Why Game of Thrones played a key part in my parenting journey

The long-awaited Game of Thrones Season Eight is upon us – and while it is adored by many, the bloodthirsty fantasy epic has a particularly poignant place in my heart.

The first episode of the 68 televised to date aired way back in 2011 but it wasn’t until some time after November 3, 2017, in the wee small hours, that I had my first Thrones fix.

Given the difficulty I had today in avoiding any social media spoilers blurted out by Americans or hardy folk who saw the 2am UK screening, it was a minor miracle that I managed to stumble through a good six years without even knowing who Jon Snow was.

But facing the reality of many a sleepless night like the threat of millions of White Walkers bearing down on my previously placid home, I knew a baby was coming and I would need something to keep me sane.

An early picture of Albie

With the dodgy decision-making prowess of a new, knackered parent – but some weeks before Albie had arrived on the scene – I decided the best course of action for me, as someone who almost never watches TV box sets, was to seek out precisely that!

And thanks to Hanna’s sister I was equipped for fatherhood with the first two seasons of Game of Thrones, ready for whatever the tiny pooing human could throw (or vomit, as it happened) at me.

Albie was a terrible sleeper. He didn’t settle at all, primarily because his awful reflux prevented him from comfortably laying down flat.

Not quite the iron throne, more foil blanket

For the first couple of months the only way to get him to sleep at night was to constantly cuddle him, so Hanna and I took it in turns to do so on a shift basis.

My watch was generally from about 10pm to 3.30am, and given it’s not very safe to fall asleep while cuddling a newborn, Thrones helped me stay awake and focused while the little man snoozed away.

I presume he struggled with the reflux, anyway. Either that, or he was born a massive fantasy fiction fan and in my haze I failed to spot him peeking at the action. Hopefully he was sound asleep, though, as I couldn’t think of a many more inappropriate programmes for a youngster!

By the time Albie reached the co-sleeping stage of his nightmare sleep journey, we had binged our way through seven seasons. Now, as he approaches 18 months, the finale season is finally upon us – and he’s sleeping soundly in his own cot, in his own room, in our new family home.

But if he wakes up during any of the final season, he best not be banking on his usual trick of popping downstairs for an episode of Hey Duggee!

UPDATE: The editor (Hanna) has noted an astonishing coincidence: the first episode of Game of Thrones aired on the precise date we first spoke. And the final season will end on my birthday. What are the odds of that?! I’d claim that factoid for myself but anyone with any inside knowledge would know my grasp of dates is shocking.

Proof he’s grown a little bit in his time under our care…

Did you struggle to get your baby to sleep in the early days? Let me know how you coped. 




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