Most nights my wife gives up and gets me to get our little one to sleep. When I say “gives up” I mean she has been trying for a while to get him to go to sleep and he has really persisted in trying to stay awake.
Truly, we are both thankful that our younger one is a much better sleeper* at this age than his older brother was at the same age. It took well over three years to get the older one to sleep through the night and sleep deprivation was commonplace in our household. He used to be put to bed about 7:30pm but would wake between 10pm and 11pm and I would maybe take a turn at getting him back to sleep if I was still awake and looking at heading to bed myself. He loved to party for an hour or two so it was sometime between midnight and 1am that I would find myself going to sleep.
He would only sleep through for another hour, maybe two, and if we were lucky a third hour might have been possible. So sometime between 2am and 4am he would wake again and the tag team partner of the person who did last shift would enter into the ring to wrestle with this child and his terrible sleeping pattern. We often joked that when my wife and I first met and before she got pregnant we’d wake up between 5:30am and 6:30am and go for a run together. Once this child came along, that was the time that one of us was crawling back into bed to get a couple of hours extra sleep before I had to go to work. Now, our older one is a fantastic sleeper and he goes to bed when we say and sleeps in for a decent night’s sleep pretty much every single day.
The younger one is, for the most part, a great sleeper once you get him to sleep, but that’s his main sleeping issue; he doesn’t want to go to sleep.
And so I present to you some offerings from my fellow Generation X dads and how they get their kids to sleep.
1. Tim Minchin is a British-born Australian comedian, actor, and musician, but us Aussies like to claim him as exclusively our own (even though he spends most of his days in England now). I love his song Lullaby sung to his child that won’t go to sleep.
2. Adam Mansbach is an American author who for many is most famous for writing the “children’s book for adults” called Go the Fuck to Sleep which became a number one best seller in many countries around the world and was famously on YouTube by some celebrities including my favourite version by the Australian actress and former host of the long running children’s show Play School, Noni Hazelhurst. When Noni was on Play School she used to read out children’s books and show the pictures in the books to the camera and she has replicated the way she did that in her version. You can watch her read it here.
3. James Zahn is a work-from-home dad and the creator of The Rock Father™ website amongst his many other talents. A fellow Dad Blogger, I particularly love his website because he reviews the fantastic Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star CDs which turn your favourite rock, metal, alternative, country and pop artist’s music into lullaby version. Of course if you’re a Tool fan like me you’d love to read his review of the album and listen to the lullaby version of Sober that is embedded on this page. I am sure that James has successfully got both his daughters to sleep with the peaceful lullaby versions of such acts as Metallica, Iron Maiden, Guns ‘n Roses, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, and many more. But don’t let me stand in the way of a professional; please visit Music for Kids page on The Rock Father™ for more reviews and links.
4. And sometimes a dad goes a step further and rather than playing a CD to the child, they get out their old guitar and play the baby to sleep. I don’t know who this dad is but I believe that he is from Russia. This video was uploaded in in October 2010 but went viral in July 2012 thanks to heaps of other people and websites uploading it again around that time and promoting how great this dad is. He plays the intro to Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters and that’s all he needs to get the baby to fall asleep “singing along” to his guitar. My favourite comment that someone posted on one of the other Anglicised versions of this upload is this; “Now wake the baby up with Ride The Lightning.”
5. Sometimes during those first three years of our eldest child’s life, and before we bought him a double bed to sleep in (yes, a double bed) there were plenty of times where I would simply lay on the lounge watching television in the wee hours of the morning hoping to get him to sleep. We even bought pay television so we had more than just infomercials to watch. This is a shot that my wife took of us around November 2009 when he had just turned 1 year old. However you need to get kids to sleep, you just have to do it. I’m going to miss these times, but then again, and seeing that I have spent more than a week sleeping in the spare room with our youngest one who has had a cold (*I know I said he’s a better sleeper, but when he’s sick that’s a whole different story), I am looking forward to sleeping with my wife again.