Don’t get me wrong I love Emma. I love Emma more than the sky is blue and the sun is round. I love her more than the twigs used to build a bird’s nest or the snow used for an igloo. I love Emma more than Joan Rivers has had plastic surgery or Jo Brand’s been called a lesbian. I love Emma with every bit of cellulite on my thighs. My love for Emma runs deeper than my stretch marks and more than my bum sags. But bed-times at the Connor house are enough to push Mary Poppins over the edge.
Night times are rarely painless. Occasionally Emma is put in her bed and she falls asleep. Bed times are a nightmare and more often than not it takes up to forty minutes to get Emma off to la-la land…and for me to reach cloud-cuckoo-land.
We watch Uki, Charlie and Lola and for some reason Tommy Zoom. Then it’s time to say good-night. Emma gives dad a love and tells him she loves him. She then tells him to sleep tight and not the let the bed bugs bite. She also tells him to send love to the angels. Almost ready for bed. Dummy – check. Milk – check. There are approximately twelve stairs leading up to her bedroom. Twelve long and exhausting steps. As she climbs each stair, she says goodnight to something that catches her eye. So the farewells to the things and objects change, but that’s about it:
Stair one – goodnight Bassie (the dog)
Stair two – goodnight Jiggy Biggs (another dog)
Stair three – goodnight Binah (yet another dog)
Stair four – goodnight Chloe (thankfully the last dog)
Stair five. goodnight books
Stair six – goodnight dora (the doll)
Stair seven – goodnight boots (the monkey)
Stair eight – goodnight TV
Stair nine – goodnight books
Stair ten – goodnight kitty (hello kitty)
Stair eleven – goodnight daddy (again)
Stair twelve – goodnight everyone
Then into bed we go. And it gets worse.Reading for Emma is, well, not easy. She’s a back-seat reader. She tells you how to hold the book. when to turn the pages, how to turn the pages. She speeds ahead and then stops. Then she reverses and goes right back to the beginning. Then you have to read it in different voices and if you use the wrong voice in the wrong place you have to start again…
Then it’s bed time. And this is where things go from wrong to very wrong.
Me: Goodnight Emma, sleep tight
Emma: Goodnight mamma, love you
Me: Love you too
Me: kiss kiss kiss. Sleep tight
Emma: Put my blankie on my head
Me: Okay. There you go. Now good night
(Me, exit down stairs. Sit)
Emma: Mamma, I’ve finished milk
Me: Okay put your bottle next to you
Emma: I’ve messed
Me: Put your bottle down and sleep Emma
Emma: Mamma I need a new nappy
Me: No you don’t. That’s a new one
Emma: No! It’s stinky
Me: Emma. Sleep
Emma: Mamma. More milk
Me: (up the stairs with more milk)
Emma: Hello mommy!
Me: Goodnight Emma!
(Me back down the stairs)
Emma: Mamma where’s my dummy?
Me – silence
Emma: Mamma where’s manster (talking hamster toy)
Me – silence
Emma: Mamma. Mamma. Mamma. Mamma. Mamma. Mamma
(Me back up the stairs)
Me: Emma please sleep
Emma: Kisses mamma. Hugs please
Me: Okay. Now goodnight
Now I know some of you are saying I should use the tough-love-ignore-them method but I can’t. As a mom to an adopted little girl I am governed by guilt, a guilt as bad as, if not worse, than a Jewish mom. I am so nervous that anything I do or don’t do will result in a delinquent teen that hates her parents for everything (almost like me) and so I give in. I climb those twelve stairs at least ten times before Emma is asleep. By the time she’s sleeping I am ready to pass out. Of course the other solution is to move her bed downstairs. And pray that I’m not alone in this xxx