Oh, the lies you tell your children

I'VE BEEN up with the baby all night.

I know, from the way I usually talk in this column you have gathered I'm an old woman who long ago raised her babies.

But I'm also a doting grandmother and like to help my two daughters with as many babysitting shifts as I can, especially the youngest daughter who hasn't enjoyed a full night's sleep since February 2009.

So in the spirit of selflessness and because I have a naturally beautiful nature, I offered to take her three-year-old girl and six-month-old boy for a night.

I managed to get the little girl to sleep with (shame on me) large supplies of chocolate frogs, jelly snakes and videos.

But the bonny boy?

I was braced for trouble as I knew he loved a bit of a party at 1am, followed by rip-roaring shindig at 2am, with a real kick-up-your-heels gig from 3-5am, before a pick-me-up nap between 5.45am and 6am, to wake up refreshed, clear-eyed and ready for another day.

My daughter had instructed me on how to settle him.

"Wrap him tight like he's in a strait-jacket, hold him close to your chest, pat his bottom, sway him back and forth and he'll nod off in your arms, then gently lower him into the cot while still holding him tightly to you."

The wrapping bit proved a challenge as his arms twirled like a Dervish on steroids and his legs pumped faster than a cyclist taking the lead in the Tour de France.

But once in his straight jacket and held firmly to my womanly bosom with the bottom-patting moving to a soothing rhythm, I finally got him to settle.

I cannot express to you what a relief it was to watch his darling little eyelids close. Only when I was certain he was fully asleep did I dare begin lowering him.

The moment his wrapped bundle lightly touched the cot mattress, his eyes and mouth shot wide open and a wail filled the room.

I lost count of the number of times we performed this clumsy ballet.

Over and over again, we wrapped, patted, swayed, held, clutched, lowered and... whoopee ... wailed and awoke to do it all over again.

"How was he?" my daughter asked anxiously when she arrived to pick the children up the next morning.

"Marvellous. Wonderful. Slept right through," I said.

I told you. I have a naturally beautiful nature.


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