Guest Blog Post by Kay Harrison, a journalist and frazzled mum of one.


Every stage in your child’s development is a time of great pride and joy and unspeakable terror.

They can’t move. They move! They roll. They roll down the stairs.

They go on to solids. What if they choke? Why won’t they eat? I’ve spent two hours making that. EAT IT.

He’s crawling. He’s walking. Ahhh! Where is he?

She said Ma-Ma! She said s***. She said the man in front of you had a fat head.

The worst stage for me was the cot-to-bed one.

My child has never been one for sleep. Despite the blissful bedtime routine and giving everything in every book a try, he’d spring to life every three hours.

He didn’t sleep through until he was 11 months old – and that was just a one-off. A bit like when his dad put a wash on. So the cot-to-bed transition was always going to be fun.

We released him from bars when he was two. He moved to the best-looking room in the house, despite its conflicting themes of jungle AND space. Shame he had no interest in being there.

Come bedtime, every few hours I would jolt awake to the sound of his size 7Gs hitting the floor. Then the pitter patter on the landing, where I’d meet him and escort him back. And be forced to sit with him or curl up at his feet, like a loyal dog. (Falling out of bed was never an issue. The two times he did, he carried on sleeping.)

So we attached the stair gate to his door frame. But he’d rattle it like a crazed chimp or kick it off like a mini ninja.

We tried different duvets, PJs, lights on, lights off, lullabies. Epic walks and a sugar ban. Naps, no naps. Later nights, earlier nights.

I took comfort in other shattered parents’ horror stories and avoided mothers without bags under their eyes.

We tried a Gro-Clock. We tried the sleep clinic (who gave good advice about having only one bedtime story, which helped him drift off but didn’t stop him getting up. A month’s worth of sleep diaries later… their verdict: “He just isn’t a good sleeper.” )

We tried the stick approach and took toys to the charity shop.

We tried the carrot, with sticker charts and gushing praise.

So then we went for the ultimate carrot… the most powerful weapon in our armoury. What no child can resist.

Coco Pops.

And it worked.

The promise of a bowl for breakfast has kept him in bed until 6.30am.

And though it may not be the healthiest start to the day, anything that allows me to form complete sentences and go easy on the Touche Eclat is fine by me.

Written by:

Kay Harrison (Journalist and frazzled mum of one)