New book on child nighttime rituals has parents' attention
Every once in a while, a book comes along that strikes a chord -- a book that unites us and makes us feel not so alone.
I've found that book in my latest Kindle download. It's "Go the (Bleep) to Sleep."
The book (in which I substituted "bleep" for the king of all cuss words) started as a Facebook post by Adam Mansbach, a father frustrated by his 3-year-old daughter's reluctance to go to sleep. When he saw the reaction from other sleep-deprived parents, he went with it -- writing an entire book in couplets, like "Goodnight Moon" for grownups.
Here's a sample:
"All the kids from day care are in dreamland. The froggie has made his last leap. H--- no, you can't go to the bathroom. You know where you can go? The 'bleep' to sleep."
The book has parents laughing out loud and clicking "add to cart." It's topped both the Amazon and New York Times best-seller lists since its release two weeks ago. Fox studios just snapped up the film rights, and if that weren't funny enough, the often angry and profane Samuel L. Jackson is reading the audiobook. Mr. Rogers Jackson is not.
Why has it been such a hit? That's simple -- Mansbach is giving a voice to millions of us groggy moms and dads who would never actually utter those words to our children but, at our wits' end, have thought them.
We exist in a secret world. We go about our day like normal, functioning adults.
But what we don't tell you is that we spent last night sleeping on the floor of our daughter's Disney princess bedroom or in our son's Buzz Lightyear bunk bed.
We beat ourselves up for being bad parents. Really, how hard should it be to put a 4-year-old to bed? Come on! I shouldn't be allowed to have these kids if I can't master this.
We get reflective in the dark of their stupid bedroom. Is it so bad to give them a spoonful of cough syrup when they're not coughing?
We question our choices to have children later in life when we try to get up from the floor next to their toddler race car bed only to have them wake up again from the sounds of our knees creaking. We feel guilty that we get so angry. They're so cute in their SpongeBob jammies, but why must they wake us up at 2 a.m. doing that weird whisper/yell in our ears, "MOM!!!!! Can I get into bed with you?" (My rule: Don't ask permission at that point -- just crawl in and don't bug me.) We sometimes don't even remember our sleepy-headed exchanges with the kids. A friend of mine woke up one night to see his daughter hovering over him. "Dad, I can't sleep. Does that ever happen to you?" "Yeah, but I don't go around the house telling people about it." He has no recollection of that perturbed conversation. His wife swears it happened.
We are a secret fraternity of zombie moms and dads who often get booted from our beds in the middle of the night when too many kids invade. It's our own game of musical beds. We don't always wake up in the bed in which we first fell asleep. Sometimes we awaken to find Happy Meal toys stuck to our backs or Hannah Montana Barbies smiling on the pillows beside us.
Yes, "Go the (Bleep) to Sleep" is our book. It belongs to all of us who've ever loved children but cursed the night.
Now we wait for the sequel: "Eat Your (Bleepin') Vegetables."