I love sleep. Like really love sleep.
When Dominic first met me, he learned very early on in the relationship that it was in his best interest to keep my slumber levels topped up to a fairly reasonable level otherwise he’d have to deal with an emotional, irrational and completely awful girlfriend. When I had children I understood that the general consensus is that you must then wave goodbye to sleep, no matter how reluctant you are, and I accepted that (sort of).
When Amelia was born, I was so accepting that I thought I should pass on my love of sleep to her. Good gift, ey? The idea was that she would take care of it until she left home, didn’t need it anymore and could then give it back to its rightful owner, me. Amelia now needs at least 10 hours of sleep a night otherwise she too turns into an emotional, irrational wreck and the chances of her breaking down and crying are very high. When Penny came along however, I didn’t have the gift of sleep to give to her, it was already in use and Dominic refused to let go of his, so Penny disliked sleeping from day 1. She’s three year old and I still wake during the night to see her shadowy figure standing lifeless at the end of my bed (it’s just as terrifying as it sounds). She still finds early morning fun, encouraging her to nap during the day is always a losing battle, and now and then she comes alive at 2am. The only thing we can be positive about is her night time routine; that we have down.
It starts with her bath. During Penny’s first year, she never missed her bath and it’s very rarely missed now. I have these illogical thoughts that she’ll never ever fall asleep if she doesn’t have her quiet night time bath (thrashing around in the bath with goggles on is totally calming for a three year old, or so I tell myself). Once she’s turned into a prune and thrashed the contents of the bath onto the bathroom walls, it’s onto her bedroom for some pyjama picking and the daily discussion of why it’s not time to start playing a new game of Sylvanian Families. We then set off for the downstairs and she sprints for the cupboard where her beloved honey lives. I grab the Weetabix as she dances around the kitchen singing her rendition of Shirley Bassey’s ‘Kiss Me Honey, Honey’.
Once her one, two, sometimes three Weetabix are gobbled up and her teeth are brushed, it’s time for her favourite part, choosing her bedtime story.
I used to believe that ‘In The Night Garden’ would hypnotise your child to sleep, there has to be some outcome from all those creepy songs. Once I realised that it only affects adults in that way, and, just like me, she hates to miss the end of a program, this stopped and the no television after the bath rule kicked into effect. Now, it’s all about the bedtime story and this time my thoughts of her not falling to sleep without one aren’t unreasonable, she really won’t.
One of her current favourites is The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name, mainly down to the fact that it’s personalised to be about her (we all know how narcissistic three year olds can be ;-))
The story is all about a small girl adventurer with long blonde hair which is tied into a ponytail (just like Penny) and one morning this little girl wakes up to find her name is gone. She’s lost it and she can’t remember what it is. Throughout her colourful, animated journey she bumps into a number of characters; a princess who gives her a P, an elephant who gives her an E, a Narwhal who gives her an N, a Narbarlek (google it – heart meltingly cute) who also gives her an N and finally, a Yeti who gives her a Y. And after receiving all of the letters, the little adventurer runs back to her bed and remembers her name – Penny. What a coincidence? Actually no, when you buy a Lost My Name books you personalise it to suit the girl/boy it’s for. You first select the sex, you pick your adventurer and then add the name. You’re then given an example of what your book will look like and here you can also change the character that beholds each letter, so instead of princess I could have chosen a Phoenix.
Penny was bought this book for her first birthday and it is regularly her story of choice on a night – I think I may know it word for word. And thanks to this book in particular, she now recognises all of the letters from her name and will find them anywhere. I couldn’t count the number of times she’s stopped dead in the middle of a busy street, screaming ‘P for Penny’ while pointing at a shop sign in the distance, or almost caused a collision by screaming it at a passing car registration. So, yes Penny likes this book and she likes the letters from her own name, not too fussed about the other 21 though.
Do you have any books that you and your kids love?
*this post was sponsored by Lost My Name, but all gushing and love is my own.