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Please please please go to sleep, in your own bed, for the night

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We just discovered the Eileen Christelow’s Five Little Monkeys books and are excitedly awaiting Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed’s arrival (and are planning to go to the library to look and see if they have others from the series). I have no idea how we have missed a children’s book that involves sleeping, reading, and monkeys, three of our favorite reading subjects.

I’ve mentioned that sometimes one’s books can reflect the problems one’s child has or has had. Despite the occasional book eating and kicking, our daughter has been relatively unproblematic, meaning I have never thought about picking up the other books that exist for the many, many problems little kids can have. There is time yet, I know. Well, and then there is the whole sleep issue. The kicking is in fact related to the sleeping because for a short time she used to kick the wall (our neighbors love us), her parents, anything she could when she was trying to go to sleep. Or rather when we were trying to get her to go to sleep. Because of the always changing and ever exciting sleep issues we have a large number of books about going to sleep. I am talking double digits and I mean things far more specific than Goodnight Moon. We have books by frustrated parents, psychiatrists, and people who obviously just wanted to make money (that’s right, Elmo book, I’m probably talking to you!). These books are directed at different sort of parents (and children), co-sleepers, children who never want to leave the crib, children who just never want to go to sleep, children who are scared to go to sleep, and so on. We’ll try anything.

A lot of people’s children have problems going to sleep. I know this not only because of the sheer number of books that exist, but also because sometimes I talk to other parents, about their kids. Maybe your child has never had any problems with sleeping, if so, wow. And, I hate you a little bit. No, I am joking. I am not. And, maybe it’s coming. And, perhaps you are lying? Parents telling me their kid is perfect I find bizarre (perfect? Seriously?). A friend/acquaintance wrote me that about his/her baby (perfect! Never cries!) and I haven’t written him/her back. It’s been about a year. Tell me your child is the most amazing person on earth, I am happy to listen. Tell me he/she has slept well every night since birth, I am scared and do not believe you.

This is something people do not tell you the full story of when you are pregnant. I am also guilty of this. I say, after three months it is so much better! (It is.) It gets so much easier! (It did for us.) They are so much more fun! (They are! Every day they get more fun, it is amazing.) I don’t say, and no one said to me, “You may never sleep again.” Although one person mentioned that she didn’t sleep well for two years after her son was born. As a pregnant lady, I didn’t understand. Now my daughter generally sleeps fine, it is the getting her to sleep (by herself) that can be a problem, which is what most of these books address. Just to clarify, by “problem” I mean it can be an epic struggle. Apparently, sleeping doesn’t stop being an issue. People with three year olds, five year old, thirteen year olds have told me how their child wakes them up at odd times of the night or refuses to go to bed. I didn’t always use to sleep well and sometimes I still get up in the night, I think this could still bother my parents when I visit. So, the sleep interruption your child causes you may continue into his/her thirties. But then, eventually, maybe, they’ll have a kid and you can play with your grandchild, who won’t keep you up.

As I got together the sleep books I wanted to address, I realized there would be too many images for one post, so this is going to be a series. All this week and into the next, I’ll be talking about sleep. I will not be talking about Go the Fuck to Sleep, because I do not own it and have never had a copy of it at my house. Honestly, I am glad because I am afraid I would have read it without irony and uncensored to my daughter at some point. Do you have a favorite going to sleep book (for yourself or for your child)? Do Elmo’s eyes scare you, just a little bit, in the photo below?

4 responses »

  1. My son is almost a year old and has only started having the occasional good night of sleep in the past few weeks. A month or so ago I asked my husband, “Do you think a little tylenol PM would hurt him?” He thought I was kidding. I never did get the answer to that question…. I feel your pain!

  2. Have you ever heard D.W.’s song “Go to Sleep”?

  3. Pingback: Bedtime, it gets even better? | Children's books

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