The nightly climb up the stairs to Bedfordshire is supposed to be a time of parent-child bonding and sleepy tranquility. The little darlings dress themselves obediently in their pyjamas and clutch hot water bottles dreamily to their chests murmuring: "I love you, Mummy and Daddy."- Viv Groskop, The Guardian
In reality they want "just one more" repeat of Come Dine With Me. When they have already watched three. And, despite it already being several hours past the time they are supposed to be asleep, they now want you to read to them. You intone the words of Peepo, The Gruffalo or The Smartest Giant in Town as if you were a mass murderer.
Now comes the backlash – in the form of children's bedtime books designed for adults. Goodnight Keith Moon by Bruce Worden and Clare Cross published in the UK this week, is already a cult hit in the US. "Morbidly funny," according to the New Yorker, it's a spoof of the children's classic Goodnight Moon, told through the eyes of the Who's late drummer. A trashed hotel room replaces the sleepy child's bedroom. Instead of the bowl of mush featured in the original, there are pills everywhere: "And some whiskey and fish and some more in a dish, And the ghost of Cass Elliott whispering shhh."
It's already a trend with Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes, on its third print run in the US.
We can expect more of this stuff. There's already Porn For New Moms: photographs of beefcake guys feeding babies in the style of a children's picture book. And there's the "Baby Be Useful" series: Baby Mix Me a Drink, Baby Fix My Car, Baby Do My Banking. My favourite? All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen: "If you're a dinosaur, all your friends are dead. If you're a pirate, all your friends have scurvy." Genius.