How to ‘make’ your kid go to bed at the generally socially acceptable hour.

…in a few easy steps.

1. Travel to an exciting city, not arriving until after nightfall. Be wowed by the bright lights and busy streets, before arriving at a relative’s house and running around for hours with her dog. The grown ups all lay limply on the couch while Pokemon plays on the tv. Don’t go to sleep till at least ten pm.

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2. Wake up at what feels like an insanely early hour. Travel across London, following along on the Tube map your parents only had the foresight to grab one of…leading to some pretty intense feelings about who, exactly, is allowed to use the map.

3. Systematically tear apart the soft play in the American Embassy. Stay there for a couple of hours – long enough to run yourself ragged, eat a weird picnic brunch, and be asked, ‘Is this your mom?’ by an official looking man. Then ask the people at security on the way out if you can see how the x ray machine works, prompting a good few minutes watching them scan bags.

4. Go to the Natural History museum. Spend a long time outside in line, and then make the mistake of going straight to the dinosaurs. Endure the crush of people, love the dinosaur skeletons and models, and then go hang out in human biology. Behold! A giant picture of a sperm and egg, very hot topics in our house, along with a video of the development of a baby from a few seconds old to full term. Sit silently, eyes wide, in total awe. Walk around the corner and show interest in the creepy ten foot high foetus, even though all the adults are laughing and taking pictures from odd angles. Look around some more, eat some ice cream.

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5. Take another ride on the Tube, being sure to sit on the platform for ages before the right train comes. Complete your journey by riding on the top deck, front seat, of the bus. Once back at your relative’s house, run around/play video games/look at books/run around more/watch a show. Go to the private, ritzy titzy gardens across the street and play tag for an hour.

6. Back inside, have dinner. One of your parents goes out to meet old colleagues, so the remaining parent and her sibling migrate out to the garden. Join them. Bounce on the hammock, squeeze everyone on it for storytelling, perform in several ‘shows,’ do quite a lot of singing, dancing, and laughing. Watch the sun set. Possibly while either half naked or in pyjamas.

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7. Watch one episode of Swashbucklers in bed – the giant mattress turned sideways so you both fit with ease. Then your parent climbs in the middle, tells a story, rubs your back, cuddles.

IF YOU DO ALL THESE THINGS, YOUR KIDS MAY FALL ASLEEP AT 7:29 AND 7:36. Results not guaranteed.

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