“They don’t come with an instruction booklet!”
How many times did we all hear this when faced with a new little life? Well it is . . . quite frankly . . . bollocks. Trouble is – say I – there are too many instruction booklets. From Baby Whisperers to Celeb Mums to military-esque style “experts” that time table in when your child needs so much as a fart (not mentioning names – she might sue me) we are awash with advice: Some of it helpful. Most of it contradicting. All of it gently chiselling away at any self belief that we could do a fine job of parenting with our own common sense and gut instincts.
The day I became a happier more confident parent was the day my husband (literally) threw the Contented Little Baby Book out the window. It was not for me.
BUT! I hear that some parents have found these books a God send. That they relish the guidance and the structure they can bring. So maybe I’m actually missing a trick here. I have painstakingly found my own way through the murky world of bedtime routines and sleepless nights to reach a point where Grace settles beautifully and sleeps through, so who’s to say I could not be the next parenting Guru/self appointed sleep expert?
Yes lucky reader; I shall now impart for you the preferred bed time routine followed by the Water Birth Please household. This carefully constructed routine is a result of two and a half years of fine tuning, empathetic toddler bonding techniques, a strange little girl’s demands, and no previous childcare experience in any way shape or form:
7pm – Bath time.
7.15pm – Brush teeth. Child must be under the illusion that the Peppa Pig soft bath toy is in fact brushing them and not Mummy. This involves some tricky slight of hand work in order for Mummy to help the small pink piggy flannel hands to grip the tooth brush, and Peppa must provide a running narrative throughout.
7.20pm –Insert toddler into pyjamas and tie hair back.
7.30 – Story time. Increasingly disastrous as previously discussed here.
7.45 – Lullaby is sung. With one hand, toddler walks two fingers around Mummy’s face, whilst sucking thumb with the other hand.
7.50pm – Toddler is placed into bed. Protests are ignored
7.51pm – At toddler’s insistence, three small plastic knives are carefully inserted into the hair. This placates toddler immeasurably. I have no idea why.
7.52pm – Two favourite dolls, baby Isobel and baby Amber, are tucked into bed also.
7.53 –. Replace toddler and dolls back into lying position after she has jumped up to shout at and kick away the imaginary frogs in her bed. This process can be speeded up if Mummy joins in and chastises the said frogs.
7.55 – Mummy kisses goodnight to baby Isobel, baby Amber, and an extra big kiss for actual living child.
7.56pm – Two plastic crisps from the play food set are carefully balanced on toddlers stomach.
7.57pm – Kiss both of toddler’s elbows and rub noses.
8pm – Light off. Exit nursery. Keep everything crossed that the imaginary frogs do not make a re-appearance or that baby Isobel or baby Amber do not need their toy milk.
8.01 pm – Pour BIG glass of wine.
So what do we think? I believe my techniques are completely original (and subject to copy write.) Personally I think I’m really onto something here . . .