Category Archives: Bedtime

Dulcie, as a baby, was described by someone far wittier than I, as having ‘a whim of iron’. She still displays some pretty resolute What I Like Catherine and Laurence Anholtbehaviour but can be as flakey as pastry when the mood takes her. A wish to open a bottle of nail varnish and coat the scruffy little nails of a group of two friends and a neighbour’s toddler? Then she can spend ten minutes (which in a preschooler’s life is like a supereon) with her concentration-tongue poking out, sweaty palms twisting the lid and nostrils flared with the effort, until the silence and the smell cause me to run up the stairs and put a swift end to proceedings. Sadly only after twenty digits have been swathed in Hello Kitty pink. A long day, a slippery bit of jelly that won’t get on the spoon? Then she can curse jelly and renounce it after a nano-second of trying.

Himself the Elf is made from sterner stuff. He won’t allow obstacles to bend him from his path, whether they are physical (SHOVE goes the chair put in his way. PAH to the fence as he tries to slither underneath. UMPH to the door that has been shut on him) or his own limitations. There is now nothing that is out of reach, for he just climbs to get it. I honestly now find it simpler, easier and a darnsight less dangerous to hand over what he wants before he makes too much effort to get it (obviously, I don’t count knives, matches, medicines and the like under this as they’re dangerous, or dried apricots as too many have a predictable outcome and I’m the person who has to deal with it). Continue reading

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There is, I suspect, a pinch point in everyone’s day when they wish they were someone else or somewhere else. Or both. It normally occurs about the same time every day, whether it is a hellish commute, a frantic deadline rush, or children’s dinner time. Oh dinner time. At some point between 4.45pm and 5.05pm, when the food for the children is practically ready, every single day, they will both be shouting, shrieking, grizzling at the table, and I long for the days that putting one’s head in the oven was a solution to such woe.

Dulcie will be in tears because:

  • She was enjoying a game which I have, with unspeakable rudeness, interrupted
  • She has not approved the menu for the day, as though she were a tiny Rebecca and I her giant Mrs Danvers
  • I am taking too long to serve the food i.e. more than a hundreth of second has elapsed between her bottom connecting with the chair and the food being put in front of her

Himself the Elf will be bellowing and lowing because:

  • I have strapped him in a chair and prevented him licking the television or trying to plunge head first down a step onto a stone floor
  • He is hungry. Or not hungry. Or tired. Or not tired.
  • Dulcie is doing it, so why shouldn’t he?

I long to be the sort of woman Continue reading


As I mentioned previously, Himself the Elf is being trained in the art of sleep. He is not, so far, a natural but progress is being made. He rails against this regime of no feeding to sleep, and I am keeping my clothes fully buttoned before he is placed in his cot. Sometimes he’s fine with this (i.e. a bit disgruntled but lies down and goes to sleep) and other times he is apoplectic with baby rage and could give Dylan Thomas’ father a personal demonstration of how to rage, rage against the dying of the light and the lowering of the blackout blind. Continue reading


Himself the Elf is learning a new skill. And it isn’t one he especially keen to learn. It isn’t climbing (learned it), or getting up steps (easy peasey), or throwing clothes out of a drawer that he’s opened (mastered that long ago) or wiping his nose on someone else’s trousers (simple). He needs to learn to fall asleep without my nipple in his mouth, but for him, this is pretty hard and unspeakably unpleasant. After seeing a sleep specialist, his favourite routine of me feeding him to sleep at night, gingerly placing him in his cot when he’s milk-drunk, and then him waking up every two hours and romping around during the night and refusing to go back to sleep, well, it is hopefully coming to an end. And so is his preference for waking up at 5am and cockadoodle-doing that the day is starting. We have been introduced to the mysteries of something called ‘the vanishing chair’, which isn’t linked in anyway to the The Wishing Chair sadly, meaning I won’t be getting any assistance from Molly and Peter, or Chinky the pixie. Continue reading