See this face? Looks like an angel doesn’t she!? But do you know what we’ve gone through in order to get her to reach this blissful state? DO YOU!? Our nightly sleep routine is officially making me crazy. Night after night, it’s like someone sounds a magic trumpet and the two tired, irritable souls who roam the hallways in full whinge mode between 4-7pm suddenly come to life like feral night cats. Apparently, it’s party time and we’re all invited!
Our nightly repertoire usually commences with such favourites as “Mum! I need water!” followed two minutes later by “I (think) I need the toilet” (for the twelfth time). Then there’s the “I’m hot – I need my fan” or “I’m cold I need a blanket” and let’s not forget last night’s classic, “Mum! I need to tell you that I’ve learned to click my fingers!!!! Can you hear that?? I’m doing it!!” Snap, snap, snap. Truthfully, I can’t work out if it’s her fingers making the sound, or my unusually tense shoulder tendons coming undone, one by one.
Seriously – as a loving mother, how scary do I actually have to be in order to get everyone to simply shut up, close their eyes, stop the finger clicking and get some decent shut-eye? I don’t like being scary and I’m not especially good at it thanks to the guilt that immediately ensues, but what’s my alternative? I tried reasoning, but it turns out reasoning doesn’t work. (Reasoning rarely works with kids, incidentally. Certainly doesn’t get me very far). Bribery? Nope. Threats? Threats work for a short time but they’re both too smart for their own good and I end up threatening something completely unrealistic and hugely inconvenient before I can think about it logically. “Go to sleep NOW or I’ll…I’ll….I’ll cancel that party you’re planning for your birthday in November!” (What was I thinking? Given it’s only March I’m probably going to find that one pretty tough to stick to). I clearly haven’t mastered the easy to keep, yet effective threat and most of the time, there’s nothing useful or meaningful enough to threaten anyway so it’s a fail from where I stand.
We’ve tried the mother-earth methods. We’ve done lavender baths before bed, tummy rubs and soft music, meditation and kind, soothing words but five minutes after lights out, the rustling of drawers commences. Outfits are changed for the third time and the shifting of toys and furniture can be heard as the doll who hasn’t been touched in over a year suddenly requires urgent tucking in. And so explodes my head.
Whoever wrote the book ‘Go The F@ck To Sleep‘ truly felt my pain. Its existence made me realise that there are probably households everywhere marching children back to bed after the eighth trip to the toilet or confiscating this toy or that, but c’mon! Really? Do we have to do this every night?! Gimme a break.
Funny how we love them SO much once they’re peacefully sound asleep and yet five minutes before that, love is pretty much the furthest emotion from your raging heart as you’re listening to the snap, snap, snap of little fingers practising their newly acquired life skill an hour past lights out.
And so let the fun commence again in our house again tonight! And if you feel even a bit of my pain, may the force be with you in your house too.
This article was originally published at The Motherload and has been republished here with full permission.