ARGH! Go to sleep!

Me trying to get Xander to sleep

This post is about a monumentally shit night’s sleep. I’m writing it straight after an equally awful one, so please forgive any bitterness. Xander has, of late, been a complete nightmare during the hours when children of his age should be fast asleep.

He was already rubbish at sleeping through the night – I think we’ve had two uninterrupted ones in the near 16 months he’s been around. That said, he’s recently taken his flagrant disregard for kip to a new level. It has coincided with the recent hot weather. I’m not complaining about that, by the way. Stay please, sunshine. As long as it’s vaguely warm, he won’t go to sleep without an epic battle.

So it was that, one day last week, I had to try all kinds of things to get him to eventually surrender and go down for the night. I say ‘night’; it was about three hours. First of all with the bedtime routine perfectly observed and laddo looking decidedly drowsy, I put him in his cot while making that sound favoured by strict librarians and started to edge away.

He sprung to his feet, threw his dummy and cuddly toys to the other side of the room and began demonstrating his incredible lung power. More cuddling and shushing then. No success. Toothache, maybe? He seemed to have a little bit of tooth rash, so I gave him a small dose of Calpol to take the edge off and allowed a bit of time for it to kick in while giving him a cuddle. Still nothing.

Next up on the checklist of things that may prove soporific was motion. We don’t have a car – and I don’t drive anyway so that would’ve been a flawed plan. So I put him in his pushchair and took him for a ‘quick walk around the block’. “That’ll do it,” I thought to myself. Silly naive Tom!

As we got further around the circuit I had in mind, it became evident that he was still nowhere near going to sleep. I extended the route. Several times. Every time I thought he was going to nod off, he decided to show that he knew words for things we saw on our way round. He also showed he knew what noises animals make by greeting both a dog and a cat in their native tongues.

When I got home 45 minutes later, he was still not asleep. Maybe a story would do it? For some reason, I decided that getting into his cot with him to read a book together would help. And it started out alright. Until he’d had enough of The Gruffalo and started using it as a surprisingly formidable weapon. Oh, and Dylan who heard the commotion decided to join us and helpfully gave his little brother several more books to throw.

I can’t remember how we actually got him down in the end. I think Kate probably managed in five minutes flat.


  1. JohnC

    I believe if you go to YouTube and look up “Samuel L Jackson Go To Sleep” you’ll find a beautiful, quaint, and not at all sweary story lovingly read describing this very scenario.

    I used to spend hours rocking the little blighters in my arms, singing to them (though whether this helped or hindered is unsure). Not sure I ever resorted to driving around as in my sleep-addled state it probably wasn’t the safest option. It does get better, honest.

  2. Sarah Miles

    I sympathise. I have run out of threats and cajoling to get ours to sleep and supernanny can bugger off. Just as one goes quiet, another one kicks up, thus reviving the slumbering one (repeat x a zillion).

    It’s all very well following ‘rules’ if all parties abide by them and are not too knackered to administer them.

    So, I offer no advice, but a virtual beer and sympathy x

  3. Craig

    I feel ur pain, we had that same problem with JR for nights on end we walked him round the streets for hours, the mother-in-law had to take over sometimes just to give us a break and unsurprisingly he soon went to sleep

  4. Aida

    oh my, I’m right there with you! our lill guy isn’t an amazing sleeper either on the on the past couple of week, with the heat, I have been reviving the awakes every two hours through the night…please sunshine stay but let my baby’s bedroom stay cool? πŸ™‚

  5. Becky

    Hi there,
    This is a massive problem, but we found our solution. I would recommend to take a ride with your little one. That really helps. Once he’s in the car – he’s off! πŸ™‚ 3 x around the block and job done. πŸ™‚ Try it!

    1. Post

      Thanks Becky – afraid we don’t drive though, so guess I’ll have to stick to the pushchair! πŸ™‚

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