How to Delay Your Bedtime

by Bruce Lansky
Refuse to turn off the TV.
Say, "All my friends watch this show."

Shout, "No fair!" when you're told to go to bed.
Then ask, "Why can't I stay up till' ten
like all my friends?"

When Dad says, "If all your friends
jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge,
would you jump, too?"
sneer, "Yes!"

Whine, "I'm too tired to walk upstairs to bed."
Make Dad carry you up the stairs.

Pout, "I'm too tired to brush my teeth."
Wait till' Dad squeezes the toothpaste
onto your brush and starts brushing
your teeth for you.
Then groan, "Ouch, you're hurting me."

When Mom comes in to say good night
and asks you to pick up your clothes,
yawn, "I'm too tired to pick up my clothes."
Watch while Mom picks them up for you.

Beg, "I need a bedtime story."
When Mom finishes the story,
ask, "And then what happened?"

Tell her, "That story got me excited.
Now I need a backrub to make me sleepy."
When Mom starts rubbing, give directions:
"Rub a little higher.
No, a little to the left.
No, more to the middle."
When Mom stops rubbing,
grumble, "I was just starting to feel sleepy—
don't stop now."

When Mom says, "For the last time, good night!"
whine, "I'm thirsty.
Can I have a glass of water?"
When Mom asks you to promise
you won't wet the bed,
say, "I promise"—but cross your fingers.

Start crying.
When Dad comes to comfort you,
sob, "There's a monster under my bed."
When he turns on the lights,
you'll see it's only your shoes, socks, crayons,
and the toy gun you got last Christmas,
but only played with once because you lost it.
Tell him, "Leave the door open
so I can see the hall light!"
When he opens the door,
plead, "Open it wider!"

When Dad leaves,
get the toy from under your bed
and play with it in the light
shining through your doorway.


Text © Bruce Lansky reprinted from My Dog Ate My Homework!, published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Stephen Carpenter. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.

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