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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

A Kid’s Guide to Postponing Everything

By Meredith Ethington

All parents know that kids are skilled at the art of making you wait. The following techniques are probably familiar.

1. Wake up as early as humanly possible and sneak down the hall to watch three hours of TV before 9 a.m. When your mom calls you for breakfast, yell, “It’s almost over!” and hope she doesn’t notice when the next show starts. Next time she calls you, yell, “Five more minutes!”

2. While eating breakfast, knock things over and spill some stuff. Cry when your brother looks at you the wrong way, and get into an argument with your sister about what color your blood is. Get out of your seat and do a little dance every three and a half bites. Get distracted and go get your favorite toy. When Mom gets mad, come back to find a full bowl of soggy cereal. Tell her you’re no longer hungry.

3. Ask for a snack five minutes later while you brush your teeth.

4. For 15 minutes, argue that your sock feels funny. Finally change socks and demand to wear a ridiculous outfit. Cry when your mom says no. When she finally caves, tell her you actually don’t want to wear that; you want your Spider-Man costume instead.

5. When it’s time to get in the car, decide to poop. Take 30 minutes.

6. When you arrive wherever you begged your mom to take you, act uninterested in getting out of the car. Unbuckle yourself as slowly as a sloth. Look for something you dropped two weeks ago. Find a French fry. Eat it. Then, slither out of the car backwards because you can.

7. When you’re at the fun place you really wanted to go, ignore your mom when it’s time to leave even though you’ve been whining for the past 20 minutes that you’re bored.

8. When you walk out to the car, drag your feet. Cry because you forgot to do that one thing one more time. Lie down in the parking lot. Refuse to get back in the car to go home. Take eight minutes to buckle yourself in.

9. When you get home, unbuckle quickly, but then repeat step six.

10. When you’re mom is trying to make dinner, circle around her like she is in shark-infested waters and chant “Can I have some fruit snacks?” 82 times.

11. Wait five minutes then ask for goldfish crackers.

12. Delay bedtime by asking her to read the biggest book on your shelf. Three times. Cry when she won’t. Get out of bed to pretend-pee and pretend to be thirsty. Do that at least two more times. Ask an existential question about the universe. Demand answers.

13. Close your eyes and pretend to be asleep. When your mom starts to leave the room, ask her for a Band-Aid. Cry when she says no. Then ask to be tucked in again, “the right way.” Ask for another hug. Tell her you’re hungry.

14. Wait long enough that you think she’s finally relaxing, then come out of your room and announce you have a big boogie and need a tissue.

15. Find 382 other excuses to get out of your bed until it’s 11 p.m. Finally fall asleep. Repeat all steps tomorrow. 

Meredith Ethington is the author of Mom Life: Perfection Pending (2018). Find her at