Bedtime Stories For Adults, And The Nightly Routine

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Have you got your hands on the book, Go the F**k to Sleep? It’s hilarious. Even better, if you don’t relish bedtime story reading as having it narrated in the dulcet tones of Samuel L Jackson. The book is easily found via a kindle, and the narration is on YouTube. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t leave you hanging… you’ll get to see the video down below!

Follow the Routine

Every night, whether you are the parent or the babysitter, you’re likely to go through the following routine…

The 5-minute warning; which is always met with full cooperation.
The 3-minute warning; which is met with hesitation and uncertainty.
The Time is Up announcement; which is met with bargaining of exceptional quality, followed by either
a) Okay, Just One More Minute Then or
b) The Irresponsible and Somewhat Shameful Bribery (If you’re in bed in 5 seconds, we’ll go to Disney Land)
c) The Threats That Reach DefCon5 in a split second and you pray will never actually have to be carried out (see below)

The amazing and patient mum that I am *shines crown*, I am more often than not firmly ensconced in the DefCon5 vicinity.

After living in the US for so long, you’d think I’d embraced the American way of parenting. This involves reasoning with your child in a calm, non-aggressive voice. In short, I should be treating my child as my equal, and coming to a fair and acceptable compromise without the raising of one’s voice. Like Fuck.

I often think to myself: I’ve read those books about “le cadre”, “boundaries” and “parenting in the Victorian era”. My child shall not rule me, be my equal nor negotiate the basics of being 5 years old. Having declared that with a toss of my hair and a cold stare, I admit I am actually rather rubbish at being strict. To be fair, there is something to be said about reasoning with one’s child, as there is about reaching compromise. However, most nights, I just want the boy to get into his pajamas without whining about dying from the itchy label, climb into bed at the prescribed time without The Countdown, and fall sound asleep after the first few sentences of a bedtime story.

The Threats That Reach DefCon5

If you’re not in bed by the time I get to 3, I am definitely canceling your birthday party/playdate/NO TV for FIVE DAYS. Out of all of those threats, the one I’m most scared of actually doing is the TV ban.

At times, there is the need for the evil box. Working from home? I don’t want the short, noisy child singing about his willy and bum when I’m on a work call, thanks. Effectively mouthing “GET DOWN AND PUT YOUR KNICKERS BACK ON BEFORE YOU FALL AND DIE, YOU LITTLE BASTARD” when your audience cannot lipread and is naked dancing on the countertop whilst you’re supposed to be answering a question from your client, is quite frankly fucking horrendous and a little stressful. “Yes, sorry, hold on” *removes child’s bum from face and drops phone*, shouts at phone 5 feet away “I’m still here, hold on one more sec!”

See why the TV Ban is the worst of all the threats?

What, your child sits and reads/paints/builds crap quietly whilst you’re working? My son would literally build with crap.

There are other nights when I just cannot be doing with any of it. I have to pick my battles.

You don’t want the delicious supper I cooked? Eat cereal and roasted garlic cloves, then. In the same bowl.
Wear your snowboots to bed? Oh dear god, fine, but not under the duvet, they can’t touch the bed sheets. They’re totally on the bed sheets.
Another 10, no 6, no 11, no 17, no 4 minutes of TV? Fine. I’ll sit here with you because apparently now you’re scared to be alone, and watch Ninfuckingjago for what turns out to be 25 mins because now I’m really into the storyline.

I have no clue whether I am raising a wonderful child that will grow into a wonderful man, or whether I’m raising the absolute opposite. All I know is that he’s happy, kind and compassionate. I also know, that in a few years time, I shall miss yelling the TWO AND THREE EIGHTS OF A SECOND countdown routine, bribing him with irresponsible nonsense, and the bedtime stories. Oh, and how I will miss the sharing of our bed with a helicoptering, singing in his sleep, whirling dervish but that’s for another time (and yes I am still talking about my son).

So, in sum, listen to the Marbach story, relate to it, feel better about the nightly dramarama and if you are another DefCon5 mama, you are not alone.

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the lovely rendition by Samuel L. Jackson:



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An ex spy from the UK, Elaine currently lives in Washington DC with her husband and toddler. Having to verbally hold in her British snark, she finds an outlet through writing. You can find her on Twitter @damesparkula and Instagram @delcerroyau and @twosisterstwocountries.

Color of the flowers?