One time, when my oldest son was 7 years old, he busted me for eating chocolate after I specifically told him that he couldn’t have any. It was not my proudest parenting moment. He got me back, though, by writing a hilariously stern letter about the injustice. We talked it out, he got a piece of chocolate, and our family got a great laugh.
Now, there’s another parent who’s laughing too, after his daughter made a smart and bold gesture toward negotiating her bedtime.
Reddit user Ty Underwood posted a now-viral image of a handwritten letter from his 8-year-old daughter, Evelyn, that detailed why she should be able to have a later bedtime. The letter, which has been lighting up the Internet, was penned by one seriously precocious (and adorably clever) little girl who is definitely not going to accept “no” for an answer.
“Dear Mom and Dad,” the letter begins, “I know you know I should not have a different bedtime, but here is why … I am almost 8, Oli is only 4 and has the exact bedtime as me, and why not? I really want it. Love, Evelyn Your Grown-Up Kid.”
Pretty bold, indeed! However, Underwood explains to Babble that he and Evelyn’s mother have always told their children that crying and whining are guaranteed ways of NOT getting what they want.
“Even if what they want or need is reasonable,” he says, “the way they express those wants and needs is just as important, if not more so, than why.”
Actually, Evelyn had been asking her parents for a later bedtime for quite some time but they were determined not to budge. The back-and-forth family discussion resulted in Evelyn’s mom and dad digging in their heels and telling their whip-smart daughter that if she asked again, she would be sent to bed early.
“I guess she decided to work around the system,” Underwood tells Babble. “Right before bed one night, last week, she handed her letter over (in a sealed envelope) and told Mary [her mom] that if we wanted to ‘discuss the contents of this letter’ that she would be available anytime.”
OMG, I am dying — this girl has serious boss potential.
Needless to say, Evelyn’s parents got quite a laugh out of the incredibly articulate letter. I mean, wouldn’t you? And although they waited few days before saying anything about it, they eventually did decide to give Evelyn her big chance to defend her idea.
“We decided that type of cleverness and assertive behavior should be rewarded and we opened the door to negotiations,” Underwood says.
The new deal, no doubt hard-won after intense negotiations, has Evelyn going to bed at 8:30 p.m. — but she better not let it go to her head. While she may be allowed to stay up a wee bit later, she can only stay in bed reading. Luckily for her, her parents report, she is a voracious reader. Her new bedtime also can’t interfere with her ability to get up and make her own lunch for school and cannot make her be late. If that happens, then she has to go to bed at 8:00 again – like her 4-year-old brother.
“This isn’t the first time she has outfoxed us,” Underwood shares with Babble. “When she was 3, we told her that if she wouldn’t eat her veggies with dinner, then she could be done and go to bed for the rest of the night. She would calmly get up, change into pajamas, brush her teeth, and climb into bed 3 hours early and stare at the ceiling until it got dark and only then fall asleep. It’s hard to be upset at that type of conviction.”
I can’t tell if I am more amused by this girl’s comedic genius or impressed by her grit and tenacity. Guaranteed, she’s going to rule the world someday.