At the start of the spud’s little life, I confess that we played fast and loose with his bedtime. I mean, we tried to get him to sleep every night around 7, but if he wasn’t tired or if he kicked up a fuss, we were
After considerable reading and listening to friends, I finally caved in and worked out a sort-of-a routine. Slowly, slowly, we started to stick to it. And you know what?
Now, after several months, our sort-of-a-routine has firmed up into something robust enough that the spud is now anticipating every little step. Come 6pm he’s whining for his sippy cup and I put on ceebeebies and he sits on his beanbag with juice and a little snack gaping at Upsy Daisy while I put out his dinner and then put him in his high chair. After a variable amount of food, he gets down and stuck into some serious playing – we’re talking Speed Playing here - throwing every toy out of his box and clambering around the house clutching a ball in one hand and often something in his mouth as well. It’s important, you see, because it the Last Play Of The Day and he has to cram it all in at once.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, he would stand by the bath while I undressed him and, inspired by the water running, might have had a little wee-wee while he watched intently as it filled. Now, however, he's not interested in the water running At All. Now, the bath running is like the final bell signifying 'end of playtime' so as soon as his clothes are off, my little naked son tears off across the floor as fast as he can crawl, giggling and cackling while I stomp behind him saying things like ‘I’m going to get you’ and ‘I’m right behind you’ until squealing, he throws himself headlong onto the sheepskin rug (I know, I know, it’s like a Mills and Boon novel round ours) to be tickled. It’s about as cute as a baby can get, frankly and I’m still not quite sure how I managed it. I guess I figured I’d probably pop out a baby who already had a tattoo and both Joy Division albums. But there you go, or rather, there he goes, giggling away madly. The end of the routine sees him lying with his bottle while I lie beside reading him a book. If he’s perky, once he's done he wriggles off the bed and tries to rush to his toys before I can stop him but once I pick him up and carry him into his room, no matter how lively he was the moment before, he snuggles into my shoulder and sighs a bit and most of the time, he’s asleep before I even put him to bed.
I do credit the routine for this. Every step of the way, from the moment Iggle Piggle gets into his boat until the moment he gets carried into his room he knows what’s coming next - and it all leads to a nice big sleep and, not to forget, a nice big martini for Mummy while the Great God Routine rumbles away happily in his alphabetised heaven.
Amen to that!