Damn You! In the nicest possible way (and pleeeeease tell me your secret!!!).
Here's the real 5 steps to bed when it comes to toddlers...
Step 1.Allow child a few minutes of reading time before lights out.
Turn lights out after changing the pooey nappy that toddler now seems able to produce on command just before lights out.
Follow this with searching for the first 3 toys the toddler can think of that aren't currently in bed with him/her.
Finish off by going from the door to the bed, twice, to give the extra cuddles requested.
Think about drinking wine.
Step 2.Chase toddler back in to their bed after they have sculled the last of the water in their drink bottle and asked you a million and one questions about what you are doing (which could be anything from eating dinner to watching TV to folding clothes).
Check the cupboards to see if you do in fact have wine.
Step 3.Chase toddler back in to their bed after finding them lurking in the kitchen, not actually doing anything other than not being in their bed.
Threaten to take away a favourite toy and throw it in the bin if you catch them out of bed again.
Get a wine glass from cupboard and put wine on the bench.
Step 4.Hear light go in their bedroom, go in to find them putting a pair of socks on their hands.
Tell toddler to get back in to bed and have argument about why she can't see her sister and give her a kiss. Explain that sister is asleep and "you already gave her a kiss goodnight. You can see her in the morning".
Try to hide the fact that inside you are grinning from ear to ear about the fact that she does actually love her sister so much that she "needs her" and ignore the voice that says "it's just an act. A stalling technique".
Count to 3 while the toddler walks slower than a man in slow-motion towards their bed and insists on putting the covers on by themselves.
Take a favourite toy to "throw in the bin".
Shut door on sooking toddler.
Open bottle of wine and breathe in it's sweet scent.
Step 5.Hear door of bedroom open and get up to find toddler just standing in the doorway with big frown on face, saying "I want hug" and losing it when you give them a hug and then take away a second toy.
Shut door on sooking toddler and pray they sook enough that they will be too exhausted to get out of bed again and will fall asleep.
Breathe sigh of relief when, after 10 minutes they haven't emerged again.
On a good night, pour a glass of wine and savour every mouthful.
On a bad night, go back and repeat steps 2-5 ad infinitum! Total time from initial lights out to sleeping child: anywhere from 15 to 50 minutes.
And that my friends, is the real 5 steps to bedtime with toddlers!
Do your kids go out of their way to drag out bedtime? What are their classic stalling techniques? What techniques, if any, do you use to beat the tiny terrorists at their own game?