Monday 4 March 2013

Conquer and Divide

My River Boys
I always thought conquer and divide was just a clever marketing ploy, or at best a PR expression.

But it’s much better than that.  It is worth its weight in gold.

In the run up to Christmas we finally moved to the upstairs quarters in our house.  Smallest Boy was 20 months old and never knew anything other than sleeping in his parent’s room.

Three bedrooms upstairs and for some reason, they were all put in together. 

Four young lads in the one bedroom. Wrong on so many levels.  But mainly the messing that was absolutely going to take place was the biggest problem.

The other bedroom down the hallway was full of beds and other miscellaneous items of furniture and was not ready for consumption.

So it came to pass that for two weeks the older three thundered like a small herd of elephants up the stairs when it was time for bed, and into their new bedroom.  Complete with one of those triple bunk beds where two small persons can sleep on the bottom half. 

Another problem waiting to happen right there as they had all “agreed” to take turns with the top bunk.

Bunking in Together

But first problem first.  They woke Smallest Boy.  Every night without fail. 

To give him his due, Smallest Boy would lie there sucking his thumb minding his own business.  But he was awake.  Roused from his lovely slumber and he would stay awake until the others calmed down enough to let him return there.

So for the two weeks before Christmas poor Smallest Boy didn’t know his nights from his day times and I issued an ultimatum:  either the other bedroom is sorted out or the cot is coming back into our room.

Conquer and divide.  The only way to go.

It’s still messy.  But it’s a much shorter messy. 

Oldest and Smallest Boys now share a room and the middle two fight over the bunk beds on a nightly basis.  

Decals from Penneys

We also have one not so careful owner of a banjaxed Circadian rhythm.  If anyone is going to wake up during the night for a wee, a drink or just to shout and roar, it will be the three and a half year old.

I have tried to figure out what triggers his infrequent night horrors.  Alas, to no avail.

But I have discovered the key to a lie on in the morning is not to keep them up late the night before.  That’s throwing the child out with the bath water.

Remember this.  Put it on your fridge if you need to. The child that wakes early, or does not sleep during the day and goes to bed late at night, still wakes up early.  You are at nothing keeping them up a little later in the hope that they will stay in the scratcher the next morning.

All you’ve done there is surrendered a precious child free hour that evening and they will be like divil's the next day. 

What you need to do is, keep them up late 48 hours in advance.  For example, if you want a Sunday morning lie in, let them stay up Friday night.  It also helps if you run/swim the collective arses off them on Saturday.  Put them to bed as usual on Saturday night and you just might, if you are very lucky, find that two out of four will sleep on for an hour.

Hey, in our house, two out of four are pretty good odds.  Also I never mentioned miracles. 

Just be warned what will happen, and this one is guaranteed, is that the school goer will have to be dragged from his nest on Monday morning.

Have a good week.  As you were.


  1. It was a lightbulb moment in our house when we finally realised that the later the toddler went to bed, the earlier he woke. Another joke at our expense from the mighty parenting gods! :)

    1. A well rested child will sleep better at night! Whereas a parent will sleep anywhere :)