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.”



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. angelsandurchinsblog
    15th October 2009 / 10:25 am

    OK, you probably don’t need me to tell you how lucky you are with the sleep thing. 14 hours? Seriously? How? Sorry, just dozed off while typing… zzzzz. Any secrets to your sleep success, please post.

  2. 15th October 2009 / 10:28 am

    I like the idea of my children reading to me as I rest my eyes. I will be trying that tonight.
    Seriously though 14-16 hours sleep?
    *wanders off muttering under breath*

  3. 15th October 2009 / 11:44 am

    Great post – it made me laugh out loud! I’m glad it’s not just me that dozes off…

  4. 15th October 2009 / 12:58 pm

    hmm – I have child and sleep envy going on here. Try living on getting up before 6 each morning. I have tried and tried to make this later, but both boys fall asleep by 7.30pm and get up about 5.45 eek.

  5. 15th October 2009 / 4:15 pm

    I am so jealous. My day starts around 5am!
    I’m new to mummy blogging but there’s an award for you over at my blog. Apologies if you’ve had it already – I don’t really know what I’m doing (with awards, motherhood, life in general…)

  6. 15th October 2009 / 4:59 pm

    My first was a sleeper, too. My second only sleeps twelve hours a night. Boo-hoo. 🙂

  7. 15th October 2009 / 6:51 pm

    i want to run under my duvet and cry like a baby after reading that. well done you…. you must write a book please detailing EXACTLY what you did to get your child to sleep that long. admittedly i’m a ‘Gina mum’ – and it has worked to the extent that they sleep frorm about 7.30 to 6.30am…. we need to get up at 7 to get out in time,…. but still that half hour would make all the difference! Book. Please!

  8. 15th October 2009 / 7:11 pm

    We like our sleep here too. I chose afternoon nursery so that we could maintain our lazy mornings – Erin wasn’t dressed until 11am this morning (Gina Ford stick that in your pipe and smoke it)

  9. 15th October 2009 / 8:27 pm

    OMG I thought I was the only one w/ a freak child! Squidge sleeps for at least 12 hour every night usually more like 14. Up until this spring I would put her to bed at 7 and she wouldn’t stir until 10. It was heaven. The first time she woke up at 8 I think my body went into shock!! I dread school! As for Gina Ford, I would say something but I’m afraid she’d try to sue me!

  10. Sally
    15th October 2009 / 11:42 pm

    No, we’re absolutely the same – I really, really made the most of this summer and my 10am wake-ups!
    School hasn’t been quite as much of a shock to her as I feared, but I’m struggling getting up at 8am five mornings a week after two years of lying in most days – I’ve relied on that sleep to enable me to work into the wee small hours, and now I’m starting to crash at midnight. Irritating!
    I actually spent a lot of time not telling people how much Flea really slept in case I found myself friendless, so it’s nice to know we’re not the only ones!

  11. 16th October 2009 / 8:17 am

    That picture is so cute! Piran loves to sleep at night but still needs feeding every 4 hours so I do get to sleep but it is broken up and that hurts!!!

  12. Sally
    16th October 2009 / 10:16 am

    Ah, yes, the pic is Flea when she had just done her first ever swimming class!
    And I feel your pain – I hated those broken nights in the early days. Torture, but it does soon pass

  13. 17th October 2009 / 4:40 am

    This is awesome and so cute that she read to you for so long. Man she is a sleeper!
    Sophia sees me yawning at night and rubs my cheek and says its okay mommy, you can go to bed right after this book. And I melt. She is 3. She goes to bed at 8 and wakes up at 8.
    When she is 5 and goes to kinderarten the bus comes to our street at 6.45. What you say? Are you kidding? Nope! And it drops them back off before 3 pm, leaving the parents with completely pooped kids at that witching hour!
    I am terrified. We already eat cereal and granola bars in the car to preschool at 9!