Aha! I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I may have found the secret of the elusive Bedtime Routine.
It is none other than popular children's television programme In the Night Garden. So far it has helped Piglet settle down to sleep no less than two days running.
It is as yet still only 9pm so whether his current slumber will continue throughout the night remains to be seen. Judging by the squeaks I can hear coming from the direction of his cot I doubt it. Still, it is a marked improvement on the four hours of rocking and swaying I had to do the other night to get him to sleep.
I have to admit, In the Night Garden seems far less irritating than most of the other claptrap on CBeebies, although as I said before it is early days as I've only actually seen two episodes. The reason for the lack of irritation is that there are no annoying human children's TV presenters in the Night Garden, only odd creatures with names like Iggle Piggle and Macca Pacca (please excuse any spelling errors). Macca Pacca is my favourite so far, as he seems oddly obsessed with putting pebbles into neat piles for no apparent reason, and tonight actually went to bed clutching one of these pebbles. Hopefully Piglet will not start collecting random stones and bringing them home once he is old enough to understand what's going on. Although having said that, I'm not sure I really understand what's going on in the Night Garden so that would make Piglet at least thirty-four by the time it dawns on him.
It's difficult to know how much Piglet really is taking in from these TV programmes. He does stare at In the Night Garden quite intently, but then he also stared intently at the world gymnastics championships today, and Loose Women, and the news, and he probably would have been pretty interested in Homes Under the Hammer if his bouncy chair hadn't been facing the opposite direction. I'm fairly sure that at this stage the television is merely an interesting provider of bright colours and sounds, but I have found myself avoiding Jeremy Kyle the last few days just in case his understanding runs any deeper. I wouldn't want Piglet to think that Jeremy or his contestants are modelling normal behaviour. That said, I don't really want him thinking it's normal for people to be riding around in tanks shooting AK47s into the air either but we have continued watching the news. From what I can remember, I didn't start to be really interested in the news until I was about seven or eight years old. Up until that point although I think I had a vague idea that certain events were going on, I tend to remember individuals rather than events. I'm pretty sure at one point I believed, somewhat terrifyingly, that Margaret Thatcher and my grandmother were the same person.
Perhaps I shouldn't expose Piglet to the news after all. Who knows what horrors he could come up with?