The Great Tissue Debacle

The three year old is a mastermind. She has truly stumped me.

Like many kids, her main goal at bedtime is figuring out how to extend it. Our main goal as parents is to get her to sleep, along with the necessary hygiene tasks, bonding time, etc.

Our usual bedtime routine consists of getting on her jammies (does anyone else call them this?), brushing her teeth, reading books, wrestling with Daddy, tucking her in, and giving hugs and kisses. Or at least it used to.

Now after hugs and kisses she asks for a tissue. And then another. And then another.

Let me explain: Unlike other kids, who may have a lovey or stuffed animal or favorite blanket, my child’s comfort item is tissues. Any time she cries, she needs a tissue. Any time she is upset but doesn’t cry, she still wipes her face vigorously with a tissue.

I think we are keeping Kleenex in business. I mean…this child goes through a serious amount of tissues.

Once, when dropping her off at preschool, she was a little upset (wanting Mommy to stay) and had a tissue in hand. Her teacher greeted her by saying “Oh, you already have your tissue today!” with a smile. I’m sure it probably took her about a week to blow through the four boxes of tissues on the school supply list we brought in at the beginning of the year.

I’m considering a Costco membership so we can start buying them in bulk.

To be clear, I’m all for comforting my child. I’m not a monster. But here’s the challenge: our daughter always tries to extend bedtime as long as she can by requesting a glass of water, or “just one more book” or “I have to go potty again!”. We, being now seasoned to her tactics, are good at shutting this down nicely so she can get to bed and get the good sleep she needs. When she asks for a second and third and fourth tissue, we do our best to care for her feelings while saying no. She doesn’t have a runny nose, she isn’t crying, and there is no need for a tissue except to extend bedtime.

The irony is that when we continually say no, she gets upset and sometimes cries. Thus, introducing the need for a tissue.

It’s like the “if you give a mouse a cookie” book. If we give her a tissue, she’s going to want another.

If we don’t give her the tissue, she will cry and need a tissue. And our battle of wills has been lost.

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