Friday, 25 July 2014


Each night at 8pm I sit on the uncomfortable dining chair next to Ruby's cot. She is in her pyjamas in my arms, guzzling a beaker of milk.

"Night night me, and night night you. Night night sock, and night night shoe..." I recite the poem that we've been reading to her every night since we cracked down on her bedtime routine. It's now ingrained into my brain, I no longer even bother to pick up the book.

Sometime I change it up and say Night Night Roo instead. She smiles a milk coma smile.

Her eyes are heavy and droopy. She wriggles up onto her knees and flings her arms round my neck. She nuzzles in for a hug and I can feel her eyelashes flutter against my skin.

If she struggles to drop off I softly sing to her whatever is on my heart that day. Amazing Grace, Crown Him with Many Crowns, maybe a bit of a Hillsong medley. Songs that have defined my life and my walk with Jesus. I pray peace over her little head and rock gently. Backwards. And then forwards. Over and over again.

When she looks like she's nearly off in La La Land I start to count in my head. 1...2...3...4.........58....59.....60. At 60 I stand up, her tired little body dropping away. I rock for another 60. I then lift her, stretching on my tip toes and lowering her into her cot. I rub her back for another 60. I stand like a statue for another 60. I creep out the room, sometimes pausing at the door for another 60. She is asleep. Until morning.

Next door we can hear our neighbours going through the same routine. Except they leave little Tommy to cry it out. We hear him as he shrieks and screams. They soothe him and leave. He screams some more. Eventually he is asleep.

On the other side Rosie is already asleep. Her bedtime is earlier and she just goes straight down. Her mum and dad stand in the garden having a chat, safe in the knowledge that she will sleep through til morning.

It struck me last night that at any one time on our street we are all doing the same things, albeit in different ways. We have different techniques. Different methods. But the end goals are the same. It's a beautiful picture of the normality of life.

We are all trying to raise our kids the best we can. We are all trying to implement good sleep patterns. Good routines. We all feel guilty for whatever method we might choose, and yet we stick with what works.

My parenting moto?

"Whatever gets you through the day!"

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