So, nap times can sometimes be painful. Forcing a kid to take a nap for the sake of a cranky-free evening can be a taxing debacle. Punishing my child when he gets out of bed works; but, I hate doing it. So, a few Sundays ago I thought I’d experiment with a different parenting theory: rather than punish him, I’d gently place him back in bed every time he got up. It would be a bit of a hassle, but all I’d be missing out on was bits and pieces of the Cowboys’ inevitable failure. I was curious…how many times would it take? Here’s the answer: #1. Into bed he goes. (Yes, he is using a Ms. Piggy/Muppet Band pillow case ala 1983. Yes, he is using his sister’s comforter. Yes, he is fully clothed-shoes and all-the kid loves to wear his shoes. Stop judging me and enjoy the experiment.) “Good night. Stay in bed.” I exit the room and listen for the sounds of the inevitable escape.  #1.5. I hear the sound of something hitting the wall. I go back to check. He’s in bed, but has apparently gotten out of bed, grabbed a basket of blocks, gotten back in bed, and is throwing them one-by-one at the wall. “Block Daddy.” “Yes, that’s a nice block…but I have to take it away so that you will lay down and go to sleep. Good night.” Technically, I didn’t have to put him back in bed so we’ll count this as “put him back in bed” #1.5.

#2. I check on our daughters (who were playing in the play room). Someone else was apparently checking on them also. I carry him back to bed. “Stay in bed. Good night.”
#3. “Daddy, brother is out of bed again.” Sure enough, he is watching his sisters play again. This time he figured out how to get the door open. Sorry, the photo’s kind of small…you’ll notice a familiar face just above the horse’s rear end. I carry him back to bed. “Back to your bed. Good night.”
 #4. I hear some rustling back in the girls’ room. “Sorry, you can yank the Dora sheet off of your sister’s bed another day. Back to bed. Good night.”

 #5. I work on some laundry for about 15 minutes. I haven’t heard anything so I go check. Could a miracle have occurred with only 4 “back to beds”? Well, sort of…if by “miracle” I mean totally destroying his brothers’ room in less than 15 minutes. “Back to bed. Good night.”

 #6. Five minutes later I hear the loud and repeated slamming of a door. He’s just hanging out in the sewing closet. “Back to bed. Good night.”

 #7. It’s been another 10 or 15 minutes and I haven’t heard anything; so, I get up to check on him. I look down the hallway and notice that the bathroom has been toddler’ed. I take a picture (at the perfectly God ordained moment) as my little one peeks to see if I am watching before he ventures off to destroy some other area of our house. “Back to bed. Good night.”
 #8. I hear more rustling. I get up to check. There is now a marker, a toy, a toy thermometer, a cotton ball, and a bag of cereal sitting in my hallway. Someone must have heard me coming because he almost made it back to his room before he froze like a deer in the headlights when I said his name. I’m not exactly sure what dastardly plan he had concocted that required these items…but I can assure you that it wasn’t going to be pretty. “Good night.”
 #9. I hear static in the kitchen. He must have turned the baby monitor off. Sure enough….. “Back to bed. Good night.”

 #10. He’s getting bold now. “Hi Dadda.” “Thank you for the stick-unicorn. Back to bed. Good night.” No, I didn’t bother picking up the bag of cereal last time. I don’t know why…likely because I was busy yelling at Romo or something.
The End. 10.5 attempts later I finally give up and force him to stay in his room for 15 minutes. In an attempt to stick to my bizarro parenting experiment, I give him a couple of toys, a drink, and some cereal (i.e. bribery). I hoped he would fall asleep. He did not.

The moral of the story: Spare the rod, spoil the child. As expected, he was an emotional crankpot all evening.