The Long Kiss Goodnight

Syd has never been an easy sleeper. As a baby I swore he was living on New York Time. He liked to be awake until late in the evening, then sleep late in the mornings. If he was my only child I would have high-fived him for this, but when he is the youngest of three you don’t get the advantage of the lie in, what you get is an over-tired Mum and baby on the school run. Deep joy.




He is far better than he was. He often asks to go to bed at seven o’clock. Great huh?! Well, it would be if it wasn’t for the fact that the gap between going to bed and going to sleep can be up to two hours.

I know, we have made a rod for our own backs. I admire all you parents with steelier spines and strict routines, but our spines are made of cotton wool, and he has us totally wrapped around his little fingers. Literally often, as one of his favourite ways to comfort himself is to bind his fingers through my hair, and then tug. OUCH! There are many times where his almost snoozing head has been bolted to attention by a yelp of pain from me as he twists one turn too far.

Before we even head upstairs there is a ritual to be completed. He chooses who is coming with him. Currently it is ‘Bobby and Ray’, a small rubbery anemone and a Ray fish magnifying glass. Woe betide us if they have managed to hide in the jumble of other toys during the day. These items found, he says goodnight to Daddy. A very cute sight. ‘Night night, sleep tight, bed bugs bite’. He is the current owner of the World record in speed talking those three little phrases, the words blurring together to make one lengthy sesquipedlians dream. The ‘don’t let the…’ bit has been discarded for taking too long, let’s hope the bed bugs haven’t noticed the implicit invitation granted them each evening.

The same is repeated with his brother, then it is off to his sister’s room to say goodnight. A teenagers apoco-room is a fun place for a toddler. He negotiates the mountain of clothes on the floor to reach her bed, which is a raft of safety in a sea of chaos, then has to say goodnight to her, Hemmo her stuffed Panda, and kiss assorted friends of her goodnight on the iPad screen.

Next step is the new car seat that is in the hall between her room and ours. Placed there while waiting for him to grow into it, he has to pay it a visit each evening. ‘I sit in my seat’ he announces, or rather ‘I dit in my deat’ as the letter ‘S’ is still defeating him. He carefully examines both cup holders before leaning over to the adjacent full length mirror to say goodnight to himself.

Finally we make it to the bedroom, only twenty minutes after setting off for bed. Now it is time to choose some stories, or at least begin the bargaining over how many we are choosing. I may be a lax parent, but I am giving him skills that will see him being great in finance one day. ‘Ten more’ is often the cry. I mean why start off asking for one more when you can go for the big deal?!

Then we begin our stocktake of Mr Men books. They are numbered. We don’t own all of them, just most of them, so a daily conversation about which ones we do and don’t have ensues. Eventually he will hop up next to me in bed and we will finally read, pausing only a dozen times to answer questions about hats, or mouths, or any number of inconsistencies he feels he has spotted in the illustrations.

After the negotiated number of tales, it is lights off time. No, I can’t leave then, what do you think I am, some sort of competant parent?! This is far from over yet. We have to sing.

I use the last remaining vestiges of energy trying to soothingly sing Incy Wincey or whatever that weeks top hit is, then I say it is time to sleep. I have to lie down with him.

He chatters away about this and that, until I finally get firm and say it is time to sleep. He still chatters away while I pretend to be asleep next to him, causing him to peel open my eyelids to ask ‘Are you awake Mummy?’. Eventually he nods off, normally shortly after I do. I stumble awake some time later wondering if I have missed the whole evening, or whether I might be in time to get annoyed by Newsnight and plod blearily downstairs, rubbing my eyes, to grab an hour or two of adult time before falling into bed again myself.

Sometimes I wish I had managed sleep training, but despite the long drawn out nightly rituals, I actually quite like it. I love listening to him chatter to himself while he is drifting off, the uncensored whitterings of a toddler brain are bizarre and enlightening and often completely baffling, but always very cute.

Go on, leave me your tales of routine and kids who are asleep by half past 6, because it is nice to have something to aspire to!

Love Miss Cisco XXX



  1. May 15, 2014 / 9:58 am

    I’m sure a lot of mine is luck, but we put 6yo to bed at 7pm right from day one. There were hard nights when she screamed, and chatted, yelled and bargained. Still bedtime on a school night is 7pm now. She may not go straight to sleep and I catch her out of bed (when you hear the thud thud thud as she’s running across her bedroom), but she stays in her room and is often asleep quickly.
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  2. May 15, 2014 / 10:16 am

    My eldest is a good sleeper and will take herself off to bed at about 8pm watch a bit of tv or read and be asleep by about 9pm….
    With my youngest who’s 6 the battle starts at about 7pm….She thinks sleep is for the weak and can be quite happily some nights still be fighting it at about 11pm at night….She’ll still be up at 6am in the morning though…..I’d love to know where she gets her energy from!!
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  4. May 15, 2014 / 10:51 am

    Tom is an awesome sleeper, but only I suspect because he is still catching up on all the sleep he didn’t have for the first year of his life. God, I wouldn’t go back to those early zombie days for anything. He’s pretty much a 7pm-7am boy these days. If he’s not tired we tell him he doesn’t have to sleep, but he does have to stay in his room and look at books by himself. Same in the morning if he wakes up early that’s fine, he can sit and thumb through those Mr Men books by himself. There’s only so much Mr Nonsense I can take! xx
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  5. May 15, 2014 / 11:57 am

    This sounds familiar unfortunately! We have never had a good sleep routine and, like you, I’m actually not that bothered. It doesn’t last long – they will be teenagers before we know it and we will be moaning at them to get out of bed!
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  6. May 15, 2014 / 12:33 pm

    My bedtime routine was always fairly strict. Blues Clues / bath / bed. And once in bed that was it. There was no long drawn out process. I would tell them it was time to go to sleep adn that would be it.

    Now they are older it is different of course. I am the one in bed at 7.30pm and they are up until midnight.
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    • May 15, 2014 / 12:55 pm

      Blues Clues!! Had forgotten about that show, that was the trigger for my ten year old to go to bed, he was always a great sleeper, got lucky with him!
      Sonya Cisco recently posted…The Long Kiss Goodnight My Profile

    • May 15, 2014 / 1:42 pm

      Believe me, there are nights when I wish I was capable of strict!

  7. May 15, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    Enjoy these stolen moments with your little one. Syd will grow up so quick and if he is happy to have cuddles and stroke your hair now then let it be. Sounds like a lovely way to fall asleep but not always easy on you x
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  8. May 15, 2014 / 1:55 pm

    Enjoy it while it lasts as it will change. This reminds me of what Little A’s routine used to be like…. it just went on and on and on BUT now she sleeps very well and she doesn’t get out of bed either. Great post. X
    older mum in a muddle recently posted…#Once upon a time – The Deep EndMy Profile

    • May 15, 2014 / 2:15 pm

      The thought that he will eventually get good at it is what keeps me going on the evenings where it feels like bedtime will never end!
      Sonya Cisco recently posted…The Long Kiss Goodnight My Profile

  9. Gavin
    May 15, 2014 / 3:09 pm

    This is where having twin boys really has its advantages. Both go to bed at the same time, both enjoy practically the same things at the same time, books and toys etc, and there’s always someone else with them at night, even when mum and dad are hiding downstairs. Now they’re the ripe old age of 7, they’re happy to go upstairs for a story at 7 o’clock, then be left for an hour to discuss the days events and plan the next grand design on Minecraft, before lights out at 8.

    • May 15, 2014 / 3:12 pm

      Bless my lovely nephews! They can come talk Minecraft with Max, I have not a clue what he is on about half the time xx

  10. May 15, 2014 / 6:17 pm

    Oh this sounds so familiar – O has never slept well at all, not even as a baby. Aged 2.5 he still wakes up once or twice a night most nights… but the hardest part has to be the fact that bedtime takes a good 2 hours and usually involves one of us laying with a sleepy boy who wants “cuddles” even when you are already cuddling him or who wants to entwine his fingers with yours until he drifts off to sleep. I can’t cope with leaving him crying so we go through this time and time again… I’m glad to hear we’re not the only ones!
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  11. May 15, 2014 / 7:02 pm

    I take my hat off to you Sonya – you have the patience of a saint! I never had the time or inclination to get into these kind of routines, I was always very strict on bedtimes as it was the one thing that I treasured – a peaceful evening. Having said that, I do think that Syd will remember how lovely and cuddly and precious those times were with you. Something my children never had a chance to enjoy! My middle one would have definitely benefited from this kind of attention, we regularly let her ‘cry it out’ and I feel so guilty now. Not sure I would do it again but she was definitely a ‘give her an inch, she’ll take a mile’ kind of kid.
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  12. May 15, 2014 / 7:18 pm

    Funny you should write this as with the lighter evenings I am struggling to get my kids to bed. Today I had to pick the youngest up from school as he had fell asleep at the lunch table! He fell asleep late last night and woke so early this morning and that is with blackout blinds. If you find any miracle sleep thingies do share them with me.
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  13. May 15, 2014 / 8:00 pm

    See I am strict about bedtime but I still get played anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ I get 100 questions about books (he knows the answers, just likes to drag it out) always ‘loses’ his bear, remembers he needs something… Have you read The Honest Toddler? You would love that ๐Ÿ™‚
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  14. May 15, 2014 / 9:36 pm

    my youngest is the worst sleeper of my lot… though thankfully we don’t ahve to get up early in the morning so i can lie in!
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  15. May 16, 2014 / 7:42 am

    I’d be exhausted and probably fall asleep too! Mine are older now and love to read so both go up to bed read for half and hour then i go and kiss them and bam they sleep. However it wasn’t like that when they were little…precious days
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  16. May 16, 2014 / 8:09 am

    We’re quite strict at bedtime, but the problem is what happens after we close the door. Master C has taken to throwing his beloved Doggie out of his cot and then screaming the house down until we get it back from him. Then he does it again. And again. And again. The record is putting him down at 7.15 and still be picking Doggie up at 10.05 I’m exhausted from it all, but it’s just a big game to him. One that he doesn’t want to stop, no matter how tired he is!
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  17. May 16, 2014 / 8:35 am

    I have 3 and they’ve all been different! The 2 boys were polar opposites, the eldest wanted to be in bed at 6pm but up at 6am and the younger boy would hardly get to sleep before 11pm then wanted to sleep til lunchtime! We did all the sleep training but that’s still the way they would naturally be now if school/college allowed (and if teenager-itis hadn’t made them sleep for 20 hours straight!)
    My 11 year old daughter seems to be just right, and mainly looks after herself!! Lol
    Good luck!
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  18. May 16, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    My little boy is 2 and has a routine which we managed to follow most nights. I do wonder if this will change though when he goes into his toddler bed. I often find that the lighter evenings keep my little man awake and the early bright mornings wake him.
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  19. May 16, 2014 / 4:51 pm

    It sounds hard work, but cute too. We made a rod for our own backs with the kids’ food. Most parents seem to have trouble with either eating or sleeping. We might get bored otherwise, right?
    No 7pm bedtimes here. Ever. Our bedroom routine was shorter than yours, but we’ve never managed to get kids to sleep before 8.30pm and it’s a lot longer now. I’ve had a couple of nights like that with my daughter lately, where the only way she was going to sleep was to lie down next to me – in my bed. Needless to say I was asleep before her.
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  20. May 16, 2014 / 11:46 pm

    I used to be a lot stricter than I am now for some reason! All three used to be in bed by 8pm at the latest but now I’m lucky if I make it down before 9.30.
    I have to admit though, I do like the time I spend with them before bed. We either read, sing or do puzzle books or sometimes a mixture of the three. They also like to put a show on for me occasionally and did a sock puppet show the other night.
    I figure it won’t be long before they’re wanting to go to bed and read to themselves and I’ll miss that time so I’m going to enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚
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  21. May 17, 2014 / 6:56 am

    Isaac used to be a nightmare going to bed but we have cracked it……I think the exhaustion of school has helped. Eliza is our nightmare – she is wiped out by 6pm but that also means I am up at the crack of dawn as age insists on getting up at 6am……..we keep trying the groclock but she manages it for a few days and then goes back to early starts
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  22. May 18, 2014 / 8:43 am

    Hmm, I often wonder at all those parents who have got a full night since baby was 3 days old. I think they are so sleep deprived, they get delusional about the whole thing *sour grapes*
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  23. May 18, 2014 / 7:27 pm

    This brings back so many memories of putting cute toddlers to bed. Now I have to put not-so-cute teenagers to bed!
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  24. May 18, 2014 / 9:04 pm

    We have a routine but it is quite relaxed at times and there are always nights where they have the treat of staying up a bit. I love chatting to both of them before they go to sleep. I ask them what their favourite thing was that they had done today and if they can remember what else they had done. Your little one sounds like a loveable little character ๐Ÿ™‚ we also often have a story bargaining session. “One more…”
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