Regular readers of the blog will know the battles we have with the littlest mini every night trying to get her to sleep. She’s something of a night owl and will often still be wandering the corridors ever hopeful of some party to crash with her three amigos-Bunny, Bottle and Blankey. Then when she has finally as my mum says , “gone to the Gods”-seriously, how creepy is that saying?It’s like she’s dead or something-it’s only a matter of a few hours before she’s awake again and raring to go. As she gets older, things are inevitably getting better but I still remain on the look out for ways to help her (and the rest of us!) get better sleep.
During the holidays after a few glasses of vino,I went online to see the Irish Parenting Bloggers were discussing the new miracle sleep cure-A book entitled “The Rabbit who wants to fall asleep”. It seemed like the answer to our prayers. Written by a psychologist and featuring Mini-Mini’s favourite animal, a rabbit called Roger. It couldn’t fail!! I hastily pressed ‘purchase’ and then spat half my wine out all over the keyboard when the cost of said purchase flashed up on-screen.
Now bear in mind that I’m normally the kind of person who baulks at paying over €12 for a book. You know those 2 for 20 offers at Easons? Them’s my kinda book purchases! Only this book wasn’t available in Easons. Nor was it to be had at my other trusted literary superstore-the Book Depository. There was only one place left to turn to-Amazon. Now, don’t get me wrong Amazon is a perfectly acceptable online market place. It’s just that I’ve found delivery to be a little slower than other companies. And if something goes wrong, they’re not the quickest to resolve it. There’s also the issue of having to order through Amazon.co.uk and deal with the currently abysmal euro to pound exchange rate.
So how much had I spent on this children’s book? An eye watering €27. Of course the good thing with Amazon is that you can easily cancel orders after you’ve made them. By that stage I was afraid of my drunken state and where it would lead me and my Visa card online, so I closed the laptop and resolved to sort out my mess first thing in the morning. That night, Mini-Mini’s sleep was appalling. She tossed, turned, cried out, cried, came to our bed and repeated the whole night-time fumblings there. Suddenly €27 for a good night’s sleep didn’t seem like such a bad trade-off.
And so the book was waiting for us when we came back from our holidays.
“This is it”, I told the Frenchman, tearing open the package. “This is the end of the sleepless nights!”
He didn’t look at all convinced and I must admit that I was less so when I saw the so-called miracle book.
Flimsy, thin and not very well designed, it doesn’t really get any better inside the cover. Our hero, Roger, looks more like an epic stoner. I know there’s a fine line between looking sleepy and being baked but I can’t shake the drugs association from my head especially with illustrations like these:
The book itself is a mere 27 pages long. The story goes thusly- Roger can’t sleep. Or more likely, he’s been on a 3 day coke binge and is looking for a way to come down. That probably wouldn’t be the safest route for a children’s book to go down so we’ll stick with the assumption that what he’s searching for is actually sleep. His mother tells him about Uncle Yawn a
dealer powerful wizard who CAN MAKE ANYONE FALL ASLEEP with his spells and magic dust. Riiiiight.
So off Mammy Rabbit and Roger go on a long, boring quest to find Uncle Yawn. The book is filled with bold and italicised bits. Words and sentences in bold means you need to emphasise those bits, while italicised text means you should read with a slow and calm voice. You insert the child’s name into the story whenever you see the following [name] You are also told to yawn at various times. All of these effects should result in the desired effect of your little one drifting off to slumber early on.
There’s a rather creepy disclaimer at the start which states
Even if this book is harmless to use, the author and the publisher takes no responsibility for the outcome.
What exactly they’re alluding to is unclear. Perhaps this is to prevent them getting sued from all the parents who invest so much time, money and effort into the reading of this absolute psycho babble. I really disliked this book. First of all, it is incredibly poorly translated from the original Swedish. There are instructions at the front which state that sometimes the sentences you read may not make sense but that is because the book contains specially constructed sentences and choice of words. Well psychological purpose be damned, the following sentences just make for crappy English
” Roger could play all day long until he fell asleep on the swings. Now. It allows him to swing back and forward, back and forward, slowly and relaxing.”
“Roger got more tired and the more he relaxed and calmed down, the more tired he and you became now, and the more tired and the more he relaxed, the more tired he and you became, now. That’s right.”
I get a pain in my brain just having to relive those sentences again and the book is full of them. But hey, I’m not a psychology major like the writer so in the interests of science, I ploughed ahead and tried out the book on an unwitting toddler. Here’s how we got on.
She battered the book with her hand and didn’t seem at all interested in the story. I channelled my university drama soc workshops and put everything I had into those bold and italicised bits. Mini Mini was less than convinced. I persisted and thought it was going well-she looked to be falling asleep. At the utterance of the words “The End”,however, she was still wide awake. I started again and it took two more excruciatingly long tries before her eyes finally closed. I’m not sure if she was bored to sleep. Whatever, if it works it works is what I was thinking at the end of the first night.
The Frenchman took over bedtime duties for Mini Mini. He had been gone for ages so I went upstairs to check on them. Hearing loud snores from the other side of the bedroom door, I took it that both had fallen asleep during the story. Except that when I opened the door to see, only Papa sound asleep with the book across his chest, but Mini Mini was still wide-eyed and full of devilment and in no mood to hear the story again!FFS.
Disaster. It was the Frenchman’s first day back at work in over two weeks. Multiple forlorn requests for Papa, Papa!! were made. The book was flung across the floor numerous times. I eventually abandoned it and fell back on the old bad (and back-breakingly awkward) habit of contorting my spine to fit into the toddler bed with her and soothe her to sleep.
No joy. We start to read the book in bed, but she continually grabs it off me and throws it on the floor. I’m sensing she maybe doesn’t like it.
Any mention of the book is met with a howling “Noooooo!” She flings it across the room a few times and I eventually give up.
Conclusion:Mini Mini 1,Roger the Rabbit 0 and the war wages on. This book simply isn’t worth nearly 30 euros. Hell, it isn’t even worth 10. My advice to exhausted parents of insomniac little ones? Keep doing what you’re doing. Eventually they WILL sleep. Keep the money you would spend on this book and hire a babysitter for a few hours-let them deal with putting your little angel to bed while you enjoy some quality kid free time down the local.
Disclaimer:I paid full whack (and then some!) for this book. Nobody asked me to review it, I just did in an effort to warn people not to part with their hard-earned cash for it.
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