Go the F**k to Sleep

9780857862655_1Now before you get all uptight about the title of this post, please note that this is NOT how I talk to my child (out loud that is). This is actually the title of a little gem of a book that I happened to come across when working at Penguin and it just appealed to my jaded sense of humour.

The first thing to note is that this is not a book to read to your children, although the rhyming and illustrations may bring to mind your typical bedtime story. It’s a book for adults, written by a tired, fed-up parent and I loved it’s honesty and ability to make us laugh at ourselves.

It tells the tale of the nightly ritual us parents all follow, as we partake in the circus that involves putting our children to sleep. There are calls for favourite toys that cannot be found, a particular story to be read, or a bottle of milk to be prepared to just the right temperature.

I am going through a period at the moment where I seem to be doing this quite a lot. Rachel is lucky enough to own quite a few soft toys that have been given as gifts by family members. But there is a shortlist of about seven or eight that MUST be in her bed before she will even entertain the idea of falling asleep. She also has excellent eyesight. Although the lights are out she can tell if one of the shortlist is missing.

“Where is Big Bunny?!” she will shout, just as we have settled down to tuck into dinner. Once we have located Big Bunny (under the dining toom table) and are just about to put a forkful of supper into our mouths, we will hear “and Small Bunny?”. Small Bunny will be found in our bedroom and deposited into her bed. Once all eight toys have been found, we blissfully think we’re home free. Ah, but we’re not. Then there are requests for the blanket Granny gave her, some more milk please or (my favourite) Mommy’s pyjama top (that is currently being worn by Mommy).

After all requests have been met, then only is sleep (for her) and dinner (for us) a possibility. Now it isn’t always like this of course, many nights she sails peacefully off to sleep without a hitch, but on the nights she doesn’t, this book gives me a sort of strength. It’s good to know there are countless other parents going through a similar thing and that it’s okay to get a little annoyed and then to laugh at ourselves too.

This isn’t a book for everyone and it’s certainly one to keep away from little hands and eyes. But it makes a great gift for new parents or existing ones – as long as they share your sense of humour of course.

Penguin South Africa publishes an English version and Afrikaans version of this book.

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