Friday, 23 October 2009

They're so lovely when they sleep - too bad they're rubbish at it.

Every night before I go to bed, I tiptoe into Madeleine’s room, wade through pink clothes, stuffed animals and little books (she insists on having them in her bed and then throws them out) and give her a little kiss on the nose while she’s sleeping. She wiggles it like a little rabbit.
I sneak out again and nip into Elliot’s room to do the same to him, although I need to perform some acrobatics to reach him over the side of his cot. He sleeps on his hands with his little bum up in the air, face firmly pressed into the cot. Relax - it’s one of those fancy coir baby mattresses the guy from John Lewis insisted we should have. I usually just manage to brush a bit of his tufty blond hair with my lips before losing my balance.
There is nothing so wonderful as a sleeping baby. Even on days when I’ve been at my wits end and have really struggled to make it through the day without actually murdering anyone, once they’re asleep I just totally fall in love with them again.

Too bad they’re so rubbish at it.

The past few weeks have been an absolute nightmare. Madeleine has only been potty trained since August, so she is up a couple of times in the night needing a pee. Nothing like being jolted out of deep sleep by a toddler shouting “I NEEDS A WEE!!!”. Meanwhile Elliot is sprouting some little teeth and spends half the night groaning miserably wanting his mummy. Poor little guy. I would feel sorry for them, but I’m too exhausted.

I spend all day being the grumpiest woman on the planet. I’m short tempered. My parenting skills are questionable. And I certainly don’t see the humour in Madeleine stretching pink pants onto Elliot’s head singing “Pants on your head when you’ve gone crazy!”. 

I have photos to prove Madeleine can sleep, so I know I wasn’t imagining it, but how do I find my way back to a good night’s sleep??

To celebrate Ready For Bed Week 2009 and the launch of my blog, I’m inviting you all to send me (janis [at] reallykidfriendly [dot] com) your grumpy morning anecdotes, your sleep solutions and the funniest sleeping photos you can come up with. I’ll post my favourites here.

In the meantime, don’t forget to read this blog about Ready For Bed Week. It’s an incredibly important cause, and there are some great reward charts for you to download too.


  1. D'ya know what? Your parenting skills aren't 'questionable' at all. No-one's children sleep, we're all exhausted, and often (well, mostly in my case) grumpy! My favourite sleep story? We were staying with in-laws showing off about having just got the children all sleeping through, and feeling a little smug about how well they slept, wherever they were. The next second, I spotted a little figure jumping around in the garden, followed by a second one. the children (aged 4 and 2) had snuck out of bed, got down the stairs, somehow managed to prise open the front door and were outside for a 'proper dark midnight feast'.
    Thanks for a post I can't imagine a parent not relating to!

  2. My strategy is to wake up my man and let him deal whatever has woken me.... at the moment, it's normally me needing a drink!!!! Selfish I know LOL!!!

  3. My children are six and eight now, but I remember the with perfect clarity how the sustained sleep deprivation took its toll - neither of them slept through the night until they were 15 months and you just don't forget the lengths you go to not to disturb them when they do finally sleep.

    One night, my husband and I were creeping in to Georgie's room to kiss her goodnight before we went to bed ourselves. Like you, we leaned over the edge of the cot, marvelling that this little scrap of mischief looked such an angel in her sleep. All of a sudden, she stirred and started opening her eyes, then sat up.

    Horrified that we might have woken her up, we both dropped to the floor like stones beside the cot , hoping that we were below her line of vision. We daren't look up in case she saw us...we'd never get her off to sleep again if she did. But we could hear her moving around, obviously suspicious that something was going on...she just couldn't figure out what.

    Ten minutes later, getting stiff and cramped, we were fairly confident that Georgie had lay back down and was asleep. Don and I didn't want to take any chances though. After a complicated series of hand signals to each other, we both began to leopard crawl out of the room, freezing like a pair of seasoned assasins every time we thought we heard Georgie stirring behind us.

    We finally reached the landing in safety and stood, grinning sheepishly at each other. Did we REALLY just do that?

    Things did get better - eventually.

    And then my son was born!