20 reasons to delay going to sleep (when you’re 4)

Boys, it’s 7pm. You know how mummy’s feeling. Mummy is snappy. Mummy is irritable. Mummy would like a bit of space just for 10 minutes. Mummy would like some quiet, some food and some wine. Mummy feels unable to do anything more demanding than sitting on the sofa.

Mummy also knows she has to pull herself together in order to get you boys to bed.

Mummy is battling through story-time with her best tired-but-honestly-trying-very-hard voice. You have insisted you want to read Troublesome Trucks, but you are now practising your tumbling routines. After stories you request Hide & Seek – two turns please.

I feel bad because actually you’re not asking for much, but what you’re asking for is more than I can currently give. You see, boys, it’s hard for me to be bright, chirpy, enthusiastic mummy after a 13 hour (at least) shift. One day you might understand that feeling. It’s 13 hours of asking you to please get out from under my skirt or to stop hanging off my legs; of taking you upstairs to the toilet because you don’t want to be ‘onely’ (that’s lonely); of breaking up fights and fumbling my way through questions that I’m really not sure of the answers to.

But here we are at 7.30, we’ve finally made it to your bedroom and I know exactly what you’re going to do next, Twin 2 – you’re going to get into bed the wrong way round. I shouldn’t turn you round, but I do. I like to see you tucked in and comfortable, I just wish you would do it yourself. And then we go through all the important things – night night, kiss, cuddle, sleep tight, see you in the morning.

Lights off, and off I go.

Except it won’t be long until I hear those little feet pattering to the door.

  1. I need the light on. Just a bit. Not that much. More than that. Yes, like that.
  2. I need the toilet
  3. You didn’t say ‘night night’.
  4. You didn’t say ‘see you in the morning’.
  5. You didn’t say ‘sleep tight’.
  6. You didn’t say ‘have a good day’.
  7. What didn’t you say, mummy?
  8. What was I going to ask, mummy?
  9. My duvet is not right.
  10. I can’t find white rabbit.
  11. Why have I only got one rabbit?
  12. When can I have three rabbits?
  13. When can I have four doggies?
  14. Is it morning time yet?
  15. I’m excited about starting school.
  16. Am I going to school tomorrow?
  17. I’m excited about being an adult. (Yes really, boys, you said this)
  18. When are we going to Grandma’s house?
  19. When can we go to see the fish?
  20. When is Father Christmas coming?

It’s not that I don’t want to see you boys. In fact, I can tell you that in a few hours I’ll be up in your room again, hovering by your beds, watching you as you sleep and thinking about what perfect, but exhausting, little souls you are. I’d love to have the patience to sit in your room for an extra 10 minutes and go through your questions one by one. But I don’t. Because after a long day dealing with three of you, there comes a time in the evening when I have very little left to give. And for me, that time is 7pm.

So let’s count up your rabbits and your doggies in the morning, when we can also talk about going to see the fish, what it’s like being an adult, going to grandma’s house and what the problem was with your duvet. But right now, mummy needs her dinner and the sofa.

Night night.


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