Thursday 26 January 2012

Are you having nightmares with your child's bedtime?

Boy #2 is going through 'a phase'. At least, I hope it's a phase. Please god, let it be a phase. Oh, right - you want to know what it is. Nothing unusual for a 6 year old, I suspect; he doesn't want to go to sleep - in his own bed. He's convinced that he has bad dreams every night and that sleeping in his own bed is the cause.

Heaven knows, I should be sympathetic to this. I am not the most peaceful of sleepers, as Husband will tell you. I've improved over the years, mind you, from the time that my then-roommate at university woke up (on the night of the Great Gale of 1987 - yes, I AM that old) to see me sit bolt upright in bed and scream my head off before collapsing like a dead person again until morning. In my defence, all hell was breaking loose outside and everything bar 10 ton trucks was flying past our window, but still, she never forgave me for the shock.


Boy #2. He claims to have nightmares, and that may well be true. However, a) I haven't noticed them, and b) I think - although perhaps this is the scary 'you're-not-sick-you-just-haven't-been-outside-enough' school of mothering that is my default modus operandi coming through - that if he is having bad dreams, they are probably unrelated to the bed he's in. Call me old-fashioned. Certainly I don't believe they will be sorted by a bed-swap with his brother, as he claims, and so for the last couple of weeks what has, in my 8 years of being a parent to-date, been a relatively calm bedtime (if you discount the 3 days of controlled crying hell with Boy #1 nearly eight years ago, an exercise that worked but which I have felt guilty about ever since) has become, instead, a battlefield.

There has been shouting (hardly any of it from me, I must add), jack-in-the-box impressions, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth and repeated suggestions that I put myself in his shoes (bed at 8pm in the evening, someone else to get my clothes ready for me for the morning and to do the dishes from dinner? Yes, please).

This evening then, I decided to try another tack and as I tucked him in, announced that I would take a quick nap on his bunk next to him. Boy #2 was delighted. "DAAHling!" he said (I am not kidding, he really said it - just in that way, too). "DAAAHling! You will stay here all night. I guarantee it."

Well, obviously that was not my plan. So I announced that I was going to snore - and not just any snore, oh no, but in a Papa-styley. I commenced my best Husband-patented snore, all but lifting the roof off in what I thought was a very passable imitation of my beloved.

There was a moment's horrified silence.

Then; "DAAAHling! Are you feeling quite alright? Are you hurt?"

Needless to say, when I got out of bed a couple of minutes later, he didn't even whimper.


  1. Excellent parenting. Wish I'd thought of that back in the day.

  2. Hi hun am back (formally known as Kate Collings). Great to be back and reading your blog again, have missed it. I am having trouble with Youngling at bedtime. He literally will not sleep without me. Now I know he is only a toddler (3 in March) but I had his bedtime down to a fine routine until his daddy and I seperated. I too am hoping it is only a phase. Meet you at midnight for a hot choc? ;-) xx

  3. "DAAAHling! You will stay here all night. I guarantee it." - that is possibly the best line EVER. It shows a level of confidence that is quite disarming!

  4. I am def going to try it with Bog Boy who is going through the same phase ...peaceful bedtimes here I come!

  5. Fear of god, that's my method. Usually works. Signed, Cruella.

  6. That's funny. The DAAAHling, not the nightmares. My daughter was the same at six. I think it's an age thing. We're trying out worry dolls at the moment, as she's still a worrier. I moved her bed for a while but it made her worse. At the moment I'm leaving her light on at night. It doesn't seem natural to me to sleep with the light on, but then I did exactly the same at her age. I think their little minds work overtime at night, trying too process their day and the world around them. I'm still figuring out that last part myself. :)


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