Putting the 5 year old to bed, at the moment (see? I live in hope), is a trial of endurance.
The 7 year old waited until her brother was born before she started sleeping through the night. I say sleeping through the night but she suffered from night terrors and other strange half asleep moments which involved me cowering in her room, at 3am, one night as she told me she didn’t like the man stood behind me *shudder*.
At that point I gave up all hope of having children who slept well until they reach teenagerdom.
All was not lost though, as the 7 year old continued to mutter and scream through the night, the 5 year old, from about the age of two, slept like a log, falling asleep 3 minutes after his head hit the pillow.
All that changed 6 months ago when, for no particular reason, he started regressing at bedtime. He was scared of the chair, the gap underneath his chest of drawers, his bear with the squashed head. He was even scared of his bed. We decorated his room recently which seems to have eased some of his fears but we have new ways to prolong the separation. We have the ‘Wave The Duvet’ and ‘Just Another Question’ round every night.
We read a story, have a kiss and a cuddle, then comes Wave The Duvet. This is a specific wave of the duvet. Not too much or to little otherwise you have to do it again. (Please note: I am aware of the fact that my child has me over a barrel. The size of that barrel has just become apparent with the words ‘Not too much or to little otherwise you have to do it again.’).
Just as you reach the door, and smell the G&T waiting for you downstairs, the questions start. This week’s topics are God, Africa and War;
How did God make bones? Do people in Africa have toilets? Does God have a beard? How did God stick skin onto humans? Why are we humans? Where does God live? Do people in Africa have computers? There was World War 1 and World War 2 … why wasn’t there a World War 3? Does God live on a cloud? I know, skin is really sticky, that’s how God did it, what do you think Mummy?
I have managed, over the course of four weeks, to limit the questions to two per bedtime. If I don’t know the answer or don’t want to get into a discussion about whether God a) exists b) lives on a cloud or c) has a long beard or a short beard I tell him we’ll look on the Internet in the morning. By the following day all thoughts of God’s living arrangements and facial hair are lost in the ‘which cereal to have for breakfast?’ debate.
Last night he changed the rules to our new bedtime dance. We did the Wave of the duvet, which admittedly I didn’t put my all into, then as I approached the door and readied myself for a question, about whether people in Africa have televisions or skateboards, he told me that I had to guess what he wanted to be when he grows up. “Easy” I said. “Either a professional skateboarder or a policeman” and with that, smugly, walked out of his room.
As I walked downstairs he shouted, from his freshly waved duvet, “No, Mummy! I want to be God or Santa”.
I’m wondering if I should look on the Internet to see what qualifications will be required should one of those vacancies arise.