The only sober one at the party (Or…, attempting to put exhausted children to bed)

There you are on the bathroom floor, spinning around on your back. Your little break-dancing move. Naked obviously; and shouting ‘Tickets please!‘ This is one of the funniest things In The World. Your brother can hardly contain himself, he is laughing so much. And once you’ve both had enough of that one, you move on to ‘You like CO-CO?’, which apparently is even funnier.

And here I am once again – the only sober person at the party; wondering what everybody else is finding so funny. Desperate to get this job done, because I know how long it all takes when you reach this slightly hysterical level of tiredness.

For the 28th time, I ask you to stand up and perhaps put your pyjamas on, but apparently this is too difficult. You can’t do it, you are too tired……’TOO TIRED’, you say…….‘Tickets please! Haaaahaaaaheeeeheeeee, you are soooooo funny. And I am sooooooooooo funny. Aren’t I, mummy? Weeeeeeeeee! Look at me spinning mummy. You like CO-CO?’

There are a few obvious differences between attempting to get my overtired children into bed and being the only sober person dealing with a drunken band of friends. You boys are smaller. You don’t smell of beer. Your language is clean and innocent.

But……well, there are some striking similarities too.

Standing up on two feet is just not possible, and so asking you to do it is, obviously, totally unreasonable. You can’t do it, you need help. ‘NEEEEEED HELLLLP!’ When I eventually manage to get you upright, you rock around unsteadily on those little feet of yours. You spin, rock, jump, hop, balance on one leg – anything rather than stand still.

Your already limited co-ordination skills have shut down for the day – the straightforward-sounding task of putting your pyjamas on has you totally flummoxed. I mean, you just can’t find them, to start with…..those pyjamas that mummy told you she was putting down right there……right in front of you. ‘I CAN’T FIND MY PYJAMAS! ……But I didn’t KNOW, mummy….You didn’t tell me where they WERE!’ But you’ve found them now which is a relief. Phew. And you get on with putting the trousers on your head and the top on like it’s a skirt. This is almost as funny as ‘You like CO-CO?‘ Obviously you have just about enough energy to run around and show everyone your new look pyjamas….before needing to flop back on the floor again.

You require constant direction, as if I’m having to walk you home. If I take my guiding hands off you for a moment, you are wandering aimlessly with no idea of where you are going or what your current task is. You require constant reminders of what it is you are supposed to be doing – ‘come on, stay with me, let’s stay on task. Remember what we’re doing. We’re brushing our teeth…..BRUSHING OUR TEETH. You don’t need to wander into your brother’s room to BRUSH YOUR TEETH. And you can’t do it while you’re lying on the floor either. Let’s get back into the bathroom and brush our teeth, shall we. Remember we’re trying to stand on TWO feet, we don’t need to do balancing right now.

You talk jibberish and burst into song out of nowhere…… and if a tired mummy who really wants to get you to bed isn’t the best audience you’ve ever had; well no matter, because you know that one or both of your brothers will find it all HILARIOUS. Mummy is so unreasonable at bedtime. Such a fun-spoiler…..I mean, she doesn’t even understand why ‘You like CO-CO?’ is so funny. And she’s always asking you to do unreasonable things like put your pyjamas on or brush your teeth so that you can get into that nice cosy bed. It’s not surprising you get so cross with her, really.

When I say cross, I mean you’re cross with her one minute but giving her a huge spontaneous cuddle the next. Because your mood switches within seconds – from being the fun joker to having a sudden outburst over why you still have your blue toothbrush when you REALLY NEED A NEW ONE! From giving spontaneous cuddles and kisses to suddenly needing to hit and cry and lash out.

The mood swings are sudden and messy and unpredictable; and they remind me just how much you need your beds. Even though you’re doing everything you can to resist.

Later on, when you are all safely tucked up, I pop in and check on you. And then I feel bad for being the fun-spoiler. For always seeming to hurry you along. For constantly asking you to stop this and stop that. I feel guilty that our hour before bed is so fractious and……well, the total opposite of calm and peaceful. But then I look at you fast asleep and realise we’re all ok. You’re in your beds, and that’s where you need to be.

Thankfully, there will be no hangovers for you in the morning. You won’t wake up feeling embarrassed at what happened the night before. You’ll get on happily with your day…..and then you’ll do it all again the next night. With that fun-spoiling mummy, guiding you towards your pyjamas and bed.

‘You like CO-CO?’

Bedtime feet



A festive scene

Let me set the scene.

It is the last day of term, and mummy’s three little boys finished school at 2.15pm. Mummy has seen enough of her boys over the last few weeks to know that it would be foolish of her to have high hopes for this afternoon.

The boys are balanced precariously on their chairs, half-heartedly eating their tea. Boy 2 (aged 4) is attempting to scrape ‘yucky bits’ off his pasta. Boy 1 (aged 6), and Boy 3 (aged 4) have requested half a piece of chocolate cake and half a piece of banana cake each. Boy 2 has requested a whole piece of chocolate cake to himself. Boy 2 quickly decides he is being hard done by. Boy 2 will not accept that there is no more banana cake; and is finding it difficult to understand that two halves make one whole. Mummy is frustrated, but also knows that it is probably a bit much to expect her 4 year old to get his head around fractions on the last day of term.

Boy 2 is hysterical, and finally falls off his chair; smashing his mouth on the table on his way down. Boy 2 has blood pouring from his mouth.

That is where we join the festive scene.

Boy 2: I am bleeeeeeding mummy; and because I am bleeding I need two cakes mummy. Did you hear me, mummy? I said I am BLEEDING! And I neeeeeed two cakes! 

Boy 1: Mummy, what is three quarters of 20?

Boy 2: Listen to me mummy, listen; it is not fair that I don’t have two cakes mummy. I don’t have two cakes, AND I am bleeeding, mummy.

Boy 3: Once at school mummy, when I was standing in my fire drill line, my bottom started tickling. It really did mummy. It was so funny, mummy. Did you know that? 

Boy 2: I want to go to bed mummy. I want bed because I’ve been bleeeeeeding, mummy. But I don’t want to go in MY bed, mummy. I need to go to YOUR bed, mummy. 

Mummy: No, you’re not sleeping in my bed I’m afraid.

Boy 2: But I WANT TO, MUMMY! Just for tonight. I’m not going in my bed mummy, I need a different bed. 

Mummy: Well I’m afraid I don’t have any different beds, sweetheart. Not until we have a bigger house.

Boy 1: In my pretend world mummy, I am 58. I have two children who are 28 and 26. They live near Leighton Buzzard mummy but they don’t often go there. More often they go to Tring. Or Cheddington. The furthest north they’ve ever been is Carlisle. What do you think of that? 

Boy 2: When will that be, mummy? When will our house grow? I need another bed, mummy. I’M NOT GOING IN MY BED! I had bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeding, mummy. 

Boy 1: I’m going to sing my Christmas songs now, mummy. Is that ok?

Boy 3: Can I hold that pot of Vaseline please, mummy? It’s got a good lid.

Boy 1: “Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum”

Boy 2: I need a go with that Vaseline lid. You’ve had it for a long time, it’s my turn. 

Boy 3: Can I have it back now please? I just want one more play with the lid.

Boy 2: But you’ve had MORE TURNS THAN MEEEEEE!

Boy 1: “And all the angels sang for Him, the bells of heaven raaaaaaang for Him”

Mummy: I think it’s time to say night night to the Vaseline now, please.

Boy 3 (kisses tub of Vaseline)*: Night night, Vaseline. Love you.

Boy 1: Did you enjoy my singing, mummy? I did them in a different order to normal. You probably noticed. 

Of course I did, poppet.


*Not even joking – he really did kiss the Vaseline.


Don’t worry, I re-arranged that tinsel.

Thank you so much for reading and for all your lovely comments over this year. I have loved sharing stories and so often have felt reassured to know I am not alone! Merry Christmas x