Feelin’ hot hot…not

It has been an interesting twenty four hours during which I procured a fantastic haircut which, if I say so myself, has probably shaved about five years off me. The other twenty two hours I banked have done their their level best to add grey hairs and wrinkles but in fact only succeeded in dark circles.

There is a new game in our house at the moment called ‘hiding’. This is not hide and seek in the most traditional sense; our son basically covers his eyes and tells you to find him, and insists we guess where he is first. Dull, right? And just a bit not-very-clever. So in an effort to introduce him to the delights of actual hide and seek, last night when we heard my husband come in the front door I said “come on, lets hide from daddy!” Whereupon he put his hands over his face and I dived into his bed. Rather unexpectedly he got the idea instantly and followed me head first into the duvet, landing on top of me and in the process nutting me in the face. Writhing in agony, insult was added to injury as he gassed me out with a poisonous flourish, announcing to my broken face ‘mummy, I just did a smelly bottom pop!’ As if I didn’t already know.

Meanwhile downstairs, helpful husband was finishing up on the crackberry aka wife. No.2 and was no where to be seen. Eye swollen and nostrils flaring, I lurched out of the bed and hissed down the stairs ‘will you come and find us, FFS!’ and ran back up to the torture factory. He finally ‘found’ us, only to comment that my eye looked ‘pretty black’ and off I went to find mr. Bump the cold compress, and get ready for (yep, you guessed) our romantic date night out.

Cut to a bottle of red wine later and I couldn’t care less about the eye, in fact I’ve forgotten about it altogether. We get home and climb into bed after a nice evening out, and fall asleep in a semi drunken stupor. At 3.10am I wake up again, boiling. At first I thought it was the wine, but I figured I couldn’t possibly have drunk enough for my liver to fail to process it. It has been in training rather a long time. So, after about 40 minutes of attempting to find a cool spot on the bed, I get up and splash my face and walk around for a while. At 4.30am it occurs to me that maybe I’ve gone into eary menopause. It was about 5am the last time i looked at the clock, sweating and too hot to sleep – and at that point I think I must have fallen unconscious.

So at 6am this morning I was not winning the pretty award. Black eye developing nicely, and five hours sleep to my name, I was a post sweaty mess of mascara and garlic and felt like the human version of a coq au vin.

‘How did you sleep last night?’ I asked my husband. ‘Were you hot?’

‘A little bit’, he said. ‘Did you turn the air conditioning down?’

‘What do you mean, did I turn it down?’

It transpires that in an effort to reduce our summer electricity bills, my DH has been altering the temperature of the AC in the daytime, and on the days he forgets to change it back, lightly sauté-ing me at night.

Between the two of them, it’s a miracle I haven’t run away to hide somewhere neither of them will find me.

No rest for the wicked.

Apologies. Over the past two weeks there has been a slight pause in delivery of any kind of the brain spill I usually call ‘writing my blog’ due to the fact that I’ve barely had time to pee. Which my sister, by the way, informs me is bad for the complexion. Who knew? Anyway, the combined forces of visiting family, no internet, flying halfway across the world and the ensuing jet lag have put a spanner in the works the size of a small cocker spaniel. Never mind the unnecessarily cruel third week of Christmas holidays (who the f*** decided that was a good idea?) which have rendered me completely incapable of escaping upstairs to the inner sanctuary of my office for the past week.

But here I am. At last. Amidst tears of frustration and exhaustion around about Tuesday night, I claimed the weekend as mine and mine alone, to sort out my crap and get my life back on track again. My husband was surprisingly compliant (I think he may have feared for his life or my sanity, or both) although judging by the look on his face earlier today as I breezed past him with my third cup of tea and left him to the mercy of our three year old, I think he may have regretted it.

It’s always the same. Term time lulls me into a false sense of security, that I’m not mainly consumed the rest of the time by the business of running a family and living abroad. But as holidays loom and packing lists emerge, it becomes increasingly obvious that the task ahead is not easy. By ‘task’ I mean what other people refer to as ‘vacation’. I’ve spoken about this before, at the other end of the year, when we were on the road for six weeks or so and visiting several different continents. Of course this time it was only a few weeks. “Piece of cake!” I hear you cry. I would be inclined to agree with you, but of course Christmas brings it’s own special kind of bonkers. Trust me, going on holiday for a fortnight in the sun at a 4-star in Alicante is not quite the same as trying to recreate a home from home in a place that hasn’t been your home for twenty years and counting. It has to be done just right, so that your little one doesn’t question the existence of Santa (“But how will he know we’re not in Dubai?”)  and of course that the relatives and friends all get their pound of flesh (oh how I wish that were true, then I could have eaten even more food) and so that everyone within the ring fence is fed and watered and has lots of things to do to keep them interested but not so many they are overwhelmed. (Decent TV and internet would have helped with that, I dare say)- and that the boy gets his fix of fuss and attention from his adoring fan club before we up and leave them all behind for another six months.

Which of course brings me to The Return Home. Never mind the fact that I got back on the plane more exhausted physically and emotionally than when I had left. The next bit was even more fun. Husband went back to work the morning after we landed and then the true cold turkey began. Not more leftovers, but the bit where the boy and I have only each other for company for an entire week in horrific post-Christmas isolation while everyone else gets on with their lives. Post-travel fall out of the worst kind.

It’s been interesting. After the brief meltdown mid-week, it got better when we both realised that shouting was definitely not the answer. I am not sure who came to that conclusion faster, me or my pre-schooler, but it’s a small victory that we had two days of blissful harmony that included a supermarket trip, a doctor visit and soft play, and there were no tears and no rows and it felt like I was somewhere near being one of those nice mummies after all.

But I have failed, utterly, to get anything done. I think part of the improvement in my relationship with my attention craving, chocolate-withdrawing, overly-stimulated-by-relatives child was due to resignation on my part of getting anything done at all before the end of the week. Once I’d given up all hope things seemed far easier. Maybe that’s what women mean by ‘having it all’ – ‘all’ being by definition a very personal expectation of what you hope to achieve in life. If you hope for very little for yourself, it seems you may be in luck.

But today I have excelled. The PTA agenda for Monday’s meeting is drawn up and ready to go. The Christmas photos are downloaded. Property management issues both here and abroad are now a little more managed than they were. Finances have been straightened. Spreadsheets updated. Improv team is standing by for rehearsals. Reading list books read and notes made. I am not there yet – for example the thank you letters are still unwritten and there is no food in the house except fish fingers – but the fact that I’m sitting writing this is testament to how much better I feel about the state of things than I did. Of course I need to make the most of it given I have a Masters degree starting on Monday, and Improv performances looming.

And we still haven’t hit Day Nine of return yet, which is traditionally the day when something goes horribly wrong with the boy, or our lives, the house, or all of the above. That, co-incidentally, is also on Monday. I am full of fear about what it may be, the day will be fraught with ‘what ifs’ until it is over. ‘What if’ my son has got a bug from the soft play and can’t go to school? ‘What if’ my car breaks down on the way home from rehearsal and I miss my virtual MA course introduction? ‘What if’ all the white goods in the house suddenly realise they are three years old and break down simultaneously? ‘What if’ travelling has produced a profound but as yet unseen psychological effect on me, my husband, my son? Previous years the curse of Day Nine has included acute depression on my part, as the realisation that there is no going back sinks in. Two years ago my son developed a sleep disorder and my grandad passed away, both on Day Nine. The sleep disorder came in the form of crying every hour, on the hour, all night, for two months whilst I gradually positioned myself closer and closer to the door waiting for him to go back to sleep. Tiring, exhausting and upsetting, but not terrifying. Last year starting on Day Nine was worse. He refused to eat anything for three days after a nightmare that left him screaming and grabbing at his tongue –  resulting in assessment by an occupational therapist for possible autism. That was a fun week, let me tell you.  So the jury’s out until next Tuesday, on whether we have truly survived Christmas intact. I am hopeful this year, that as we have travelled about less and offered a greater number of grandparents up for play than usual, that we will be lucky and Day Nine will pass uneventfully.

In the meantime I have unpacking to finish, a tumble drier to fix and visitors to prepare for. No rest for the wicked? My brother in law is right. I must be the Wicked Witch of the Middle East after all.

The Wicked Witch

I’m here! I’m here! (Photo credit: Dulce Dahlia)

Busy doing nothing?

I have spent quite a while these past few weeks wondering what I do that means I don’t get anything done. This is a bad place to be in. I get that people who work or don’t have kids (or sometimes people who work and do have kids) don’t appreciate what I do all day but if I’m questioning it too – well, that is not a good sign. It’s not that I’m not running around like a crazy person, it’s just that I never seem to get anything done, or finished, or sometimes even started. Life appears to be a series of relentless activities punctuated with constant interruptions and no-one who isn’t doing the same thing can seem to appreciate that not working is not the easiest choice sometimes. Well, in actual fact the phrase ‘not working’ is not even an accurate description. It’s more a case of ‘not being paid for all the work I do’. Not that many people view it that way, but let me tell you, it’s not easy being the person that does all ‘the other shit’. Because that’s what most of it is. A load of old shit. But it’s shit that makes the world go round….and the world would be a poorer place if we weren’t in it. So I decided to keep a diary, to prove it. I’m not sure what I proved – mainly that I’m not as efficient as I would like to be, that living away from home adds about 2 hours of extra workload onto my day, and that a whole lot of it is spent chasing my own tail – but anyway, here it is, a summary of a day in the life:

3am: Wake up to the sound of child screaming because he needs the bathroom and the door has swollen stuck on his bedroom and he can’t get out. Take child to the toilet, put him back in bed. Lie awake for 45 minutes making various ‘to do’ lists and wishing for world peace. Or sleep.

6am: Wake up to the sound of child singing. Attempt to snooze and fail.

6.30am: Finally give in upon being butted in the nose by my loving, if slightly over-enthusiastic son, and get out of bed. Shower, and attempt to cover up bags under my eyes with make-up. Mentally add several items to my to-do list whilst drying my hair.

7-8am: Drink a cup of tea, write a thank you letter and succeed in getting it into the envelope without sticky fingermarks or my child ‘enhancing’ it with a crayon while my back is turned. Make nutritiously balanced packed lunch, cajole child into socks and shoes, pack bags and check emails. Quickly reply to various people from the US and UK who have all sent me messages in the night so they too can enjoy full in-boxes first thing in the morning.

8.15-8.45am: School drop off. Negotiate car parking, realise I have forgotten it was ‘Mo’ day. Consider using my biro to draw fake moustache on my child then think better of it. Remind myself that it is also National Day this week and add ‘fancy dress outfit’ to my list of things to organise. Remove old posters from various locations around the school as part of my PTA mum duties. Smile at lots of parents but keep walking purposefully so that I don’t have to stop and chat.

8.45am: Fight through the hordes of women parking up and head to the supermarket for tonight’s dinner (even though I clearly spent an hour food shopping yesterday, for some reason I still have an empty fridge). Bump into two people who want to stop for a chat, and get agitated to the point that I avoid making eye contact with the third person I see and reverse into the next aisle to hide. Forget blueberries for making fruit salad at school on Thursday and resolve to make a return trip tomorrow. Again.

9.15am: Assess ‘to dos’ regarding house maintenance, overseas property management, Christmas, travelling, Improv group, PTA and school stuff. Reply to emails regarding all of the aforementioned. Forget most of what I had remembered I needed to do at 3am this morning. Call a guy to fix DS’s bedroom door.

10am: Head to shopping mall. Buy DS some winter boots for our UK trip home, some pyjamas, cards and gifts for this weekend’s kiddie birthday party, and attempt to find some inspiration for DH’s Christmas gift. End up in a decoration trance in Crate & Barrel instead. Unless my husband wants seasonal napkins and a santa sleigh for Christmas this is considered an epic fail.

11.30am: Give up and go home. Grab a cup of tea. Start making food shopping list to order online for delivery to our rental accommodation in UK. Email several good friends I haven’t spoken to since summer but really should have so that I don’t have to handwrite paragraphs of crap into Christmas cards when I do them next week. Accuse some of them of being lazy for not getting in touch and keep it to a short, abusive ‘Are you still alive?’ type thing so I don’t have to write much. For others, write something longer and more newsworthy, copy and paste content, changing names as appropriate for speed. Yeah, I know, that’s really bad – but it’s very efficient. Deal with it.

12.15pm: Head back out to the party shop to buy the National day costume stuff I forgot to look for in the mall. Make a mental note I need to find the pirate costume already lurking at home somewhere for Saturday’s birthday party.

12.40pm: Make a sandwich and start studying. (In my head, this activity was allocated 2 hours today.)

12.41pm: Doorbell rings, it’s the guy about the stuck door. Abandon sandwich and studying to oversee job.

12.50pm: Repairman comes to tell me he is finished, so I go to check the work and pay him. Resume eating stale sandwich. At this point with less than half an hour of time left of my morning I give up on my studying and call my mother.

1.00pm: Tell my mother I have to get off the phone. Check email whilst talking and cross of the stuff on my to-do list. Mentally note I haven’t done very much of it.

1.20pm: Hang up and drive at breakneck speed to pick up DS from school.

1.45pm-5pm: Get jumped on, do colouring, play football, climb up stuff, assist in operating various toys, go to park, read books, cook, wrestle, repeat myself about 457 times, mend something broken, wonder if I’m starting to smell, sing, prepare dinner, be endlessly enthusiastic about stuff that is interesting to a three year old. (No-one who doesn’t have one will appreciate just how much energy all this requires, but trust me, it is the working person’s equivalent of conducting a series of endless negotiations whilst having your boss sitting on your lap singing for the entire day including bathroom breaks.)

5-7pm: Cook, play the ‘if you eat this you can have that’ game for half an hour or so, clean up, bath, bed. Get at least one phone call during this time from someone who should know better than to attempt to speak to me at this point in the day. Consider the merits of sauv blanc vs. responsible parenting. Settle for a cup of tea and half a cold (home made) chicken nugget.

7pm: Yank myself into a dress. Shave legs (just down the fronts where the light catches) with a wet razor and some moisturiser. Think about going to the gym in the morning. Assess my arms and legs for spit/ketchup/sand etc, brush hair, spray perfume on, add lipgloss.

7.05pm: Leave house for client dinner with DH.

11pm: Return home, slightly squiffy. Check emails and drunk message at least one person on Facebook. Enjoy precisely 3 minutes of quality time with DH to discuss the day. Go to sleep, safe in the knowledge that my day will begin again sometime between 3 and 6am.

Nobody’s perfect all of the time

I am a Virgo. It’s important to me that you know that. Virgos, as a rule, take their star sign very seriously – probably more seriously than is acceptable in modern day society – and expect you to take it seriously as well. That they are a Virgo. They couldn’t really give a hoot what you are. Unless you are a Virgo too.

White&black

How Virgoans see the world  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m pretty certain Virgos come across as some of the most irritating people on the planet. We are the picture-straighteners of the world, the perfectionists, the hyper-critical, overly-logical, self-analyzing, right-angled, alphabetising, colour co-ordinating junkies of the human race. Black is black and white is white and there is officially no such thing as grey. ‘Change’ is a dirty word unless it has been planned that way. Achieving perfection is not the stuff of dreams, it is a way of life. ‘Trial’ is fine; ‘Error’ – not so much. And if all that wasn’t enough pressure, of all the Virgoans I have met and befriended over the years, many, if not all, have been actors, photographers, designers, and writers – i.e. creative. Creatively challenged, actually – because all that super-organised, self-critical think-in-straight-lines stuff gets hugely in the way of the fuzzy-wuzzy-dolphin-music-hippy-dippy-shit we like to immerse ourselves in. But somehow, magically, it works, and when a Virgoan manages to finally tap into their unconsciousness to get the creative stuff out before the conscious brain sets to work on recalibrating it to make sense, they tend to produce great (if not completely perfect) results.

So when a Virgoan screws up, particularly one who is of a slightly more creative nature (one might suggest the term ‘drama queen’ as appropriate to insert here) it is nigh on impossible for them to adopt an ‘oh well, never mind’ approach. It is, in fact, the end of the world. Which is about where I have been most of this week.

If you read last week’s post you will recall that I started off my dalliance with imperfection whilst cooking for a dinner party. Never before have I cocked up so much food in such a short, important space of time. That was last Friday. It should have been an indication of the greater incompetence that lay ahead.

Last week, shortly after posting my blog, I waited for a delivery to show up. A new, longed-for mattress with an all singing all dancing memory foam topper that would hopefully put an end to broken sleep and bad backs. When it arrived, it took them half an hour to get it upstairs due to a rather tight spot between the ceiling and the stairwell. Not wanting to think the worst, I ignored the fact that I didn’t remember this being so much of an issue with our old bed when we moved in, and instead blamed it on the general incompetence of the delivery team.

Not so. In fact it was MY general incompetence that was at fault, as became blindingly obvious when the mattress arrived in our room and was -oh – a good ten inches bigger than our bed. I had forgotten to measure and had guessed when we ordered. And I had guessed wrong. Oh the shame. So much so I blamed my husband in the ensuing phone call to the mattress company and with lots of eye rolling and pretend-crossness at his incompetence (sorry babe) I convinced them to exchange it for the correct size.

But what was it I was ashamed of? Not getting it wrong, per se, but that I had guessed. GUESSED. No Virgo GUESSES anything. It is simply not in our vocabulary. Something was going very, very wrong.

This morning we were due to be on a plane to Sri Lanka. I know that because my travel spreadsheet (oh yes) says so. But instead I am typing this in my study and we are clearly not on a plane anywhere. In a conversation with our housemaid, who hails from Colombo, I discovered that not only was the country still at the tail end of the monsoon (a fact I had known about but chosen to ignore up until now) but that there were ‘bad mosquitos’ in the capital city. Upon further inquiry it transpired these ‘bad mosquitos’ were called ‘Dengu’. Hmm. That sounds alot like ‘Dengue’ to me. So I did a bit of Googling and what do you know, there is a pandemic on. Who knew? Not wanting to be put off entirely (although by this point I must admit I was going a little cold on the idea) it got me thinking about all the other diseases we might pick up. We knew malaria didn’t affect the thin sliver of coastline we were visiting, but in full confidence that was all I needed to worry about, I managed to entirely forget to check our vaccination records until a week before we were due to travel. It turns out my son hasn’t had a typhoid jab and although the nurse was vaguely confident it would be ok for him to travel five days after the vaccination, she did mention that ‘before four weeks is best, ma’am’. Given typhoid is spread through water and the monsoon is still finishing up, it would only take one dodgy washed vegetable and that would be that.

So we cancelled. And being a Virgo, I take it as a personal failing that 1. I didn’t research the weather patterns and disease issues properly in the first place, 2. I didn’t organise our vaccinations in time and 3. I didn’t worry enough.

I didn’t worry enough. How does that even make sense? That’s how perfect I want to be, that I am worried about not being worried. It is extremely stressful being this self-critical. It takes up huge swathes of time and energy, being cross with oneself for not being ten out of ten ALL THE TIME. (A score of ‘ten’ being most sane people’s ‘eleven’, of course.)

So this week, in summary, the thoughts running round my little twisted mind (at 90 degrees, obviously), go something like this: 1. I can’t cook, 2. I guessed something and that is a BAD THING and 3. I didn’t worry enough. As I result, we ate ice cream, haven’t slept well and aren’t going on holiday. I’ll leave it to you to work out the order of disaster rating.

Things have taken a turn for the better since I realised I had dropped the astrological ball and gave myself a stern talking to. It’s Thanksgiving next week, and in an effort to pull my Virgoan socks right back up I am currently surrounded by shopping lists and schedules for preparation and cooking. I have already been out and purchased a soup tureen, turkey grippers and extra pie dishes in anticipation of producing a meal for ten nothing short of utopian. I have bought a new tablecloth (I measured the table first), done an inventory of glassware, plates, napkins and suchlike to ensure we can cater for a crowd, and assessed the state of the decorations hidden in the under stairs cupboard for the past twelve months. I have candles, name place cards and have already printed menus for the buffet table. The turkey is ordered and my housemaid is on standby to help with peeling vegetables and washing up. I am determined this meal will look perfect, taste perfect, and run like a well oiled machine, so that I can kick back and have a glass of wine by the time the pies (plural – apple, pecan and pumpkin) are served. In fact, I am so demanding of my own organisational excellence that I am considering booking a manicure for the day before, so that I can look immaculate too and really test out just how perfect I can be. I need to get my Zodiac groove back and there is only one way – to get back out there and give it all I’ve got at being great.I am in competition with myself. Tragic, but true.

If it goes wrong, fellow Virgos, I promise I will change my birthday.

I can’t get no sleep

My son slept until 6.20am today. I could count the number of times this has happened in the last 31 months on two hands and it would have been perfect…except for the 5am shout out to the masses about some grievance or another that needless to say woke me up with with a start and left me unable to go back to the land of nod. Sod’s law and all that, you might say, but it’s a classic example of the general sleep deprivation that rules our house on a near-daily basis.

There is no doubt that my son is a historically terrible sleeper. When he was a newborn, I used to think I must be doing something wrong that all the other babies around me would sleep, well – like babies. Mine would be staring at the ceiling (or more accurately at a particular spot on the top of the door frame) for hours on end whilst I frantically tried to rock him into the land of nod so I could have five minutes of down time. Once he was asleep, staying asleep was the next challenge. While my friends were busy enjoying a coffee and a chat as their cherubs snored blissfully in buggies, mine would be thrashing about within fifteen minutes flat, demanding attention or food, or both. The other day I watched with horror when a woman wheeled her three month old into the nail spa. Irritation that I would have to now sit and listen to someone else’s small child during the precious few hours I didn’t have to listen to mine was quickly replaced by envy as the baby gently closed his eyes, and as if on cue, fell asleep and stayed asleep while his mother had a full manicure. The stuff of dreams. Only not mine, because I’m never asleep long enough to dream.

Go the Fuck to Sleep

One of my favourite books read beautifully by Samuel L Jackson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As my son grew older he adapted to a routine of about four naps a day. Which was great in theory, if only they didn’t last 20 minutes each, approximately the length of time it takes to go to the bathroom, boil the kettle, make a cup of tea you will never get round to drinking and – oh no, that’s it, he’s awake. Night times he learned to sleep with only a few wake ups…until 4.30am. Yes, for an entire summer we were woken before dawn, trying every trick in the book to make him go back to sleep and all in vain. Finally as he turned a year old, he figured out sleeping solidly at night. For six months we rested and enjoyed comparative lie ins until 5.30am. Then at about 15 months his night times got increasingly eventful until finally he decided to stop sleeping altogether. Every hour he would wake up, screaming and crying, and I would have to stay by his bed to get him to sleep again. I implemented the ‘gradual withdrawal’ method to extricate myself from the room, moving a few inches back from the bed every night for over a month until finally he learnt to go to sleep by himself again.

By this point I was actually turning into a zombie. I love my little boy but I love my sleep too. Other mothers would bemoan how they had been woken up at 6am whilst I sat wishing my child would ever sleep until that time. He dropped his naps quickly too, down to a single nap of an hour or so by the time he was 18 months old, and getting rid of that just before he turned two. I actually wept the day he didn’t sleep at lunchtime. I wasn’t ready for the relentlessness of the day without a break, and thought I’d easily have another half year or so before I had to worry about it. Wrong.

Fortunately the big boy bed arrived without too much of a hitch and he now settles quickly at night so we don’t have endless wars at bedtime like some. I must have done something right for this to happen and I am now officially the world expert on sleeping and sleep methods, so many did I try to crack the code. But we still get regularly woken between 5 and 6am, and most nights he throws in a couple of screeches or wails for good measure, that leave our hearts pounding and break up our much-needed sleep. I think now, that his sleeping isn’t so terrible, but that the residual effect of over two years of sleep deprivation means that anything less than an uninterrupted seven hours leaves me exhausted.

Parents of children who sleep do not understand what it is like, to have one that doesn’t. They suggest all kinds of things – over the past couple of years I have been given so much advice my head could burst. “When he starts solids, he’ll sleep through because he won’t be hungry.” (No, he won’t.) “When he starts school he’ll sleep no problem.” (No, he won’t. He’ll be tired but that’s not the same as sleeping.) “Have you tried black out blinds?” (OF COURSE I’VE TRIED BLACKOUT BLINDS!) “Sometimes children sleep better if they have a nap.” (And sometimes they don’t, they just won’t go to bed on time either because they’ve had too much sleep.) “Maybe you should try putting him to bed later.” (No, thanks, I quite like the two hours I have to myself at night before I collapse in a heap.) The problem with all these suggestions – apart from the obvious fact that they don’t work for me – is that they worked for the child of the person concerned. Hence their child sleeps. So back to my original statement, that parents of children who sleep do not understand what it is like, to have one that doesn’t. They only understand what it is like to have one that didn’t used to, but does now. And that is a different thing altogether.

This post wouldn’t be complete of course, without mention of the Sunclock. The magical piece of gadgetry that parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers swear by. So many people recommended this to me and assured me it was the answer to my prayers, that despite my reservations it would ever work I decided to give it a try last month. I was encouraged by my son’s quick grasping of the concept (stars out = go to sleep, sun = wake up) and was even vaguely hopeful that one day I could enjoy a 7am lie-in on the weekend. Although to be honest I would settle for a regular 6am. But folks, here’s the catch: the Sunclock only works on children that were predisposed to sleep in the first place. Children who rise early to count the stars left on the LED display do not qualify. Children that couldn’t care less if the clock has stars on it or a sun and continue to sing at the top of their voices anyway from the second they wake up, do not qualify. Children who you can hear muttering “It says “five, four, seven ‘A’ ‘M’!” do not qualify. I have been experimenting with said clock for three weeks now, just to give it a chance, and have to tell you for anyone with a child who simply doesn’t want or need to sleep any later in the mornings, it’s a heap of crap.

I live in hope that one day my son will sleep until 7am and beyond. I know that it is only another 10 years or so until this is guaranteed to happen. And from today I will never mention again how sleep deprived we are, to avoid any more well meant but unfortunately useless advice coming my way. My child doesn’t need sleep to sleep past dawn. I do. These are the facts and there is nothing anyone can do to change it. So if you see me with bags under my eyes, instead of trying to solve the impossible problem, do me a favour and recommend a decent concealer.