Sleep like a baby (Ha Ha!)

After just over seven years, I have finally got my nights back to myself! By 7:45, both my boys are asleep and (mostly) sleep through the night. Luckily the oldest one is very sporty, so is tired by the end of the day, ready for bed and has slept well for a long time. But as for the youngest one… oy vey! He is a different story and would happily stay up until 10pm. He has recently dropped his midday nap, so is now ready for bed at a decent time and falls asleep quickly! Hooray!

Every parent knows the frustration of getting children to go to sleep. I am not a believer in sleep training or leaving children to cry themselves to sleep, so have spent many hours holding, rocking, singing, pushing prams and driving the car, waiting for those little eyes to close (I really should have guns of steel – aka strong arm muscles – after all of that!)

The problem with pushing the pram on the road outside your house (this would be for the afternoon nap – I certainly wouldn’t choose this option at night!) is that the neighbourhood suddenly changes from a quiet, peaceful place to a very noisy orchestra at the exact moment you leave the house. It goes a little something like this (to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas…)

Twelve children yelling, eleven dogs a-barking, ten cars a-hooting, nine alarms
shrieking, eight chainsaws buzzing, seven ‘lectric fences sizzling, six hadedas shouting,
five cellphone rings, four radios, three fat cats, two motorbikes and a baby howling in
a pram!

So then we move on to rocking and singing… My ‘go to’ songs were always ‘Old McDonald’ and ‘The wheels on the bus’, but often I would need to add extra verses. Old McD had all kinds of animals on his farm in my version – lions, tigers, giraffe, crocodiles! But then I had to come up with the noises those animals made as well – some were trickier than others. In a similar way, ‘the bus’ had all kinds of extra sounds – “the rain on the bus goes drip, drip, drip”, “the air con on the bus goes cool, cool, cool” and “the seats on the bus go creak, creak, creak”!

Then there is the ‘Night Ninja’… this is the ‘mom move’ that happened when I was exhausted/desperate to catch up on my favourite show (this usually happened when one of the boys fell asleep on the couch at 4 or 5pm – then I just knew I was in for a late night!) I used to switch all the lights off, sit down in front of the TV, hold him in my arms and rock him slowly until he was asleep. I then had to carry him to his bed, in the dark, while trying not to walk into any walls or doorways. This is where the ‘ninja’ part came in – I would stick my leg out, trying to feel for where the walls were, then walk sideways, so my shoulder would hit the wall in case I had misjudged where they were, instead of any part of the baby. I would carefully climb the stairs (in the dark) and put him in his bed. Then rush back down, put my show on….and fall asleep ten minutes later in front of the TV!

Now that my nights are my own again, I can read or catch up on TV shows, but most of the time I fall asleep in their bed, after reading to them!

“My children have two volumes – mute when they are asleep and Metallica when they’re awake.”


Recipe for today
(This recipe is great for supper when you don’t have much time (or energy!) It also works well for when you have friends over and can easily be doubled.)


500g chicken fillets, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
A few teaspoons oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper/chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 paprika
1 tin diced tomatoes
8 small tortilla wraps
2 cups grated cheese
Guacamole to serve
Fresh coriander (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Season the chicken, then brown in a little bit of oil. Remove from pan. Add a little extra oil into the pan and fry the onion, garlic and peppers on low heat until soft. Add the spices to the onion mix and cook for another minute or two (more spices can be added if you prefer it spicier). Put the mixture into a bowl and add the tinned tomatoes. Use a stick blender (or normal blender) and blend until mostly smooth. Mix 2/3 of the mixture with the diced, cooked chicken – keep the other 1/3 for later. Spoon a bit of the mixture lengthwise into the middle of each wrap and roll up. Place all the wraps snugly into a rectangular oven dish and pour the rest of the tomato mixture over the top. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and bake until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown (30-35 minutes). I usually turn the grill on for the last 5 minutes – but watch it, as it burns quickly. Serve the enchiladas with guacamole and fresh coriander.

(If you have even less time/energy, you can just mix the diced, cooked chicken with 2/3 bottle of salsa and use the rest of the bottle on the top, then top with grated cheese and bake as above.)

Author: Mel Martin

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