The Bedtime Battle

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I’m a bit broken this week. Lack of sleep (I thought we were past those days) and tediously long bedtime sequences have stretched me to the end of my tether. Or stretched my tether? What even is a tether? Whatever (tether), I honestly think that on a bad night our familial “bedtime routine” would be enough to make the toughest person on earth break down and cry. I don’t know who the toughest person on earth is – I like to think it’s maybe Bane from Batman, only because Tom Hardy is inside him (cue innuendo onslaught) – but whoever it is, they would not cope with a particularly testing evening of kid-settling chez moi.

There’s something rather soul-destoying about thinking you’re going to have a small slice of the evening all to yourself and then having it repeatedly ripped from your grasp. When you’re knackered after a full-on day of toddler-chasing, debris-clearing, dribble-wiping activity and you just want ten minutes to sit down on your own before it’s time for bed yourself, doing multiple trips up the stairs to quiet one screaming toddler and then a whole other set of journeys to make sure that the older one isn’t climbing the stuffed giraffe again sends you to the absolute limits of sanity.

And I’m not moaning: just telling it how it is. It seems to be like this for most people, so I feel I can give you an honest portrayal. Those adverts where it’s all calm and peaceful, and there’s a curly-haired little girl lying in bed listening to a story, her eyes slowly closing, the parent gently pulling the duvet around the child as she falls asleep and then kissing her on the forehead and tiptoeing to the bedroom door: it’s bollocks. At least it is in my house. And in the houses of virtually everyone I know.

angelica and ted

Bedtime is a sort of battle. If you win it and they are in bed on time (ha!) and nobody (adult) has cried and nobody else (child) has walked into a door-frame/bedpost/wardrobe/wall or made you feel guilty for “being cross” then you feel absolutely on top of the world. If you lose the battle, you will eat cereal for dinner, hunched over the table at 9.57pm, eyes half closed, scrolling through Instagram and snarling at people’s holiday snaps.

And then there’s the middle ground, which is what happens most nights, when there’s been a truce between warring armies – or, more accurately, everyone is so knackered that they’ve eventually just gone back to their own camps. The camp of Slumber (them) and the camp of Kitchen (you). You will have already spent an hour or so in the kitchen, by this point, trying to cook a meal at the same time as watching two different baby monitors, like some crazed gameshow contestant.

You will have ascended and descended the staircase approximately twelve times, carrying various bits of cargo such as the water bottle, the baby wipes, the 1 tog baby sleeping bag, the 2.5 tog baby sleeping bag, the remote control for the Dyson fan, the remote control for the Velux blind, the blanket with the maps printed on it, the blanket with Transylvania 3 characters printed on it, the pillow case for the doll’s pillow, the doll, the dolly’s pram, the book about the postman.

This is all before you’ve eaten your dinner and begun your own bedtime routine, which – if it’s anything like mine – involves forgetting where things are over and over again, trying to find them and getting increasingly stressed out about how late it’s getting.

10pm: start preparing for bed. 10.03pm: attempt to locate iPhone charger. 10.08pm: locate iPhone charger, plug iPhone in to charge in kitchen. 10.10pm: start to run bath, go to sit on toilet, realise you can’t find iPhone. 10.24pm: silently scream because you still can’t find your iPhone. 10.28pm: mop up water that’s overflowed from the bath where you left the taps running. 10.32pm: return mop to utility, passing by your iPhone that is charging in the kitchen. 10.32pm-11.36pm: repeat lost-and-found routine for items such as hairbrush, laptop, car keys, house keys, alarm fob, purse, knickers. 11.37pm: locate laptop, randomly decide to log onto Tesco Clubcard site to see how many points you have. 1.45am: finish looking at reviews of local safari park, including Bill from Teeside’s offering, in which you learn that the “muffins in the breakfast place are underwhelming”, decide that you will cash in your points another day.

And Ted has decided to throw another element of chaos into the bedtime mix: an 18 months “sleep regression”. He wakes up at random times, usually when your eyes are just getting heavy and you’re doing that delicious slide into unconsciousness, and he SCREAMS. Like something from a horror movie. Last night was a climax of misery when I was on my own and he cried for three hours – midnight until 3am – and would not be comforted by anything. Not even getting into bed with me, which I never allow as an absolute rule (can’t sleep with small people, I’m paranoid about rolling on them) and not even being fed an Ella’s Kitchen yoghurt pouch, which is like the gold standard of nighttime emergency measures. There was no temperature, no sign of illness – he actually laughed each time I went in to comfort him – and he was well fed and watered.

Today I feel as though I have a medium-strength hangover. My head hurts, I feel vaguely sick and I have that awful day-after guilt – what happened last night? What did I say? Why can’t I just be nice? Am I just a shitty person? Because it’s hard to retain a soothing, loving voice when it’s the middle of the night and you can barely see for tiredness and the racking cries are echoing through the house like they’re on a loudspeaker. It feels like you’re being tortured!

baby products sleep time

Well. This was supposed to be a cute little post about bedtime routines and gorgeous sleepy bath and body products. But if I told you that I spritzed Ted’s cot with a special pillow spray and it made him sleep I’d be deceiving you. If I said that I sprayed Angelica’s pillow and she immediately drifted off I’d be an absolute liar. In reality, I spritz her pillow and then she (variously, depending on what day it is) demands I sing Little Miss Muffet, asks me to tell her a “story from my head”, declares that she needs another wee-wee or a fresh piece of tissue “for her eyes” (she likes to dab at them in a worryingly dramatic way, I’m sure she’s going to be an actress) or requests a sip of water from her beaker.

bloom blossom BFG

Regardless, it has become a habit to spray Angelica’s pillow with the Dream Catcher’s Spray from the wonderful brand Bloom & Blossom and I think that the association between sleep and the soothing smell has to be a useful one. It’s the very last thing I do before kissing her goodnight and leaving the room – three spritzes onto the pillow, Angelica kneeling away with her hands covering her face in case the “spray gets her eyes” (told you, drama school!) and then head onto pillow, a little exchange about how lovely the spray smells and it’s bonne nuitI love you, don’t go running about upstairs tonight or there’s no zoo tomorrow! 

I don’t know what I love more about this sleep spray; the smell – which is less lavendery than the rest of the offerings on the market, more complex and deep – or the name. Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray. It’s part of a range that’s a collaboration between Bloom & Blossom (maker of amazing body products) and the Roald Dahl Story Company and I have to say that it makes a blessed change from all of the bloody Peppa Pig and PJ Masks licensing deals that have taken over the world.

And the idea behind Bloom & Blossom‘s collaboration is just utterly lovely too; Bath, Book & Bedtime promotes a positive night routine, with the emphasis on reading and having a daily storytime. The products in this particular range (pillow spray, body wash, conditioner and so on) are all inspired by The BFG and the packaging carries the Quentin Blake illustrations from the original book.

bloom blossom BFG

I suppose I’m a bit won over by this BFG connection; it was one of my favourite books when I was growing up, along with Stig of the Dumpand The Indian in the Cupboard*. But mostly, I just like the magical spin that it puts on the bedtime routine – it makes me feel more relaxed about proceedings even though I know they’re not likely to be straightforward.

You can now find the lovely Bath, Book & Bedtime range at Waitrose here* – it’s £9.99 for the sleep spray and £4.99 for the tubes of body unguents. The bath products (shampoo, body wash, conditioner and so on) are very gentle and have a subtle scent and – importantly – don’t set off Angelica’s eczema, so they’re safe for pretty much anyone, I’d like to think.

Right, off for a nap – I can’t function on four hours’ sleep! Has anyone else experienced the so-called “18 month sleep regression”? Any tips?

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.

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44 Comments

  1. Jennie
    August 15, 2018 / 10:44 pm

    Ruth – when my little Darling was three/four years old, he was pulling the “one more story, one more drink, I want to go to the potty, etc…” I tried the chart/stars/rewards trick.

    I found a kid sized calendar, bought stickers of stars, dinosaurs, Star Wars characters, etc., and we created a Master Jedi list of all the tasks that needed to be completed before night-night time.

    * Bath
    * Jammies
    * Teeth – then Potty
    * Pick out one story – a long book would be read over a series of nights.
    * Prayers and Gratitude
    * Tuck Mikey in bed (white fringed blanket that was My Blankie – then renamed Mikey)
    * Kiss Mom and Dad – then lights out!
    * Stay in his own bed (all night)

    For each successfully completed step in the process he collected a Dino Sticker
    At the weekend we all sat down and counted up the stickers – He only received a Star if all the steps were completed without whining, crying, screaming, etc.

    A Star was worth a special treat – ice cream, trip to the Children’s Museum, extra playtime with a friend!
    Within two weeks everything changed – and we kept this process going until he left for University! Obviously we upped the tasks and the rewards – but we still kept the Dino Stickers and Stars!

    Hang in there!

    • August 16, 2018 / 5:47 am

      Thanks Jennie. I might start the sticker thing with Angelica, she LOVES stickers. x

      • Amy
        August 16, 2018 / 8:39 am

        Jumping in here to recommend the sticker factory website. I’m a teacher and I use them all the time. You can personalise them and some of them are sparkly and some of them scented!

      • Jennie
        September 2, 2018 / 6:04 pm

        Ruth – how is the bedtime going??? Any progress?

    • Rach A
      August 18, 2018 / 7:12 am

      lets hope he finds a university lecturer and/ or employer with some stickers!!

      We did use a reward chart once or twice with toddlers to good effect. As with most things ‘this too will pass’ is my parenting mantra. IThe fact he was laughing when you went to him suggests to me that Ted has found a clever way of getting mummy’s attention rather than genuine night terrors, but boy is it hard when you are on your own with them.

  2. Georgie
    August 15, 2018 / 10:52 pm

    My 3 year old has just started being a bleeding nightmare going to bed. She used to sleep as soon as her head got the pillow but now she won’t let me leave the room while she gives me a list of all her ‘friends’ (every little person she knows) she used to be fast asleep at 7:10 but how we are sometimes stretching to 9:30!!!!
    There are many factors I could blame:
    New baby sister
    No more dum dum
    Relaxed routine because summer holidays
    Big brother encouraging behaviour

    But I just wish I could get my brilliant little sleeper back

    • August 16, 2018 / 5:47 am

      Argh, three you think you’re out of the woods!

  3. Annie
    August 15, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    We definitely struggle at bedtime. For the past two months my almost three year old was coming out of her room multiple times for roughly an hour, regardless of what time we put her down and how tired she was. We’ve started a new program where if she stays in her bed all night (exceptions for actually needing to potty) then she gets a treat as soon as she wakes up (a gummy vitamin). There has been some progress but I still want to tear my hair out most nights. Good luck!

    • August 16, 2018 / 5:46 am

      Oh, the gummy vitamin treat!! : )

  4. Jenny
    August 16, 2018 / 4:46 am

    Oh maybe THAT is what’s going on with my little maniac. She’s a Feb 4th baby and is suddenly a complete lunatic overnight. She’s been waking up a few times a night since she was 6 months (was a perfect sleeping angel before that, the trickster), but lately she’s been other level about it. No advice other than don’t they always say “only way out is through”? Solidarity!

  5. Sari
    August 16, 2018 / 7:45 am

    I’ve given up on having nights to myself. It’s too exhausting to try and keep them in their own beds. Kids are 5 and 2! We have dinner together, and while the kids are in the tub I do my cleansing routine and change into my pyjamas too. We have a double bed in the kids room so we lie down, read books and cuddle. Kids tend to fall asleep around 8pm, sometimes I sleep too. Sometimes (rarely though) I manage to keep my eyes open so I sneak back downstairs for a bit of GOT. Not very exciting life after dark, unfortunately

    • Natasha
      August 16, 2018 / 4:26 pm

      This is exactly what our nights are like! Eat an early dinner (usually 5:30 or 6:00) as a family, have some playtime, then bathtime while I do my face cleansing routine, then book and bedtime. Sometimes I’ll fall asleep with them and wake up with enough time to do a little something before returning to bed, sometimes I’ll fall asleep and at some point in the night get myself back to my own bed, and sometimes I can stay awake and have some alone or couple time. It works for now, and I’ve accepted it’s the season we’re in!

      • Sari
        August 17, 2018 / 8:35 am

        Glad to hear I’m not alone! My youngest one was a terrible sleeper. He started sleeping through the night around his second birthday. I was so sleep deprived for two years, sometimes I cried when he got up at 6am because I knew it’s going to be another 12 hours of craziness ahead with few broken hours of sleep. At least now, even though I don’t have the evenings, I get some sleep!
        So Ruth, I can’t offer you advice but try to remember that it will get better! There will be a night somewhere in the horizon when you can sleep and wake up remotely rested.

  6. August 16, 2018 / 9:45 am

    I have experienced so many sleep regression things that I can´t tell you which month they belonged too, and am not sure if we are past them already (my kids are 4.5 and 2.5). They are so trying, as they seem to come out of the blue and take away that little time you have to look after yourself.
    The only thing keeping me alive through them is the knowledge that they will, one day, stop as quickly as they started.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  7. Amy
    August 16, 2018 / 9:56 am

    I could have wrote your post Ruth! This is happening daily for us, and at nap times, as well as night time. It’s exhausting. My 14 month old often likes to party between 12-3am! For the full 3 hours. Thank you for writing this, it does help to know there are others in the same boat. :) I hope it improves for you quickly!

  8. Ciara
    August 16, 2018 / 10:18 am

    Sorry to hear Ruth, it’s really so frustrating to have that snippet of free time you’ve been longing for all day cruelly snatched by the
    childerbeasts. Might Ted have wind? I know any time my 21 month old boy stirs or cries in the night it’s virtually always because he’s struggling to pass wind (TMI,sorry) and rubbing his tummy in circular motions for a minute seems to work. Separation anxiety usually peaks about this age too so little ones can be demanding for extra comfort. If he’s locked in a crying cycle, he could be still half asleep and/or dreaming? In which case I just keep the lights dim, hold my little boy close and whisper “Mummy’s here” repeatedly in his ear, it’s like a “safe word” we have when any other communication is too overwhelming (tantrums, middle of the night, ill, fallen over) I think not bombarding them with too much light/noise/any form of stimulus when they’re half asleep is usually good for returning to sleep (and your glass of vino) ASAP! Hang in there Ruth, it’s hard but it always passes x

  9. Helen
    August 16, 2018 / 10:26 am

    Ahh Ruth, sounds tough. If my 20 month old has one of his rare middle of the night screaming sessions where he won’t be comforted, we take him out of his room, and either in the lounge or our room snuggle and watch Hey Duggee or PP, it ALWAYS does the trick. I might add we are not willy nilly with screen time and he only watches cbeebies at dinner time/ bed time, but you’ll pretty much do anything in the wee small hours won’t you! Hope you get more sleep tonight xx

    • Karen
      August 17, 2018 / 3:40 pm

      I do that too. It’s like the distraction gets them out of the crying/hysterical cycle.

  10. Marta
    August 16, 2018 / 10:30 am

    Love it, so real.

    And to be honest, I often say that, my children are good sleepers…. until they are not. They are 5 and 3.5, and some days I wonder if my neighbors will call police on me because my child is screaming and yelling so much (any reason is good, like I read a story, but they want another one)

    I must say, my husband travels a lot, so I have given up putting them to bed in separate bedrooms. It was unattainable for me. Yes, two children in one bedroom does have it’s down sides, but to me it, at least, mean I can answer all the questions/requests/ (fill in the blank) etc easier. Of course there were teething problems (meaning adjusted period in this case ) but until they are big enough to stay in bed when I ask them, it stays that way. I do hope it will get better soon…thankfully I like my coffee (or five)

    • August 16, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      Yeah, doing two rooms (actually they are on different floors!) is almost impossible on my own! It takes HOURS to get them both settled! x

  11. August 16, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    In it, living it, laughed at the snarling at holiday photos bit.

  12. Jo.C.
    August 16, 2018 / 1:14 pm

    Oh god, how I feel your pain! My two didn’t have the 18mth sleep regression, they just didn’t sleep through the night until both reached 6 years old. I’ve had the equivalent of SAS sleep deprivation torture techniques for 6 years LOL. Both girls sleep through now, except when ill, and now that they both sleep I’ve developed insomia and sleep 3/4 hrs a night. Bloody typical!

  13. August 16, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    Try the Bedtime CD’s from Relaxkids!

  14. Isolde
    August 16, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    I feel your pain, I didn’t sleep for 3 years after my son was born and I only had one. I was a single mum for part of that time which was and is tough. It does get better, he’s 10 now and fairly easy to get to bed. Now I can rely on my time in the evening x

    • August 16, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      I think that’s the perfect phrase – “rely on my time”. That’s what you miss when they are tiny, KNOWING that you’ll have a few hours to yourself!
      : )
      x

  15. Natasha
    August 16, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    I can confirm that you are 100% normal! My youngest (of 2) used to scream for an hour in the middle of the night (half asleep, but histerical) After a particularly bad night, I took him to the doctor. I think he saw that I was going to leave my almost 2y old with him…. He really listened and said he had night terrors. Due to a lack of melatonin. It helped a lot. Just in time I’d say. I was almost completely of my rocker by then.

    My sister gave me the book: Go the f….k to sleep by Adam Mansbach. Its hilarious am totally relatable. Good luck! Ours are 9 and 6, so we are past the worst. With a little break before the teenage years

  16. Jules
    August 16, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Thank you for writing this! Horrible for you but soooo good to know that everyone’s in the same boat. I’m doing the two year sleep regression / night terrors right now, and she’s ended up in my bed 10 nights in a row…. praying she just gets over it! Right?! Anyway you’re so right about curly haired babe drifts off to sleep peacefully with goodnight kiss – weirdly I still think that’s true / normal but I think you’ve just convinced me it’s total crap, so yay, thank you!!!! Good luck hope the star chats etc work, I’m so going to try that when she’s a tiny bit older and more bribable… xxx

  17. Sam
    August 16, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    Well my advice would be vodka :)

  18. Anne
    August 16, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    So many things I love about this Ruth- Dahl, pillow spray, bedtime / sleep routine (or difficulties therewith) and, what is it about having two kids, I can never locate my bloody phone these days either!! (And we live in a flat. There’s literally nowhere it can go) I ALWAYS find myself checking out safari park reviews, or something equally necessary, at some god awful hour when all I did was open Facebook/instagram/…for a quick look before sleep. Wish I could help with the sleep regression. We’ve been lucky to escape that one (unless it just hasn’t hit yet. Yikes there’s a thought) although we did have a 3yo night wanderer last night that reminded why we never got into cosleeping. I think the only thing that’s ever helped us regarding sleep is remembering that this too shall pass (after freaking out for a few days that all is lost) meanwhile trying to deviate as little from the plan (by which I mean rough routine and lights out time, give or take 45mins and aiming to have kids settle to sleep without us in the room) as possible while we wait for it to pass. Easier said than done. Keep going!

  19. Claire N
    August 17, 2018 / 6:58 am

    I’m sure you know this lol but a tether is a long rope tied to something to keep an animal within a certain space. You’ve seen the pictures of a dog or a goat tied to a tree, or a stake in the ground, etc etc.

    Anyway, yes, 18 month regression! What i remember from my 4.5 yo daughter’s sleep regression is a lot of sitting in the dark (me) until she settled down to sleep, it could take an hour and a half to 2 hours. Then when the regression passed I did the ‘gradual retreat’ technique where each night I would sit a little further from the cot each night until she fell asleep, ending up out the door and popping in every 5 mins so she knew I was still there and then extending the time between pop-ins by 5 mins each night until she fell sleep on her own within 20 mins. Lots of patience needed! Oh and don’t forget around this age the molars start to come through. Lots of pain at night, sometimes the pain was so bad I had to alternate Calpol with baby Nurofen to keep the pain under control. My daughter would sometimes have lots of pain for days before any visible signs.

  20. Angela Curran
    August 17, 2018 / 7:10 am

    The struggle is real! I feel your pain, Ruth. I spent so many nights going back and forward, up and down….before resorting to a sleeping bag beside my son’s cot holding his hand. Eventually I caved and took him into our bed. He’s 5 now and still loves to sneak in for an early morning cuddle!

  21. Ayla
    August 18, 2018 / 10:01 pm

    ״I feel vaguely sick and I have that awful day-after guilt – what happened last night? What did I say? Why can’t I just be nice? Am I just a shitty person?”…

    So true.

    I love your writing, your honesty.

  22. Cathy Brodie
    August 19, 2018 / 9:21 am

    When my girls were little (they’re about the same age difference as your two) and we still had the luxury of daytime naps, the younger one would inevitably wake and start to cry just as I was slipping into a nap myself. It happened too many times for it to be a coincidence so I say with certainty: they can definitely sense when your attention has drifted away from them and into your longed-for sleep state! With mine, it was always the younger one as she’s the needier of the two (still is, at 21!). I know this brings you no consolation, but maybe it helps to know it’s a real thing.

  23. Jenni Retourne
    August 20, 2018 / 2:54 pm

    Ruth, this had me roaring from beginning to end! If nothing else can be taken from these night-time shenanigans, at least it makes a darned good story!

  24. angie pannkuk
    August 22, 2018 / 3:51 am

    Hi Ruth:

    I sleep train kids for a living. It breaks my heart to hear stories when kids aren’t sleeping through the night. It means they’ve developed bad habits. When Ted, your little one, wakes up crying in the middle of the night, let him cry himself back to sleep. If you always keep rescuing him, he’s never gonna learn how to self soothe. Babies can be sleeping through the night (11 hours) by 3 months. Unless your child is in pain or is sick, there is never a need to go back into the room after putting them down for the night. He’s not crying because he wants you…he woke up in between a sleep cycle and now he doesnt know how to put himself back to sleep. He will learn rather quickly if u let him do it all by himself. I suggest you look up “sleep trainers” in your area. There are people who specifically trained to get kids sleeping thru the night rather quickly. It usually only takes 4 nights (even with the toughest cases). Why be sleep deprived when u dont have to??

    • August 22, 2018 / 8:45 am

      Yep, we did this when he was a year. And he slept through for the last six months. So I know how to do it, but I think it’s easier to tell someone about it when they are detached from the situation! : )

      • Sari
        September 7, 2018 / 3:04 pm

        Very diplomatic reply, Ruth, I personally get the chills from Angies comment. Sleeptraining 3 month olds…she can’t be serious. “Unless they are in pain”, yes but how to tell when a baby is 3 bloody months old and not near any form of communicating other than crying? Why would they need to learn to self soothe, what are their parents for? Ffs. All you’re teaching them at that age is not to self soothe, but that you won’t come when they’re distressed. Really super for their cortisol levels, that is.

        Going by these comments and my own experiences, this behavior is not particularly welcome, but super normal. Meaning we all did it as well, and most of us sleep just fine now. It’s brutal, but the days will be upon us soon enough that they’re teens and can’t be beaten out of their beds with a stick.

  25. monika satyawali
    August 23, 2018 / 11:33 am

    I like this post !!! I must say you have tremendous and very attractive writing skills .
    Your post is really nice and well written . I am surely gonna share it on my social media platform so that my friends and follower
    can also read it . Keep up the good work .
    ONLINE BEAUTY SHOP

  26. Kate Spanier
    August 23, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    It really isn’t funny but you make it sound hilarious.
    Last night my gorgeous urchin refused to sleep in his bed, this triggered 90 minutes of him screaming and banging on his bedroom door. Daddy decided to swoop in at the 92nd minute, give him a cuddle, read him a chapter of the Paw Patrol book and bingo! Little darling was asleep and I was broken.
    Just wait until he brings home the first serious girlfriend/boyfriend. I am so saving all these stories up! Off to buy the pillow spray for myself frankly. Kx

  27. August 26, 2018 / 11:38 pm

    Love everything about this post! I’m off to buy this spray as soon as humanly possible!

    Currently living the bedtime nightmare with my almost 8-month-old and the thought of our current ‘bedtime routine’ if you can even call it a routine when I go back to work in a month is a terrifying thought. I had hoped that the nightmare might be over when she stops teething but this post has made me realise there probably is light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is a lot longer than I thought! :-)

  28. Annie
    August 27, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    I needed to read this. Thanks Ruth x

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