Twenty-Two Minutes


8:00 pm and no daddy tonight.

I suck in my breath and mentally put on my superwoman cape.

Or maybe it’s my lawyer pants.

Yeah. My lawyer pants. The negotiating kind of lawyer.

Katie Sluiter: Chief Bedtime Negotiating Specialist.

Specializes in keeping it cool and calm all the while totally prepared to bring out the BIG GUNS.

Books or Bedtime?  Always ready to go with bedtime if he calls my bluff.

Just one more book?  Always ready to stick with just that one.  Even if it’s short.

Micky Mouse Clubhouse?  Ooo.  Tough one.  But no.  Even through the tears, no.

Sleep in Momma’s Bed?  While tempting because the boy smells good and is cute, no.  HOLD FIRM. NO.

That last ditch meltdown?  This is where the years of talking restaurant patrons off ledges about their overdone steaks comes in handy.

What can I offer in exchange for the unappetizing fate?

when you wake up you…
get to go to ‘Nae’s house
Daddy will play ABC’s for you
momma will watch Micky
Yeah.  All the things he loves.

And just when he won’t budge off the couch?  Stage a race to the bedroom.

Wait for it…

He took the bait!

Bedtime is a win again.


8:22 pm.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I wish I’d had a lawyer’s training before I embarked on motherhood! 🙂

  2. Can you come to our house? We could use such a great negotiator around here!

  3. Wow. It’s like you were at my house last night! I liked the idea of lawyer pants–I will have to remember that, and use it sparingly.

  4. Nice job! I need you to come negotiate with Dylan.

  5. OH I am so glad mine are much older now and the important things they desire I can use as leverage.. Like computer time or the Xbox if they don’t go to bed..

  6. Mine’s benevolent dictator pants. I need oen of those faux military jackets and a riding crop. That might scare them even more.

    well done

  7. Could you come do that here? 3 kids in the same room, does not an easy bedtime make (or something like that). Espcially when the 2 girls sleep in the same bed.

  8. Wow, I need to learn to negotiate like you. I’m always either pushover mommy or mean mommy.

  9. Brilliantly written, I love how your structure sentence sets the atmosphere and pace. 🙂

  10. Bedtime routine is exhausting on most days – but especially when you’re the lone “tucker-iner” or the only person available to deal with “I’m thirsty”, “I have to pee”, “I had a bad dream” (but they haven’t even closed their eyes yet), “my feet are cold”, “I’m hot”, “I’m hungry”, “I need a snuggle”, “I’m not tired”…. and that’s just a sampling of what comes out of my beautiful babies every night.

    Forget the lawyering – I need cloning!

  11. since my kids never go to sleep until after 10pm (even if they are bathed, PJ’d or given milk) I am going to try this.

    I loved the way you wrote this, truly. I love how you imagine all the worst scenarios and then deal with them, in your superhero Lawyer pants. 🙂

    Love u girl!

  12. Bedtime is the most stressful time for me right now. there was a point when it was smooth sailing but all kids in beds now = big party most nights. And I am not good or graceful at handling it. We’re getting there though… Thanks for your tips–I like the race to the bathroom!

  13. Ha ha ha, been there!

  14. SO much like bedtime at my house! Especially the begging and negotiating!

  15. super cute. 🙂

  16. You are the bedtime queen!

    I definitely have the “think what fun things you are going to do tomorrow when you wake up” conversation most nights at my house.

  17. You could hire yourself out, like the SuperNanny 🙂

    Aren’t kids fun? Always testing those boundaries!

  18. giggle… mine love bathroom breaks… But Mummy I need to pee! Who could argue with that! So what if going potty means a long 15 minute stare at the television.
    Good job

  19. I did a multi-day babysitting stint and preemptively bribed the kid with a toy…

  20. Great description of bedtime. I definitely know that goes goes.

  21. Awesome! I hope I’m that good when G gets old enough…

  22. You are a bedtime master.

  23. You’re so crafty!

    But what is UP with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? F loves it, too. Like some kind of preschooler crack!

  24. Love that you stick to your guns…somehow I always end up in the “just one book” trap. Especially when they’re short!

  25. haha nice. I remember being on the other end of the negotiating-and my mom usually won too

  26. Nicely done, chief lawyer- err negotiator err- Mama.

    I love how action packed this is, because damn that’s so how it feels!

  27. I LOVE the trickery of the race to the bedroom, what a cincher!

  28. Beautifully written.

    Knock on wood bedtime has yet to turn into a battle in our house, but if I’ve been “on” all day… those last couple of hours really do me in if I’m on my own.