By Alice Du Parcq - Alice is a beauty and fragrance writer and brand consultant.
“Stop singing mummy!” At 2½ years old, my sweet little girl punched me right in the heart. Until that moment, every evening, without fail, my husband John or I would lay her down on her a soft blanket and sing ‘Dream a Little Dream’ while we put her pyjamas on. It was heavenly: a blissful moment of calm and peace that each of us would compete for, and whoever had the sh*ttiest day generally won the bedtime routine. It was all cuddles and face strokes, clean hair and kissing teddies – the type of smug, eye-rolling, Kodak-moment parenting that you don’t dare tell your mates about.
Then one evening our tiny, gentle lamb turned into a stroppy threenager Mariah Carey. “I want the Hokey Kokey,” she announced. “I want cold water in my green bottle,” she demanded the following week. “I can’t sleep without my snail shells,” she sobbed, turning our piece-of-cake bedtime ritual into a knackering showdown of unpredictable diva crisis management. For 6 months we battled, always getting it wrong, always buggering up her perfect backstage-bedroom rider list of various bits of crap and toys she’d obsess over that day, which absolutely had to be part of bedtime. The dead ladybird, the Olaf plaster, the random song she sang at nursery that morning that we’d never heard before, the yellow sippy cup. I suddenly ‘got’ the whole gin’o’clock thing, “FFS”ing under my breath as yet another distraction poo session prolonged my appointment with Netflix and tonic. After a while I’d well and truly handed the bedtime baton over to John; patient, kind John with an inordinately long fuse. It became their ‘thing’, and he mastered the Mariah-negotiations like a boss.
Then a few months ago, a package arrived in the post. It was a bottle of Baby Sleep Bedtime Massage Oil with a ‘P’ sticker on the lid. I’d heard of Bloom and Blossom and then a friend got some for Poppy to try out. She personalised it with a P glitter sticker on the bottle. She saw it and her eyes lit up. “It’s a P for Poppy!” she squeaked, cradling it like a new born for the rest of the afternoon. It was the bottle that saved bedtime.
That night she asked John to use some, and he duly accepted like the perfect butler to our tiny queen. It started off as a simple little foot massage, then hands and arms, and a few days in we noticed a shift. No whingeing. No crying. No bonkers demands. No complicated stringing-it-out games. Just a gentle, peaceful little massage that lulled her into a dreamy pre-bed calm before one or two (not five or six) short stories. Of course, our mad little Mariah has upped her game and turned it into a longer ceremony. I sat in on a ‘session’ recently, and watched her cup her hands as John squirted two pumps into her palms. She rubbed them together and began massaging John’s face, smearing her little hands all over his cheeks, forehead, nose and ears, and over his stubble “to make it softer daddy”, as he sweetly sat there with his eyes tightly shut, letting her play spa on him. It was adorable. After a quick spritz of Pillow Spray, she was climbing into bed ready for a story.
Maybe it’s the scent of camomile, ylang ylang and lavender, maybe it’s the physical touch. Maybe it's the simplicity of a little evening consistency. All I know is that for the past three months bedtimes have transformed from frenetic battles back into quiet wind-downs, cuddles and face strokes. Minus the dead ladybirds. Long may it last; just don’t tell my mates.
Shop the full Bloom and Blossom Baby Sleep range here: