Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My Son's Very Bad, Quite Painful, Unsleepy Night

I was home late from work today.  This really doesn’t have anything to do with the story that I am going to tell but it’s always nice to have all the facts isn’t it?  Anyway, I was late home from work today, which meant that B got two of the children ready for bed by herself.  Which, actually, is probably only the 18th most amazing thing that she has done today.  But before this turns into a paean to my incredible wife (can you tell she reads all these before I publish them?) let me get back to the story. 

Putting the children to bed requires military precision, complete organisation, an iron will and the energy of 1,000 very energetic men.  Talk about the Duracell bunny, we need a fleet of them just for one child.  I have a Fitbit which says I average 11,000 steps a day.  I am almost 100% sure that 9,000 of those are chasing after various children while they are running around refusing to have their pyjamas put on.  Most nights, usually around 7 o’clock, our house looks like the worst sort of Benny Hill sketch. 

But tonight was different.  By the time I was home B had managed to get S & L into their pyjamas and I had the very happy job of just reading S his story, singing him his songs and getting him tucked into bed.  There was something funny though.  With the normal bedtime at least the children have worn themselves out a little before they go to bed.  Running a marathon around their bedroom will do that.  But tonight, without my bumbling to inconvenience her, B had been a bit too organised, and S hadn’t had a chance to get properly tired.  Which may explain some of what happened next.

Firstly, having got S all snuggled down I put on the little light that is in his room.  At which point he made a small whimpering noise and said,

“But I wanted to read my book”, to which I replied, quite reasonably I think,

“You can still see it with the light on.”  This elicited a rather surprising response,

“But I want to be able to read the words.”  This might seem like another understandable answer, but let me just fill you in on a bit of inside information that will help to colour your view of the incident.  S is only 3 and absolutely cannot read.  But he was adamant that being able to see the words was key to his reading experience and it took quite a bit of cajoling to get him to accept that I wasn’t going to be putting the big light on.  This was not to be the last time we heard from S tonight though.

For some reason, probably having to do with total exhaustion, B and I were sat together on the top step of the stairs when we heard an incredible thud coming from S’s room.  A number of scenarios leapt through my head, mostly having to do with wrecking balls, or even the possibility that the flashing reindeer on the wall of next door’s house had gained sentience and decided to try to break in through the wall.  Unlikely, I know, but I can’t help what flashes through my brain.  B, instead of imagining the sudden coming to life of LED reindeer, leapt up and rushed in to see what had happened.  From what I have been able to piece together there was no involvement from any rangifer tarandus at all, instead it was S, who had sat up in bed, presumably to be able to read the words better, and had thrown his head back into the wall.  The little chap was very brave about the whole thing and B was able to console him quite quickly and soon enough he was back snuggled in bed again.  Sadly, as with any good story there are three acts, and we were just moving into the third.

Happily not currently resident in my son's bedroom

B and I had managed to get downstairs when we heard S’s door creak open and his footsteps pad along the landing.  After a moment’s quiet, B started talking, rather loudly, about how it would be a shame if S had got up and wasn’t in bed anymore.  Being the smart attentive chap that I am it only took me about 6 sentences before I realised B was saying this for S’s benefit.  I joined in and we both laid on the fact that it would be much better if, when we came upstairs in a minute, we found S in bed.  We heard no sign that he had taken the hint and so I snuck to the bottom of the stairs where I had to stop, rush back and get B to come as well.  At the top of the stairs we have a bookcase with books that mostly relate to my masters thesis, as well as some other historical texts.  Which meant I was a little surprised when I got to the bottom of the stairs and saw S rearranging the books on that bookcase.  He was just nonchalantly stood shuffling books in and out, moving them around and generally having a brilliant time.  Now, rearranging bookcases is one of my favourite things to do in the world.  Give me a whole wall of disorganised books and a lot of free time and I will happily put them all into some order or other, that will probably only make sense to me, but they will be in an order.  You can imagine my pride, then, when I saw S doing the same thing.  Unfortunately it was way past his bedtime and he should not have been out of bed at all, so I had to put an end to his fun.  It obviously worked to calm him down though as I haven’t heard a peep from him for the rest of the night so far.

I have no idea what S thought he was doing.  I have looked and looked at that bookcase and I still can’t tell what order he thought he was imposing.  One day I might have to ask him.  But for now I will remain in ignorance of much except for this one crucial fact.  If you want a peaceful night, let your children run rings around you before you get them all packed off into bed.  It doesn’t half wear them out.

In case there was any doubt of the truthfulness of the blog, photographic evidence from the night after.


  1. I think this is my favourite of your posts so far! I con only imagine how awful I will be at policing night-time reading - as I was a shocker for reading well into the night when I was small!

    1. Thank you. I find bedtimes in general to be troublingly complicated affairs, even before we had three. Now it's all I can do to make it through without dropping off in one of their beds.