The Bloke, August 19: We have fallen into the trap of allowing our children to come into our bed at night. The experts will tell you this is a Very Bad Thing.

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The trouble is that when you’re sleep-deprived you will do anything for an easy life. And my children know this.

At night I hear an anguished cry from the landing and find my daughter standing on top of the baby gate that bars the entrance (or rather the exit) to the bedroom she shares with her brother.

Worried she is going to wake him and I’ll have two wailing toddlers to deal with rather than one, I pick her up and take her into our room, where she quickly and silently clambers in next to the Missus, only pausing to demand that I fetch two of her most prized soft toys.

I wait until she is fast asleep and then scoop her up to take her back to her bed. I get as far as laying her down in her bed when she wakes up, regards me with a look that hovers somewhere between suspicion, surprise and downright contempt, and then starts crying.

I hurriedly take her back into our bedroom, desperate for her not to wake her brother, but by the time I reach our door I can already hear him emitting a low whining noise, similar to the one my dog used to make when he knew I was on school holidays and lying lazily in my bed rather than going downstairs to play with him.

I put my daughter in the bed and go back to fetch my son, briefly attempting to reason with him that, actually, four in one bed is an almighty squeeze and he might find he’s better off staying where he is.

He starts wailing more loudly. So I reluctantly bring him through too. The four of us lie there for 10 minutes, the silence punctuated only by the snores coming from the female faction among us.

“Do you want to go into your own bed now?” I ask my son.

“Yes,” he says.

I take him back and tuck him in, then return to find that my daughter has managed to spreadeagle herself over my third of the bed so that I have to shuffle her back towards my wife to even get in.

And even then I’m perched precariously on the edge, wondering if I’m ever going to get to sleep.

I don’t. So I decide enough’s enough and pick up my daughter and again try to return her to her bed. This time, praise the Lord, she doesn’t wake up.

What follows are nearly two hours of blissful sleep. Then I wake up again to find my son sobbing at the door and my daughter back in the middle between me and the Missus.

I have no idea how or when she got there, but realise I mustn’t have closed the baby gate when I deposited her back in her bedroom. Again I wait until they are sleeping soundly to remove them. This time I make sure I shut the baby gate behind me.

At 6.43am, the Missus wakes up and stretches the stretch of someone who has a restful, rejuvenating night’s sleep, ignoring the red, bleary, blinking eyes beside her.

“Brilliant!” she says, checking the bed. “Neither of them came in during the night.”

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