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I love Strictly – autumn just isn’t autumn without Tess’ off the shoulder numbers, Claudia’s eyeliner and Len’s sevuuuhhhn! This year however, we have a baby in the mix – a baby whose main aim it seems is to destroy Saturday teatime TV (and in fact, teatime itself). A plan needed to be formed to ensure the peaceful passage of Strictly on Saturday nights. It was in the best interests of everyone’s sanity.
Operation #getbabytosleep was formed.
Here therefore are my top five tips in ensuring Saturday night harmony and happiness.
1. Plan ahead.
There is absolutely no point in pretending that you are fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, spontaneity-grabbing laid-back Luke type of parents. If you have a baby, and you want to see all of the sparkles from start to finish you need a plan – you need to think of all of the variables and you need to know all of the answers.
Attention to detail is key here – no stone must be unturned in the quest for an uninterrupted cha cha cha. I find a timeline working backwards from the programme start time helps (a colour coded laminated version may be taking things a step too far….). Timeline should include all family members so there are clear roles defined in the pursuit of #getbabytosleep. Who is going to feed the dog? Who is on washing up duty? Who is getting the baby bath ready Who is pouring the wine???
It may be worth noting here that I am well aware that I sound slightly ridiculous – this would not be the first time I have considered the label ‘control freak’. I am though, determined on my path to an uninterrupted viewing and if a job’s worth doing….
2. Put in the groundwork.
Never has the timing of a day time nap and feeding schedule (yes another schedule – I love, love, love a plan) been more important – there needs to be almost military precision to ensure that by bedtime the right amount of sleepiness has been gathered so that there is a swift move to a deep slumber. With this plan you will get out what you put in – a weepy child in the middle of Anton’s charleston could take you out of the equation for upwards of 20 minutes. Gone is the laissez faire attitude of taking life as it comes – it’s Saturday, it’s Strictly and different rules apply.
We all know that watching a repeat on iplayer just isn’t the same.
Ok so babies can’t go for a run – or even a walk, but we find a quick trip to the swimming baths soon tires Rita out. This is perfect in the afternoon (post-nap) and makes sure that she is suitably sleepy and ready for bed. Taking Rita swimming is a great experience in its own right as she loves being in the water, but having the by-product of certainty of peace when it comes to guessing the scores the judges give, and rooting for the only celebrity who wasn’t once a trained dancer, is a wonderful thing.
4. Baby massage
I was never a great believer in baby massage and all that jazz. However, since trying it with Rita after a bath, we have had some great results! There have been times when all three of us have been massaging her in a (successful) effort to get her to drop off. Yes this is slighting diva-esque treatment but the pay off has been a soundly sleeping baby gently snoring within minutes.I find that baby massage oil such as Neal’s Yard (@NYR_Official) really helps – we use the bath lotion too.
5. Working sleeping aids.
There is nothing worse than Ewan the dream sheep conking out just as your little one is dropping off. Not least because as the batteries wind down it begins to sound like Ewan is being slowly tortured to death. Make sure batteries are working and that you have spare ones. Make sure you have access to night lamp, white noise, dummies etc and they are all to hand – you don’t want to be scrambling around for them once the judges have taken their places. Make sure you have the right blankets and sleeping bag, make sure the temperature is right, the baby monitor is set up and the feng shui of the room is perfect. (We haven’t done this last one as you couldn’t swing a cat in Ritas room but hey, if you have the space what have you got to lose?).
Essentially the message is simple – forget NOTHING in the quest for a small glass of red and an evening of glitterball wonder.
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