Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: Go the F**K to Sleep is All About the “ME” Time

I read an article from CNN about a new book that is being pre-ordered on Amazon at a soaring rate because the title has yet to be released. Go the F**k to Sleep is written like a children’s book but the verses have an adult twist to them. Written by Adam Mansbach, he describes his annoyance with a toddler that is unwilling to go to sleep into a funny book hoping that other parents can relate and get a much deserve laugh over a very frustrating situation. Are the children just coming up with reasons not to fall asleep or can’t they fall to sleep easy because they suffer from parental separation anxiety? While children may ask for that 3rd glass of water or another bedtime story to keep their parents with them, parents are desperately trying to separate themselves from their children to get a little “me” time before they have to go to bed.

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The article goes on to tell us that Adam’s toddler wasn’t thirsty nor hungry and she didn’t need another story read to her, all the while Dad was thinking about “his” dinner, “his” glass of wine and “his” time outside his child’s bedroom. This nightly impasse between parents and their children is two-fold as the child needs to be assured that the parent is there to fall asleep, the adults need time to unwind and relax before they can go to bed and get some much needed zzzz’s. And you and I both know we can relax a lot easier when we know our children a fast asleep in bed. Working all day wears us out and we can’t wait to get in our Lazy Boy and watch the news or a television show other than Sponge Bob Square Pants! Sometimes we can’t help but rush the nightly routine or give in to a demanding child to avoid a tantrum, which would definitely extend the time away from the Lazy Boy just to calm them down. Mansbach said, “The nightly exhaustion is a frustrating part about something we love very much. A lot of these frustrations are not permissible to talk about. We're not completely honest because we don't want to be bad parents."

The cubs and the lions are snoring,
Wrapped in a big snuggly heap.
How come you can do all this other great sh*t
But you can't lie the f**k down and sleep?

This 32 page book is written in the style of a classic children's picture book, but there are two conversations going on: The first two lines are what the parent is saying to the kid; the second half is the internal monologue that is never said.

The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest
And the creatures who crawl, run and creep.
I know you're not thirsty. That's bullsh*t. Stop lying.
Lie the f**k down, my darling, and sleep.

At the end of the day, the child never hears the worst of the parent's frustration. Being a good parent is to internalize their frustration and take the irrational behavior, absorb it and never take it out on the child. This book is an outlet for the frustration.

This whimsical adult book has already hit no.1 on Amazon bestseller list a month before its June 14 publication date. It is illustrated by Richardo Cortes who captured the colorful mood of Mansbach’s poetry. It is a good idea to keep this book out of the way from the view of children because the illustrations are captivating. A G-rated version is in the works for younger children.

Go the F**k to Sleep hits a nerve with parents who hope for a life after their kids' bedtime. Independent publisher Akashic Books has responded to preorders and overwhelming Internet interest by increasing its first printing to at least 150,000 copies and moving up the publication date from October to June.

What do separation problems have to do with sleep?

Separation anxiety is a very common reason for children under three years to cry out for that 3rd glass of water at night. By eight or nine months, children have learned that their parents exist even if they can't see them. However the inner confidence to be able to feel secure when their parents are not within their site is still developing until three or four years of age. Night waking usually drops off quickly after this. You can tell if your child has separation anxiety if they wake up during the night and need you to reassure them so they can fall back to sleep. My granddaughters between the ages of 3-5 woke up around 4am every night and would crawl into their parent’s bed. Since my daughter and her husband have a full vs queen size bed this would force an adult out of the bed (9 times out of 10 it would be her husband) to find the additional room for the two girls. Eventually they had to put a sleeping bag on the floor near their bed so when they did come in they could be near them without being in the same bed. Remember children with separation problems often have scary dreams about their fears and their anxiety may make these children insomniacs, either because of the fear of being alone or due to nightmares about separation.

To help prevent separation problems at night, when your child is between four months and a year old, give them a transitional object (like a blanket, doll or other favorite thing). Then when they wake up, having that object there will comfort them and help them go back to sleep.

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Other than separation problems, the University of Michigan Health Systems describes different reasons your child may not want to go to bed at night. Your child may have issues with autonomy. In other words, they may want to have more control over their body and their environment. This usually starts to happen after about nine months of age, and is what two-year-olds are famous for! Give your child some limited choice and “control” over the type of bedtime activities and the order of the bedtime routine. If your child has more control over these activities, they may feel less need to exercise control over when they fall asleep.

If your older child resists going to sleep at night, remember this: It is your responsibility to put your child to bed, but it is your child’s responsibility to go to sleep. Put your child to bed at a reasonable time after a reasonable bedtime routine. Have clear rules (stay in bed, no eating, etc.). Then, if your child doesn’t fall asleep, it may be that they don’t need so much sleep. If they stay awake late, and then want to sleep late in the morning, wake them up 10 minutes to a half hour earlier every morning until they are falling asleep at the time you want at night.

Basically, you should discuss the bedtime routine during the day so that the child knows what to expect at night. Then stick with it each night. If kids know what to expect, then they'll usually do okay and you will get to have your important “me” time….go..go get into your Lazy Boy.

The content provided in Book Review: Go the F**K to Sleep is All About the “ME” Time is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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1 comment:

  1. This book seems to be something fresh and new, it’s a short list of books that seem like they’re for kids, but really they’re for parents. Just over that line are books that really are for kids, but they’re made in a way that adults (yes, non-parent adults) can like them too. Anyway, I’m looking forward to checking this book out.