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Sleep is for the Weak

Image: m_bartosch /

After reading  Jane’s blog yesterday at Northern Mummy with Southern Children about the 7pm bedtime routing beginning to change, I had to laugh as I saw it at about 10pm, while I was trying very hard to ignore the 2 reprobate children who were still wandering the house looking for snacks and drinks.

I can’t remember how or where it started to deteriorate.  The boys have never been good sleepers and one is up with the sun and goes to bed with the sun.  In summer, he sleeps for about 4 hours a night.

It was a very fast progression, this bedtime lark.

Within a few short months, peace and tranquility at night-time  had gone.  To clarify, in my humble estimation, peace and tranquility is only broken if more than one child spends upwards of an hour or more screaming their heads off at bed time.

The deterioration of the bedtime routine clashed with the onset of cot side climbing and big boy beds.  Overnight, the children constrained by cot sides found the freedom that they had longed for.  No longer were we able to keep them from moving.

In middlers case, the next step was to move a child gate to the door of his bedroom to give him that little extra room to manoeuvre, without being let loose on the world at a moments notice and without anyone watching his back.   I thought I was so clever with that little trick  and congratulated myself on my cleverness with smug smiles to all.

Smugness laughed in my face as within a week or two, middler had managed to learn to climb over the gate.   Red raw eyes over the next few weeks of staying awake and outside his door to stop him heading off in the middle of the night made me look as if I had a huge vino habit.

Smugness reappeared when I found a dog gate in Argos that looked the same as the child gate, only much taller, and the red-eyed eyed witch disappeared as sleep came back to the mum of the house.

All too soon, the returned smugness evaporated when he realised he could throw a wobbly, lob a huge kick in the direction of the gate and it would fly off the door in a testament to his strength and ability to grab the fleeting tastes of freedom that he had managed to acquire before.

Elder and littlest get tablets to help them sleep.  It must be something that runs in their birth family.  This permanently awake condition is totally alien to me.    I was the poster child for the long lie campaign as I only ever wanted to get up out of my cosy little pit when I had to.

To this day, I still need three alarm clocks set to get me up, yet the slightest whimper from a child usually wakes me (oxymoron I know).  I do say usually as I sometimes sleep through all madness with oblivion.   There are only so many waking hours that a sane person can survive on (who said I was sane).

My boys are fast approaching the teenage years, and with so little sleep in their lives so far, I can’t help but think that they are going to grow up into insomniac nightwalkers, destined to walk the streets at night.  My paranoia knows no bounds !!

I have long given up the fight for bedtime as it is impossible to make someone sleep if they don’t ever feel tired.    The tablets are wonderful when they work and if I catch the odd glimpse of a yawn, I take that as my excuse to race to kitchen, fill up a pint glass full of milk to help tip the almost sleeper over the edge with a full belly.

They say Margaret Thatcher only ever got 5 – 6 hours sleep a night and since she was dubbed the “iron lady,”  I guess that really means that sleep is for the weak, and the rest of us are chicken lily livered sleep loving bedaholics.