The Night-Time Bed Invader

People always have a lot of sympathy for new mums don’t they? It makes sense – they’re knackered because they’ve been up in the night feeding, changing nappies or trying to coax a windy baby back to sleep.

We reassure new mums that it will get better and it often does, at least in the short term. But where does that sympathy go when you are stuck with a toddler who has become a right pain in the arse at night? Suddenly those newborn days seem almost preferable, because at least small immobile humans don’t kick you in the head and demand you make them jam toast whilst doing an impression of a cat at 2.45 AM.

If you were to ask me ‘How are your kids at sleeping?’ I would say ‘Hmm ok. Not great, but okish… you know, depending on the day. Actually. Often. A bit crap.’

If they both sleep through the night and neither one gets up until 6 AM then that is a big win. I cannot remember the last time that this happened. At the minute our main problem is our littlest’s habit of appearing in our room and scaring the sh*t out of us in the middle of the night (I say us but tbh his father is mostly unaware).

dont hurt

I know we should probably make some attempt to teach him to sleep in his own bed, take him back to his room quietly and quickly, be consistent bla bla bla but OH the tired. It’s always too tempting to just go with the quickest win.

Although even I’ve never made Jam toast at 2.45 AM whilst pretending to be a cat*

Anyway the ideal scenario is that he gets into our bed and goes back to sleep immediately. It happens. Occasionally…


Unfortunately we are also met with other, less preferable outcomes. For example sometimes he becomes Chatty Kid


Other times he is I Want To Sing Irritating Songs Kid


Invasive Kid winds down by spending 30 minutes or so poking or prodding me…


And Cute Kid ups the game with clever distraction techniques (he can’t say love properly yet and pronounces it lush *heart melts*)…


Did you notice the father sleeping through it all? Not for long! Are You Sure He’s Not On Acid Kid will soon see to that…


Often he decides to play Hungry Kid, suddenly demanding to eat the meal he outright refused to even try at dinner time…


All of those scenarios are better than dealing with Angry Kid. No one is really sure why Angry Kid is angry, even Angry Kid himself does not know. He just picks a ridiculous and random thing to get pissed off about and runs with it (whilst ripping the covers off everybody)…


He knows full well that he doesn’t even have yellow wellies.

If we are very unfortunate we might have to deal with Hangry Kid, a horrible combination of the above two, basically meaning we are totally screwed…


In most cases Hangry Kid also turns into I’m Going to Hit Everybody Until Someone Gives Me Their Space In The Bed Kid

kick out of bed

But I’ve saved the best for last. Nothing, no one and no type of night time bed invader is more terrifying than Thinks It’s Already Daytime Kid



However the good news is that most of the time we are able to persuade our little one back into a peaceful slumber. Unfortunately by that time it’s often around 5.35 AM and DAMN IT just as I’m about to drift back off, I remember – we have another kid who likes to get up at the crack of dawn…

bigger one

Gimme a newborn any day.

*At least 87% sure I’ve never done it…



P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


81 thoughts on “The Night-Time Bed Invader

  1. Jo

    Love this

    Have a toddler. Who is currently having nightmares (probably caused by the amount of Real Housewives she ‘accidentally’ sees in the day) Contemplating having another. Maybe a newborn won’t be too bad… But then it will turn into another toddler though…..

    How long can you keep them in their cages …er cots?

    1. dody benfer

      you can keep them there for 4.3 years before they are proficient enough a climbing out that they will start hanging at the top until they go straight down on their heads… leading to the chapter on, what does grandma say just happened… which wont matter when 14 hits and permission is granted to lock them in their closet until the end of puberty…. hee hee hee, and you think its rough now!

  2. Liisa

    Awsome post! I laughed and laughed with tears running down my face. It was like you were telling the night time story of our life. :D

  3. Kelly

    Confession. I got so used to my son coming into bed with us every night that on the occasions he slept through, I couldn’t sleep! Now I kidnap him from his own bed into ours just so I get some decent shut-eye.
    Lesson: start off with the child ALREADY in your bed. Ha! Ha! See the reverse psychology there. Genius.

  4. Tony Rees

    Love it! I’ve never understood how someone who is so small that we’ve lost them in their own bedspread can suddenly turn into some gangly octopus when they’re in a grown-up bed! Honestly, there’s a completely illogical number of knees and elbows. Worse when it’s both of them!

    Glad it’s not just me!

  5. Jenny

    As Jo, I love the idea of newborn, but having only just got out of the above stage, I’m not sure I can go through it again! Lovely little sleep stealers :)

  6. Marrow of doom

    We have “I need to tell you something” (in a squeaky voice), and her older brother “Ignore me and I’ll beat the crap out of the walls”

  7. Sally

    My youngest gave up clambering into our bed at the age of 9yrs, I know that sounds horrendous but from about the age of 3 she got pretty good at squeezing in between us without us even being aware. We’d just wake up in the morning clinging to the side of the bed in a desperate attempt to not fall out whilst she would be sleeping soundly like a star fish.

  8. Catherine Goddard

    This made me LOL x 100. However, I’ve got BAD NEWS. It gets worse. Wait til you’ve got a 6yo bed invader – the same one that doesn’t want to go to sleep til 9.30 and gets up at 7am and crawls into your bed all arms and legs about 3am. And the only thing that soothes her is picking loose skin from around the edges of your nails. Soz.

  9. Alexandra | I'm Every Mum

    Oh my goodness, this is exactly where we are at, although they’re both going through it at the same time (aged 2&3) we’ve given up and usually when they appear in the room one of us sleeps with one and one of us goes of to sleep with another. Sometimes we top and tail in our regular sized double bed but someone always gets kicked in the face. Don’t know why we bother trying. Fantastically written as always x

  10. Kira

    Mine is not a toddler…she’s almost 5. And she snores! Between her and our dog who snores like a freight train, I have actually gone back to the Invader’s bed to get some sleep, away from my delightful comfy pillows and fleece sheets! Desperate times call for desperate measures!

  11. Liz

    We have the hungry, thinks it daytime, parched child who ends up eating bananas (and biscuits) in bed if the little hand has not found 6 yet…

  12. DeeP

    My personal favourite was ‘get in with us and fall straight asleep but spend all night kicking the covers down and making parents freezing kid’. If he hadn’t weighed a bloody tonne he would have been taken back to bed! He only stopped getting in with us 18 months ago (he’s 7!) this coincided with me getting pregnant – currently have 8 month old. I CAN NOT WAIT for this stage again

  13. Jodie

    With a 5 and 2 year this is my night pretty much every night. I can recall one occasion I woke at 7am with just me and the hubby in bed … We sat bolt upright shatting ourselves because we thought they were dead!

    1. ali

      Oh yeah, that heart stopping moment. …and then the argument over who gets to go check on them!!! The joys of parenting lol x

      1. Lucy Buckley

        Oh yes there’s been times when I’ve thought they were dead due to sleeping through but always told myself that risking waking them and sacrificing the peaceful lay in wasn’t worth it.
        Nothing I could do if the were dead anyway. ;)

  14. Julia Wood

    You’ve summed up my current life perfectly, just add into the mix that I’m 29 weeks pregnant and you’d be spot on! Legs and arms everywhere and telling me (in her sleep) that I’m getting in her way!! What am I letting myself in for having 2 of the little blighters!

  15. Natasha

    OMG you have captured exactly what our nights are like at this very moment with my 2.5 year old. Also the daddy sleeping oblivious to it is also spot on. That was until she didn’t like me putting her back into her room so she ran and got on the bed and elbowed sleeping daddy in the balls!!! Hahaha

  16. Nicole

    My weapon of choice is the boob! My non sleeping child just gets a boob waved at them to stop the talking/singing. This night weaning lark I started over a year a go is going great! :/

  17. Holly

    OMG This post is horribly painfully accurate! Our 5 going 6yo is currently experiencing ‘bad dreams’ which ultimately end up being our nightmares! Conveniently she can never recall what they are about but once the sleep cycle has been broken that’s usually it for the rest of the week. We then have ‘I just felt like a cuddle’ kid and ‘I heard a strange noise’ kid come to stay. More often than not I give in and relocate to her room where I get a better night than Daddy who although he tends to sleep heavily cannot ignore the small person and her stranglehold! I like to think it’ll get better but our 12yo still has her moments. However it’s a lot easier to tell a 12yo to bugger off back to their own bed!

  18. mandy ward

    I have “can’t sleep unless I’m upside down” kid which turns into “can I lie here and pull your hair until you feel like screaming” kid…

  19. Elaine @ Entertaining Elliot

    hahah this had me in stiches, all so true and I’ve definitely seen many of these!! My sons favourite one is to come into our bedroom in the middle of the night and complain about a bad dream. I attempt to coax him back in his own bed but usually its just easier to let him sleep in the middle. That would be fine if he didn’t bloody fidget so much!! The other night he was crawling up and down the bed under the covers pretending to be a fox – arghhhhhhh!!!!!

  20. Eliza Beck

    Oh my!! Thought it was just us! My husband now only sleeps in the eldest boys room, he may as well because come 12 it is all swap and change anyway! The hungry thing gets me and always turns into hangry lol, oh to be 3 and not feel tired!

  21. Vicki

    My kid is 1 year old and still in her cot right now but when we bring her in with us when she’s whiney we get the full finger up the nose and trying to open eyes treatment. I have the fear, when she’s a full walker and not in her cot anymore, about waking to see her standing there. The. Fear.

  22. Katie @mummydaddyme

    All your posts make me laugh out loud but I think this one is my favourite ever. So so funny. And your biggest fan Mr E just read it with me and laughed as well. I have been very lucky when it comes to our children and sleep (sorry smug!) but I do know of some of these as every so often we let Mads come in our bed as a treat. I am almost 99% positive that our new baby is going to be an utter MONSTER when it comes to sleep- karma is a bitch! x

  23. Andy

    Look… The skys not awake so it’s still sleeping time. When the sky is awake we can get up.

    Works well in winter. In summer not so much invest in blackout curtains.

  24. Laura

    This is ace – it made me laugh whilst I’m getting our littlest to sleep. Wooops. We have Ninja Kid. She convinces me she’s a bit scared so she can sleep in our bed for a bit, then lies like a starfish kicking us in the head just as we’re nodding off. Love her though.

  25. Tim

    Oh yes, been there. Even now, with our kids 8, almost 6 and 3.5, we regularly get the youngest two sneaking in to our bed in the small hours. At least they’re relatively still, unlike our oldest who, when he was younger, used to crawl in, form the horizontal bit of an ‘H’ in between the two of us, and then do star jumps in his sleep until one of us (i.e. me) finally gave up and relocated to the spare bedroom.

  26. alicadabra

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this! Painfully accurate, wonderfully funny. Thankfully my squirming octopus has enjoyed her own bed (mostly) for the past month, but I am still grateful for every single uninterrupted night (and even the “only-briefly-interrupted” ones). She’s six. Sorry.

  27. Carry on katy

    This is my life!!!! We are literally living the same fecking life!
    I woke up with a toddler on my head three days ago and I have put my neck out because of it. He comes into our bed every night at 2.02am on the dot. So I abandon ship and sleep in his minions bed surrounded by 60 singing minions who start laughing every time I roll over.
    My husband and I are scheduled to have sex in 2018.
    I’m so looking forward to it. X

  28. Liz

    Ha ha spot on as always. I got soo cross at my eldest for keeping me awake all night and all day when she was 2 and i was pregnant with my second that i burst into tears when she wouldn’t have a nap during the day and got a safety gate for her bedroom. Lifesaver!

  29. Jeennin

    Thanks for this post. I thought I was doing something wrong. I feel like scratching my eyes out when my 3 year old asks if it’s morning and it’s only 4am. Or comes up with “I want porridge”. I had to order a new bed cos I thought the one she had wasn’t comfy enough.

  30. Andy May

    We’ve just had a new one. “Mummy, there are only 3 stars left on my groclock!” (i.e. it’s *only* 3 hours ’til getting up time)…

    We’ve bred a speaking clock!

  31. Claire

    And of course if they do fall asleep, you could still wake up to ‘Mummy, I did do a wee in your bed’. Always a pleasure, that one.

  32. Beverley Haagensen

    After lack of sleep with number one, we just set up single beds mext to our beds and then everyone had a good night’s sleep. Between ages 5-7 they would move out. Six children and over 20 years later my husband and I finally have the room to ourselves. But we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

  33. Shannon

    I feel less alone now! Thank you for the laughs in a week which has been sleepless hell on earth! Oh and yes I am looking forward to the newborn in a few months – I do believe it will be easier!

  34. Dave & Sue

    Your blog was forwarded to us by our youngest
    daughter who is now 35 and has 2 boys of 4 and 1. We have 3 grown up kids, the second was hyperactive as a toddler but we NEVER had this problem! Don’t know why, sorry we can’t give you a magic solution. None of them came into our room at night unless they had a real problem. No locks or threats, it was just not done. If they got out of bed they just played and sometimes fell asleep on the floor!

  35. Rebecca Dodgson

    One day, one day, surely sleeping in Mummy and Daddy’s bed won’t be cool any more? I realise this may be ten years off. Of course there will then come a time when instead we may have to start worrying about whose bed they are actually sleeping in…
    Our five-year-old can usually nod off fairly quickly once she is in our bed, but oh, how fidgety she is when she sleeps. Tossing and turning, twitching, sighing, coughing. And pushing. Pushing like a Superman flying horizontally across the bed. And when I finally pass out with exhaustion: Poke, poke. “Mummy, stop snoring!”

  36. Alex

    My three year old usually sleeps when he comes into the room, but he does that gradual turn in the night that results in him using his blissfully unaware mum as a pillow whilst kicking the living hell out of my neck…

  37. Claire

    It’s OK, you can get your own back when they’re teenagers and have rebooted themselves to *never* getting up. I still have joy in waking my teen up at 10am on a Saturday morning after numerous 5.30 starts during the toddler days.

  38. Emma

    This is us too. My husband is frequently shunted out to the icy cold bed of hate at 3am.
    My mum always asks how the sleeping is going now and looks horrified when I say it’s about the same. Apparently I never did this…. Hoping when she hits 4 it might get better So tired. So much tired.

  39. Hayley

    OMG it’s so nice to read so many other parents suffering! The majority of parents I know with toddlers claim ‘they go to sleep at 7pm and sleep right through to 7am’ – what are they doing that I/we are not?! Our wee one has impeccable timing, comes in at 4.30am most mornings, climbs in to our bed, claims 80% of my side of the bed before falling asleep 20mins later by which time I know I have just over an hour left before my alarm goes off so end up climbing into her tiny Ikea bed and catching 20mins more sleep before my full day of work. FML my fellow sufferers, F M L!

  40. Hannah

    My husband and I have just been in stitches over this blog and the subsequent comments.
    Mainly because our nights usually consist of the following:
    Eldest comes in because “I missed you Mummy”. He then proceeds to shower me in True Love kisses (blame Frozen) for the next 10 minutes. Lovely until he wakes littlest (8 months) who idolises his big brother and decides to try and break out of his cot in order to get to eldest.
    Eldest meanwhile has decided he is “starving Mummy” and demands toast. At this point Daddy gets a dig in the ribs and has to make toast whilst I boob littlest back to sleep.
    Eldest then wants to touch my spot (he finds a mole on my neck oddly comforting) so I have to sit at an inordinately painful angle feeding littlest and donating my neck to eldest who then drops crumbs all over our bed from his snack then falls asleep.
    Everyone then lies down and goes to sleep and I am woken by:
    “Fire engine. Call the fire engine. Nee naaw”. Eldest sleep talks. I am wide awake and there are crumbs in my pjs.

  41. Dc

    That was hilarious! And painfully recognisable… I have a ‘I would like to drink breastmilk and then use you as a pacifier for the rest of the night’ baby. So I ly there in one stiff position, back aching, hoping the preschooler doesn’t wake up to join the fun. But it’s my own fault for allowing this I guess.

  42. Bob Johnson

    I love this site and all your drawings! I have a question, though… What will you do if your kids find this website when they’re older? :P

    Also you made a post about you not getting paid for this website, I would suggest looking into something called Patreon! (Not sure if it’s available where you live.)

  43. Lisa

    Love this!, it’s as usual scarily accurate and like you’re writing about my life. My scary 2yr old is scaring the life out of me nightly, also have a teething 8 month old bed invader and daddy ignores them both and peacefully sleeps through it all!

  44. Me

    When I sneak into my own bed, I open the covers at the foot of the bed, and sleep there. Even with my husband’s feet, there is more room there than I’ve seen in 3 years.
    Super post!

  45. kate

    We are the parents that insist on bringing our boy back to bed… would love to be smug but after one and a half years of doing this sometimes 4 times a night with no sign of him getting the hint I don’t know why we bother. Great post!

  46. Kellpops

    My child is a bed invader, a three year old bed invader and he is blackmailing me…..

    My child has not managed a full night in his bed since June…. JUNE…. JUNE I TELL YOU!!!!

    On Monday last week after an especially shitty day at work, we had this conversation on the way home…

    Him “Mumma… Ive seen a new toy that I WANT!”
    Me “Well… its just been Christmas, you got lots of toys at Christmas… some you’ve not even played with yet…”
    Him “Yes but its Buzz & Woody riding on RC!”
    Me “Ummmmm…. *this toy sounds kinda cool* Maybe you could ask for it for your birthday?”
    Him “No Mumma… Maybe….. If I sleep in my bed the whole night, can I have it?”
    Me “Erm… Ok! But only if you can do it for 7nights!”
    Him “Ok!”

    So out of the past 8 nights my darling boy has managed to stay in his bed all night for SIX nights!

    I’ve created a monster!

  47. sarah

    Haha this post is so true. We have a 4 year old and 2 year old and this describes pretty much every night to a tee lol . Especially the let it go bit lol well actually any singing for that matter. Really me laugh out loud xx

  48. Louise Parry

    We have one of these at the moment. I’ve started semi-sleepwalking into Squidge’s room when he wakes up at stupid o’clock in the morning and then being very confused when I wake up with a toddler in bed with me.
    I’m not sure whether it would be better or worservices if he could talk, on the one hand he can’t ask me ridiculous questions but on the other hand I have no idea what he actually wants.

  49. Emma Day (crazywithtwins)

    Completely agree… all the sympathy is reserved for when they are newborns and then you’re on your own!

    My girls all slept right through as babies, from around 3 months… but now… having twin toddlers who REFUSE to go to bed at night. Sometimes it can take up to 4 hours to get them to go to sleep. They are now outright BANNED from daytime naps. Thankfully they never get up before 7:30am, but they do quite often sneak into my bed in the middle of the night! xx

  50. Gem

    This post made me laugh, maybe a little too hard with something resembling desperation, because my 3 year old rarely makes a full night in his own bed. The desperation isn’t actually for the additional bedfellow anymore per say because I’m quite happy him coming in for some additional comfort if he needs it (he’s adopted and I’m very happy to give reassuring cuddles whenever either of the children need them) but because we’re currently sleeping on a sofa bed whilst we’re rebuilding our house and waiting for our new bedroom to be completed and there isn’t any room for us, let alone a mini hot water bottle. I did order a super king sized bed yesterday though and am off to buy a mattress today (on my own I might add which as you have already pointed out is tantamount to a spa date) so we might actually get some leg room and some decent sleep in the very near future.

    He’ll probably start sleeping in his own bed once we take the fun out of it by creating space…right?

  51. Natalie Rimmington

    I feel this pain. I have a beautiful two year old who likes to wake at 3-4am doing the Invasive & Think It’s Already Daytime Kid!! With my 8 year old rousing by 6:30am!!

    And the Daddy has zero awareness!!

    Thank Gordon for Gin!! Xx


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