In basketball, the stall ball play is when a player prolongs holding the ball as a tactic to exert some control – you know, to control the game’s tempo by winding down the clock.
I use the phrase to describe my children’s bedtime avoidance strategy. My daughter has tried to perfect the art of stall ball over the years. However, we have broken her. Her two “go to” bedtime avoiders are “I’m not tired” (so what?) and “I’m thirsty” (here’s some water, go to bed). She has recognized over the years that she should not waste time coming up with new excuses because inevitably bedtime comes no matter what.
My son, on the other hand, is two and has recently learned that he better start creating some shifty maneuvers to avoid bedtime. He picked up the thirsty tactic from his big sissy and his version is screamed at a blood curdling octave and drawn out “I waaaaaant waaaaaaater” while jumping up and down in his crib like a caged animal as I’m thinking: a little higher and you can catapult out and get your own water.
Last night, he decided to personalize his stall ball play. I’m proud that the little guy is getting in the game but mostly annoyed because I know this could be the start of a new habit that is soon to wear me out.
He started with wailing “I waaaaant Tercy.” He says his P’s as T’s so he wanted Percy, one of his beloved trains, not to be confused with Henry who is green like Percy but has a different number on the side and is much bigger than Percy, who is known as a “small engine”. I ran to get Percy (thank goodness I knew exactly where he was) and gave it to him in the dark and walked out.
I almost made it to the door when he screamed “I waaaaant Tercy’s tender.” Those fluent in Thomas the Train, which we are thanks to a train table loaner from The Plyms, know that most of the trains have a “tender” that hooks to them. I went back to the train table and fetched a green tender but I realized it wasn’t Percy’s tender. It was Henry’s tender. Percy is a small engine so he is not big enough to pull tender. Go figure. Thank goodness it was dark because he didn’t know the difference. And so ended our stall ball for the night. Can hardly wait to see what he’s cooked up for tonight’s stall ball…