Foul-mouthed bedtime stories for parents

It is a peculiar torture, getting a child to sleep. You’re often exhausted and yet have to soothe the infant to slumber, while keeping yourself awake. More than once have I thought: “I love you, but just go to sleep now, Mummy needs a martini and a bath.”

Children are the world’s best procrastinators. You’ve filled them with milk, 45 minutes of stories (during which you’ve done all the voices and answered questions that would tax God’s own patience), cuddled them, kissed them, made sure the duvet is just so, tucked in 12 cuddly toys and cleared the room of monsters.

Their eyelids are closing, you marvel at how angelic they look as you tip-toe backwards out of the room. Then the demands start: I need the loo, I need a drink, no not water, milk. Not cold milk, warm milk. You make the mistake of looking at the clock, seeing your evening tick away. You may even start to cry.

Now a book has been written just for me and a million other parents: Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. Mansbach is a writer and father of three-year-old Vivien. It was after putting Vivien to bed last year and thinking “I’m going to be stuck in this room for ever” that he snuck on to Facebook and wrote: “Look out for my new book, ‘Go the Fuck to Sleep’, out next year.” It was a joke that became real.

A lyrical picture book aimed at parents rather than their children will be on the shelves in June: “The eagles who soar through the sky are at rest/Like the creatures who crawl, run and creep/I know you’re not thirsty. That’s bullshit. Stop lying/Lie the fuck down, my darling, and sleep.”

Last week it got to number one on pre-order in the charts and the film rights have already been bought. Warning: there is swearing on every page. Don’t read it if you can’t take a joke, but if you understand this book as I do, you’re probably ready for a laugh. —

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