Imperfect Single Parent | Just One Thing… An Advent Calendar of Bedtime Procrastination
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Just One Thing… An Advent Calendar of Bedtime Procrastination

R and I have a bit of a ritual, developed over the last couple of years. It’s all a typical bedtime routine, with some jumping on the bed; some failing to get into pyjamas; some sudden request for food or drink; some haggling; a bit of “I forgot to do my teeth”; and finally, a kiss and a hug and a “Night night.”

But then, just as I am dancing away, carefree, to my own evening time to myself, comes the inevitable and dreaded phrase, echoing out of the darkness: “Mummy, there’s just one thing…”

Now seasoned parents will know that this is 99% of the time a ploy for attention. But because of that one time in one hundred when it isn’t (that time when it was actually another boy bullying him in the lunch hall, which he hadn’t told anyone about is a pretty good example) I usually sigh, and say, “What?” (Or, you know, tease him for the pathetic voice and then ask what the matter is… I feel this is an important learning point for children. They obviously need to know when they’re opening themselves up to ridicule. And if that isn’t actually good for them, it definitely makes me feel better.)

I decided it might be interesting to record what those “one things” actually are for a while. They range from the heart-rending to the seriously ridiculous. Given that the time-period basically coincided with advent, here’s a little advent calendar of late-night whinges, random thoughts, emotional blackmails and occasional bizarre meanderings:

  1. Earlier on, when you said I had to go to bed, it upset me a bit and that’s why I didn’t want to read a story. But now I do actually want to read a story and it’s making me really sad because I always have a story unless I’ve been naughty, and I hadn’t been naughty. It was you being mean to me, so really that’s you being naughty.
  2. You said I could have another biscuit at lunchtime and then I forgot so I only had one.
  3. What does arse mean?
  4. Today we had the rhyme rocket in and they’re these people who do poetry, and they come into school and do all sorts of rhymes for everything, like “jam” and “ham,” and then we had to think of rhymes too, so I thought of loads, but I didn’t get picked when I had some so I started to put my hand up all the time, and then I only actually got asked when the rhyme was with “through” and the only thing I could think of quickly was “poo” and then one of the teachers told me not to be silly. But I wasn’t actually being silly, it was just the first word that came into my head, which wasn’t my fault.
  5. Today at school, Amelie told me because we were going to get married, which she always says, she could tell me a big secret, which was showing me her kilt. Only when she showed me the piece of paper, it wasn’t a big secret, it was just a drawing of a grid with “KILD” written underneath. I don’t even know what a kilt is, but I don’t think that’s what it looks like OR how you spell it.
  6. You know that nightmare I had before that I wouldn’t tell you about? I’m ready to tell you about it now.*
  7. I accidentally buttoned up my onesie with my willy sticking out.
  8. How does your brain work?
  9. I haven’t seen you very much today and I need a bit more time with you. If you come and snuggle in bed with me, that will make me feel more cared-about.
  10. I can’t think of anything nice to think about to go to sleep. Last time you said if I thought about Legoland that would make me get to sleep, but I was making a list of rides in my head that I wanted to go on next time and because I went to sleep I forgot them, so now I won’t know.
  11. I’m still hungry.
  12. My foot’s sore.
  13. I keep thinking about not being able to get to sleep.
  14. Do you think Harry Potter could use his own blood in a polyjuice potion to make himself look like Lord Voldemort? Or would it just make him look like himself?
  15. I wanted to play with lego but I forgot because I was drawing pictures, so now I haven’t got to play with lego at all today.
  16. Earlier, when you called me a grumpy-grump, it actually really upset me. I don’t like being teased when I’m tired.
  17. I don’t want to have a healthy breakfast tomorrow because it’s late. I’ll be tired in the morning so I should probably have some Nutella to make me feel better.
  18. Did you hear me do a fart? It was a sneaky small fart. It sounded a bit like a mouse.
  19. I actually wanted some more tea but you distracted me so I’m really hungry now.
  20. When I’m asleep, do the elves walk on me?
  21. I’ve got a loose nail on my finger, but I don’t want you to touch it because you might make it hurt.
  22. I thought of a joke, but I can’t remember it.
  23. I did a really nice thing for Granny but I don’t think the elves saw.
  24. What if I get out of bed because I have a bad dream and I need you, and Santa comes while I’m out of bed, and then he has to come and put the presents in your room, and then I go back to my room later and I don’t get any presents and you get all my presents?

If nothing else, I think this all sums up exactly how much suffering one six-year-old boy can endure in silence for 23.5 hours of the day. What a hero…


*This one was actually worth hearing. His nightmare was that he was outside the bathroom and I was having a shower, and then he could hear me crying and the shower had turned into a strange sucky thing with a white square which was from another bad dream he’d had, and I was going to get sucked up by the shower. Which does, in fact, finally explain why he never lets me have a shower in peace. I always thought he was popping in to check I hadn’t turned the shower on and then got a load of lego out to do without him.


If you enjoyed this, don’t forget to like and share. Or try a few other related posts like The Thirty Things Guaranteed to Cause a Five-Year-Old Melt-Down or How Not to Travel With a Four-Year-Old.

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