When I had my first baby, she slept quite well. So well, in fact, that I made Daddy Pig swear on his life never to tell ANYONE. He got to go to work during the day. But I needed other mums to hang out with. My second girl slept even better. 'TELL NO ONE,' I reminded him. Then I cocked it all up. And smug old 'I'm so good at this baby making s***' had to go and ruin it with a third child who frequently gets up at hideous o'clock and makes me want to stick pins in my eyes come bedtime. These are the main stages of our bedtime routine. Every. Painful. Night.
Stage One: Denial
ME: Ok, it's time for bed now. In we go.
HIM: That's not my bedroom.
ME: I'm sorry?
HIM: That's not my bedroom! Look at it! THAT IS NOT MINE!
ME: (Under my breath) Good grief. Good f*cking grief. Where's the gin?
Stage Two: Debate
ME: Time for sleep now. Lay down. That's it. Put your pirate ship down too. Good boy.
HIM: But I want to touch it. I won't play with it.
(He says, playing with it. Incidentally, this is the same conversation we have about his willy.)
ME: Well then you don't need it there, do you? Let me put it on the side for the morning.
HIM: Are you going to take my sword too?
ME: Yes. Yes, I am.
HIM: No you're not.
ME: Yes. I am.
HIM: You can't take it if I don't say that you can.
(Repeat the above conversation 2,378 times until I am literally thinking about stabbing myself with his sword whilst cursing it for being blunt and plastic.)
ME: (In that really happy/delirious/patronising/'I'm losing the f*cking will here' voice) GIVE ME THE PIRATE SHIP. (And then I ruin it ALL. And lose every bit of control I never had). IF YOU DON'T GIVE IT TO ME I WILL SMASH IT INTO A MILLION PIECES AND PUT IT IN THE BIN.
HIM: Where's your hammer, then?
ME: OMG. I am in actual, physical pain. Where's the gin?
Stage Three: Remorse
HIM: I'm sorry, Mummy. I'll put the pirate ship down.
(97 minutes have now elapsed since this whole sorry process started).
ME: OK. Great. Night then. (Turn to leave the room. FINALLY.)
HIM: Sleep with me, Mummy. And hold my hand, Mummy.
ME: (Under my breath) Oh dear God. No. I can't bear it. I'm not getting out of here alive. Ever.
HIM: Can you pat me too?
ME: (Look at watch. 8.45 PM. He'll be up again at 5.45 AM. I want to cry. I actually want to cry.) WHY ARE YOU RUINING MY LIFE LIKE THIS? WHY?
HIM: Can I have my pirate ship back?
ME: (Legging it out of the room) ARGHHHHHHHHHH! JUST GO TO F*CKING SLEEP!