Jack-in-a-bed

So The Boy likes to hop out of bed repeatedly of an evening, as – I believe – many (most?) children do. In fact I do remember doing this myself on many occasions (apologies Mater, only now do I realise my sins) though it seemed entirely reasonable at the time.

The Man and I tried a few tactics for dealing with this, from Supernanny’s patented “Back to bed, darling” (the ‘darling’ usually uttered through tightly gritted teeth), to sitting in the room with him and a wonderful childrens’ meditation CD called Calm Kids, Bedtime Meditations For Kids.  All of these were, ultimately successful, but only in conjunction with one, critical, crucial, vital element: that of complete and utter exhaustion.

Yes, turns out when your three year old is totally knackered they will actually go to sleep in their own bed… after 20 minutes or so of pratting about.  Some days this is about the only reason I can get myself to leave the house, because the boy needs at least two good walks a day.

In fact, having a young child is so much like owning a dog that I thought I’d write out a list of the similarities – please chip in if I’ve forgotten anything:
– needs regular exercising
– often have to clean up their excrement
– runs off indiscriminately after something exciting
– is safer on a lead
– responds well to treat training/bribery
– likes to unravel loo rolls
– steals food
– will eat all day if allowed
– likes to chew and slobber on stuff
– can often be seen running off with your shoes
– steals toys from other dogs/children

In fact I may just re-christen The Boy ‘Andrex’ after his TV doppleganger…

So my current bedtime tactic actually starts much earlier in the day when I begin my arduous task of wearing out a human being who, despite being less than half my size, has about 100 times more energy.

Not to diss the Meditation CD, it’s fantastic and helps him to wind down – Christiane Kerr, who narrates it, has such a soothing voice it’s nearly knocked me out once or twice! We’ve had far fewer midnight wakings and associated bad dreams since he’s been listening to it, but it doesn’t send him off to sleep unless he’s physically worn out first.

I’m tempted to put him in a harness and strap him to the washing line in a lungeing rein arrangement, then crack a whip behind him. Has the added benefit of helping dry the washing more quickly.

Rules are made to be broken. Right?

So last week I famously (famous in my own head, anyway) posted about how I’d banned TV for The Boy during the week.  Today I take it all back as we sit, slumped, on the sofa binge watching “Puff and Wock” – or Puffin Rock to you and I.

Last night was a bitch of a night.  The girl, despite being only two months old, slept soundly, but The Boy was yoyo-ing between his bed and ours, whingeing, wriggling, crying and chatting.  Eventually, after 10+ wake ups we found a solution in Calpol and a ‘warm water bottle, not a hot water bottle, just a warm water bottle my Mummy’ (he knows what he wants, this Boy of mine) but the damage was done. We’re all shattered today. Except the baby who is napping happily between my bosoms as I type.

If I had thought about sleep before the baby arrived – and believe me, after my experiences with The Boy as a newborn, I was trying very hard not to think about it – I would never have imagined that it would still be my Boy causing all the wake ups whilst the newborn slept through, or at the worst woke once in the night, from only 8 days old!

In fact, far from imagining it, I wouldn’t even have believed it possible.  I thought other mums who said this were either lying through their smug teeth or kindly trying to reassure me that it wouldn’t go on forever, but it was nearly a year before he slept through and, once it happened, didn’t happen again for over a month. Tease!

Anyway.  The Girl sleeps, The Boy doesn’t and today we snuggle on the sofa, although I suspect a run to Waitrose might be in order later to stock up on chocolate. How else is a mum to self-medicate?

PS – how come those dozy puffin bastards get to sleep and we don’t? Everything is making me grumpy today.