The Critter has turned out to be a headstrong little monkey. I think she's really starting to feel comfortable in her three and a half year independence, and the stubborn streak she inherited from her mother just compounds things.
Ah, but about a week ago, I realized that I had an ally in Santa Claus. The Critter has already written her letter to Santa, telling him what she wants for Christmas. She spent an entire evening intently looking through a couple of catalogues and carefully circling those things she was interested in (a sleeping bag, a pink castle toy, anything with Dora the Explorer on it).
As we put the letter into an envelope and told her it was time to get ready for bed, she put up her usual protests:
Critter: I'm not tired... I don't want to go to bed... I want to stay up with you and Mommy!
Me: You know, when I was little like you, I was actually one of Santa's elves.
Me: Yep. I still have Santa's email address and phone number.
Critter: Call Santa!
Me: Would you like me to call him and tell him you're not being good and going to bed when your Mommy & Daddy ask?
Critter: NO! I'm good.
And she scurried off to bed before I could blink.
Since then, I've been getting a steady stream of guidance from Santa.
"Santa wants you to pick up your toys."
"Santa wants you to bring Daddy a Diet Coke."
"Santa wants you to find the remote control."