Go The Fuck To Sleep
You Have To Fucking Eat
Picture books for parents
"The cats nestle close to their kittens.
The lambs have lain down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep."
I adored each of my children from the first in utero stirrings
of life. I thought they were the most beautiful, smart, totally
delightful infants that had ever graced the Earth with their
presence. I also experienced moments when I wished they'd come with
owners' manuals, particularly in regard to sleeping habits. When I
was up to three kids, with a newborn partying at night and his older
sisters needing my presence during the day, I experienced an
overwhelming fatigue no amount of coffee could remediate. Opening my
eyes, gritty with sleepy dust, became a major achievement.
A lot of you have been there. If the issue was not close to
universal in our society, nearly every issue of parenting magazines
wouldn't have a how to solve piece. Even if your kids are fully
functioning adults you haven't forgotten. That's why Adam Mansbach's
Go The Fuck To Sleep is such a relief. The man expresses and
legitimizes what gazillions of us have experienced.
A child is not complying with a dad's desire to hit the sack.
Every stall in the book is being attempted: another story, a drink of
water followed by a potty trip, a missing stuffed animal... By the
time the child has dozed off (temporarily, it turns out) and the dad
is ready for adult entertainment, mom is out for the count.
The sequel, You Have To Fucking Eat, addresses another very
common perrenial parenting problem. The children pictured in the book
demand food at all hours, but find what'd placed in front of them
unacceptable. They suddenly loathe what they've previously craved.
Carefully packed school lunches come back untouched.
On the last two page spread a father is tucking a lovely little
girl into bed.
"I'm pretty sure that you're malnourished
And scurvied. My failure's complete.
But on the bright side, maybe this is the night
You'll go the fuck to sleep."
The text is sweetly rhyming. The kids and animals pictured are
adorable. But this is NOT, I repeat NOT, a book to read to one's
offspring unless they have grown up and been fruitful and multiplied
and are looking a little bleary eyed and rough around the edges.
Then they very much need the reassuring message: been there,
done that, survived.
On a personal note, without kids to keep me awake, my pet peeve sleep
stealer is heat and humidity. I love cool night breezes and their
soporific properties. I used to sleep in a small tent on muggy
nights. Now if it's too hot in the bedroom I adjourn to my studio
with its perfectly placed windows, sleep like a cat, and wake up
A great big shout out to all struggling with children's sleeping
habits with a reminder that this too shall pass.
Sent from my iPod