Terrance Heath

Go the F**k to Sleep!

Filed By Terrance Heath | June 20, 2011 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: children's literature, raising kids

I know by now it's been by everybody and his brother, but I'm posting it here for all the parents in the world who have ever thought what the title of this book says.

Go ahead, play it again. You know you were laughing too hard to hear the whole thing.

Bedtime used to be easier than it currently is in our house. Once, before Dylan was born or maybe when he was still an infant, the hubby's brother came to town for a conference and we had him over to dinner. Afterward, Parker went to bed. His uncle turned to me and asked "What was that? You call that bedtime? Where's the screaming? Where's the tears? Where's the throwing of toys?"

At the time, I thought maybe it was the consistency of bedtime. No matter where we are, or what we're doing, we stick to the same bedtime routine. I think we read somewhere that it would help. And maybe for a while it did.

That was, I guess, when we only had Parker and he was a lot younger. Now, bedtime meets with some occasional resistance. Mind you, there's different levels of resistance -- from 1960s style "passive resistance" to insurgency.

With both kids I think it's a bit of the same thing: They realize it that things go on while they're asleep.

Toddlers are busy learning about their bodies: how they work, what they can do and whether or not they really need to sleep. They may also be starting to realize that things go on while they are asleep. When they were younger, they didn't have any concept that the world continued on while they were asleep, but now they wonder if they are missing out on interesting activities. Three year olds may also be experiencing feelings of separation anxiety around bedtime since they are just figuring out that when they are asleep, they are not "with you."

I guess for Parker, he realized that the world didn't poof out of existence when he went to be and pop back into being when he woke up when he realized that we went to bed much later than he did. We've always taken turns with bedtime, so back then one of us would take Parker to bed and the other would say goodnight downstairs. Upstairs, the ritual is the same no matter who's turn it is.

  1. Brush teeth.
  2. Read story/stories.
  3. If it's Daddy's turn, there's a song.
  4. Hug good-night.
  5. Lights out.

Parker's resistance was mild when he was Dylan's age, probably because he was an only child. Now, it comes in the form of either lobbying for a later bedtime or slow-poking and dragging out the routine for as long as he can.

Dylan is something of a different story. Who knew that getting a three-year-old into his pajamas could be a two-man job? Sometimes it's passive resistance, in the form of what I call "just-one-more-thing-itis." It can stake the shape his "needing" something or "needing" to do something before he can go to sleep. It's easy to see through. For example, one night Dylan wanted anti-itch cream for a mosquito bite. I went downstairs to get it.

The next night, I got wise and slipped the cream into my pocket before I took him upstairs. Again he had the itch. I whipped the cream out of my pocket. Then ensued a loud protest. "I want the other cream! I want the cream downstairs."

Whatever kid. This is the cream from downstairs. I put it on him and went back downstairs.

And as I did, I'm sure I muttered, "Go the fuck to sleep."

(Crossposted at Republic of T)


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There is so much WIN in this audio book. If your a parent, everything that is in this book you have said, if not aloud, then to yourself. It is so true!

Of course, this narrator doesn't do it justice. The Samuel Jackson version is the one you need to be listening to.

That's exactly the comment I was going to leave! SLJ's version is the best one yet.

I need to buy this book -- and give it to my 90-year-old mother, who gets up and checks that the doors are locked five times every night because she can't remember she already checked them three minutes ago.

Not her fault -- the arteries in her brain are failing, we are told.

I'm a terrible son, aren't I?