poo. And get her back into bed.

"But mommy, I want another book," she'll say.

"Not tonight," I'll say. "I already read you five."

"But mommy. My toe hurts," she'll say.

"Ok, I'll kiss it better," I tell her, and I do.

"But Mommy, I'm not tired," she'll say.

"Yes, you are."

"But mommy, I want to you to sing me a song."

And I sing her a few songs, say goodnight for the millionth time, say to her, "Do not get out of bed," for the millionth time, tell her I love her for the millionth time and then...

"But Mommy...."

Grrr. On and on the "But mommy" goes.

I can't be the bad cop. The fiance and I have talked about discipline, mostly if he tells her to do something, I'm to back him up, and if I tell The Dictator to do something, he backs me up.

But I just can't. I know it's probably (most definitely) bad. But I just can't yell at her. I make the Fiance do it.

"You have to go yell at her now," I'll tell him, after the Dictator has come out of bed a dozen times.

The thing I've recently learned too, is that the fiance can't really be the bad cop either. We're basically screwed, I figure.

"I'm going to go up and yell at her now," he'll say. "I'm going to be the bad cop."

But when he goes up, all I hear is laughter and singing. The fiance is the nicest bad cop ever. Yup, we're pretty much screwed.

Who is the bad cop in your relationships? I think it's different if you have more than one child, when you have to keep the ship tighter. But I do wonder how many mothers can be bad cops?

Part of the problem is I just even when she won't stay in bed, her excuses are too funny. "My toe hurts," kind of just makes me crack up. It's kind of hard to yell at her when I'm trying not to laugh.

On another note, check out for a review of my upcoming book Wiped! Life with a pint-size Dictator. It's a good site too, for all you hip mothers to know about anyway, and features some really fun columns.


Blogger Laural Dawn said...

We have the same bedtime battles. The only way my son sleeps is if I lie with him and then I always fall asleep. Always.
I am most definitely the good cop. I always cave. I can't help it. But, my husband caves a lot too. I'm afraid of having a brat, but really, how long will he want me to cuddle.
So, I guess it's like nice cop and nicer cop?
Besides, I have a really good excuse to go to bed early.

10:03 AM

Blogger chichimama said...

But Rebecca... :-)

A is at the "but" stage as well. It is horrid. Just horrid. And I hate to tell you, but somewhere between 4 and 5 it morphs into the "I'm just" stage, which is even worse. 'I'm JUST taking a toy from my sister... I"m JUST pouring the milk all over the clean dishes..."

A timer is my new best friend. The timer rules all right now. "Oops, the timer went off! I guess we can't read any more books, the timer said so..." I figure it should buy me a moth at least.

There is no bad cop in our family either. Really, there needs to be a bad cop. That question should be decided in a pre-nup or something.

11:06 AM

Blogger Roxanne said...

Not sure where your email address is, but I'd love a copy of your book to review. I have quite a few parents and potential parents who are avid book readers that would love a book review. My email is

3:43 PM

Blogger Candace said...

I remember that stage. I got desperate and went to the local aromatherapy place for help (that store was called Sage, I have no idea if it still exists). They had a spray that I think was called Fairy Spray (or we may have renamed it that) that had gold flecks (hence the fairy bit).

The trick was the spray - you can find lots of aromatherapy "relaxing" sprays in drugstores, etc, and buy some gold flecks to add.

The bedtime ritual became spraying "fairy spray" to get the fairies to come. BUT we all know that fairies ONLY show up when you are sleeping, so you HAVE to close your eyes to fake them out, right?

And then the lavender/citrus/whatever combo kicked in and hey*presto, sleeping child.

That worked for easily a year, if not longer. And even when she knew it was BS, she still liked having the "sleeping" spray (we had to graduate to a different one, as we moved and there were no Sage stores in the new city), which still worked as it helped her wind down.

That being said, most of the time I still lay down with her til she fell asleep, the sprays just made it happen in 5 minutes instead of 2 hours.

Now that she's 13, I've introduced her to calcium tablets and/or Vitamin B complexes (although I go easy on the VB as the body stores it, so you don't want to OD on it). Calcium supplements are natural relaxants, and they have mint-flavored chewables for kids ;-) Apply about 15-30 min before bedtime for best results

11:35 PM

Blogger Not Jenny said...

I am the bad cop 9 times out of 10. I spend all day, every day with my two rugrats and by the end of the day my brain is fried. I am also expecting our third child so that makes me extra tired and grumpy.

Hubby does the bedtime routine and our rule is "do whatever you want, just don't leave your room". It works for us--we used to put a gate across my boy's door at night when we transitioned to the big boy bed and it really helped. he could open his door and look out, but not leave his room. He would settle down to bed with no problem after the usual stories and kisses and cuddles.

I am sure I sound like a hardass, but before I know it there will be three kids under the age of four in my house so I think precidents and boundries need to be set now.

5:58 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

We are both the bad cop and that doesn't work either! When you figure something out, please let me know!!!

8:33 AM

Blogger Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Bedtime is such an issue, isn't it? It's those nights that just drag on and on and on....ahhh!!!

I would say that I am the bad cop in our family. My hubby used to say, "ask Mommy" or "Mommy said NO". We are working on sticking together and getting him to be bad cop too! It is hard, but I guess as a former Kindergarten teacher, I know what it can be like if you always play good cop and I DON'T want that to happen to me. My heart breaks whenever my bunny cries because I won't give her what she wants, but I know that teaching her consistency and respecting what I say are important too.

5:37 PM

Blogger Ms. Porter said...

I think I'm the bad cop because the kids listen to me better than to my husband, and always go to bed easily for me. Having said that, I find it really really hard to follow through with any sort of punishment.

5:52 PM

Blogger Ms. Porter said...

Very cool review on

6:00 PM

Anonymous Sarah said...

we take turns being the bad cop - whoever has to go in and tell her off then runs out to the hallway to collapse into the other's arms in a fit of silent giggles at whatever she's come up with this time. She's always funny, but for bedtime she really brings out her best material!

7:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When my son was little and seeming to take forever to go to sleep, calling for me or coming out of his room with various excuses, we started the habit of "checking". After tucking him in and saying goodnight, I would promise to come back and check on him in 5 minutes. Just come in and give him another kiss and say "I love you," and leave, saying "I'll check you again in a few minutes". At first, I had to make several visits to "check" him before he fell asleep, but after a while, he knew I would be popping back in, so his anxiety level went down, and he fell asleep a lot quicker. I still remember, though how he would always say, "Check me a lot", every time we said goodnight!

9:35 PM

Anonymous twoplusadog said...

Umm...I don't mean to be critical, but if not playing the bad cop in toddler-hood leads to having to dole out relaxants to 13 year-olds before bedtime (as the one commenter mentioned) then you might want to re-think some of the longterm issues of your strategy :) Best of luck!

2:48 PM

Blogger Gabriella said...

Just finished reading your new book! Are you sure you're not me? I identified with almost everything you wrote. Thank God i wasn't the only one feeling this way!

8:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would suggest reading Supernanny's book. She has good bedtime techniques. It's not normal that bedtime takes 2 hours for a 3 year old.

4:44 AM

Blogger Charlene Martel said...

I just finished your book and thought it was great. I reviewed it on my blog and you can find it here if you want to peek.

Great book! I haven't laughed that much in ages and it so reminded me of when I had my daughter.

6:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, our little monster could streached out beadtime for at least 2hs a night until we read a book. We started a routine - snack and milk, 2 books, brush teeth, pee, pjs, bed. Then we told the monster that we will be up to check on her every 5 minutes, which we did, and it worked like a charm. From 2hrs to 1/2 hr. She is 3 so she still has some seperation anxiety and needs to be reassured that we are still there, so she gets out of bed and we have to start from the top again. So the idea is to check on her and reasure her before she gets up.

8:52 PM


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