Why does parenting have to be so complicated? Has it always been like this? There are many things my kids can throw at me, literally. But there’s one issue which has slowly eroded my resolve – drained the once pinkish colour from my cheeks and replaced it with a beigey-grey blaaaa colour. It’s the dreaded bedtime routine! Why don’t they want to sleep? Yeah, we’re super cool parents who like a laugh but come bedtime we’re about as fun as playing musical chairs alone. There are only so many times I can pretend to enjoy reading Peppa Pig and, quite frankly, I don’t want to see a child’s face between seven pm and seven am.
When I think of the hours spent trying to get my boys to sleep, I can’t help but think about my teeth. Stay with me… it is believed the average person living till the age of 81.5 who brushes their teeth twice a day for two minutes, will over their lifetime have done it for 82 days. One day per year of life, pretty much. Seems reasonable. Nothing compared to, say, looking at your phone or hanging clothes out to dry. I made a calculation of my own but rather than it being for brushing teeth for 81.5 years of life, it’s for the estimated length of time spent putting my boys to bed until the age of six. I won’t break down the math, but I calculated 100 days. This revelation came in the middle of the night as Ove, 1, clawed at my wife’s milk-less boob. I looked at her blank expression and twitchy eyelid. I thought about my teeth. I made the calculation then whispered into the blackness of the night, ‘No more.’
No more co-sleeping. No more asking for stuff; one more book, one more wee, wanting to listen to Eddie Grant’s Electric Avenue one more time. No. More. Their tyranny is over. The new routine required some changes. A new bunkbed and a watertight plan. Five o’clock teatime. Five-thirty bath. Six till seven, low lights and chilled music. Calm games, baby has his milk, stories are read, wees are had, complex questions concerning the nature of Cheerios resolved. One parent kissed and squeezed. Two children in bed with classical music tinkering away, night light on and voila! It only went and flipping worked! Kind of. Mostly. Next plan? Getting someone else to do it so we can go to the pub.
BY ADAM GLENNON