Updating the bedtime routine

When I was pregnant I bought myself a copy of Gina Ford’s Stepford Baby book. I binned it when I read in Chapter 1: “7am: baby is awake and dressed”. Not in my world, mate.

We’ve always been big fans of sleep in our house. Until she started school Flea would sleep for a minimum of 14 hours a night, sometimes even 16. I know this is weird. It’s obviously why I’m never having another child, because I suspect these freak events never happen twice and I fear the shock of a child who doesn’t sleep from 6.30pm to 9.30am might actually kill me.

But school has thrown a spanner in the works. Every morning at 8am (I’ve refined the morning routine so thoroughly that we can get up at 8am and be out the front door 18 minutes later) I have to shake Flea awake. Then I sort of prop her up while I put clothes on her.

While I get dressed, Flea goes downstairs and puts her cereal in a cup, topped up with raisins. We meet at the bottom of the stairs. She picks up her school bag, I pick up her coat, and we set off. She eats her cereal in the car, and so long as I brush her down when we get to school, no-one is any the wiser.

But by the end of the week, she's shattered. And so am I – these early mornings are killing me. So I’ve carefully adjusted our bedtime routine to compensate. It used to go something like: dinner, quiet play time, toilet, brush teeth, into bed for 6.45pm, one story, lights out.

For the last week it’s been more like: dinner, quiet play time, toilet, brush teeth, into bed, and Flea tells Mummy what’s in the pictures of her book while Mummy lies down on the bed with her eyes closed. I call it “practice reading” to make myself feel better about it, obviously.

Except last night I was rumbled. Flea poked me in the eye at 8.30pm. “Mummy, I’ve told you about three books now. I think you should go downstairs and do some work.”

Oops. Must have dozed off. “Okay darling, but it was lovely snuggling with you, thank you,” I said, bluffing.

She gave me a shrewd look. “Get off my bed. Please.”


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