Martha and the Bunny Brothers – I Heart Bedtime

In a week where we’ve all been discussing bedtimes over on Netmums (with the launch of Bedtime Live) we bring you a lovely guest blog from author Clara Vulliamy, all about some bunnies who make countless excuses not to go to bed. It’s a lovely book to share with little ones and we have five copies to giveaway. Just leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning a copy.


For the second story starring Martha and her bunny brothers Monty and Pip, the theme is that most epic of family dramas. It happens every day in every home. It pretty much starts at teatime and sometimes feels like it isn’t really over until breakfast the next day.

I Heart Bedtime

Martha, being a cheerful sunny-side-up little bunny, LOVES bedtime – especially today, because her best babysitter Grace-next-door is coming to look after them. But Monty and Pip have other ideas and want to stay up late. Martha hops into action to urge, tempt and cajole – but will she EVER get her bunny brothers into bed and asleep?

I Heart Bedtime 2

There’s a lovely extra feature in this book, something I’ve never done before. Martha sings The Bedtime Bunnies Song to her brothers, so I wrote the song and I made a wind-up musical instrument to go with it, the kind that goes inside a music box. My daughter, also called Martha, sang it beautifully for me. You can download it on

Bedtime is a gorgeous theme for a picture book. Funny bubbly bathtime and cosy flannel pyjamas, toothbrushes and stories and hugs… and the lovely moment when those ears are drooping and eyes are closing and the lure of sleep is impossible to resist.

I Heart Bedtime 1

But most entertaining for me are the truly awesome powers that children have in the delaying tactics department. The excuses they come up with for not going to bed are so inventive, so elaborate – exasperating for their parents, hilarious for me!

I asked around to see what excuses other children have come up with…

They are hungry and thirsty, their TOYS are hungry and thirsty, they are TOO BUSY, they are tucked up all wrong – too hot, too cold – or there are
too many toys already tucked up, so the only sleeping space is on the floor.

A particular favourite: the child who waits until bedtime to ask a very intellectual question of their proud parents, who are then naturally hoodwinked into further conversation.
And how about this one: organising a ‘sing like Elvis’ contest when they should be going to bed, and persuading their dad to join in.
(I actually fell off my chair laughing. How can fiction possibly out-shine real life?)

So, have your little bunnies come up with any fine excuses to avoid bedtime? Please PLEASE share – I’d love to hear!


We have five copies of ‘I Heart Bedtime’ to giveaway. Simply leave a comment and from all comments received by midnight on 31st March we will pick out 5 lucky winners. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
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83 Responses to Martha and the Bunny Brothers – I Heart Bedtime

  1. kirsty picton says:

    my son normally says hes hungry or thirsty when its bedtime, or he sometimes says hes busy drawing or watching telly!

  2. kayleigh says:

    .. “in three more seconds” as he had to make a phonecall!

  3. Ratna says:

    @Oh yeah.. every night.. my 6year old son comes up with list of excuses the moment he was told to off to his bed.. they include like – try to please me with all the things he did in the school and how good boy he is while doing the work in first place ……….or he says that he need a new story that no one is heard about it in 5 minutes time……..or he wants to go to the playground down stairs and play for some more time as his teacher told him that playing / walking after dinner is very healthy…….or he says that he wants to watch TV for some more time and he will answer his teacher next day if he get late to the school saying that his mom (me) could not get up early to make him ready…………..

  4. Emma Miller says:

    my son normally asks 101 questions at bedtime……..what day is it tomorrow?……….what will we be doing………..what will we have for tea….!

  5. Katie Dawson says:

    My son is 3 years old and he hates the idea of bedtime but when it comes to it as long as he’s followed through with the routine he loves to snuggle up and falls asleep as quickly as possible! That is unless he forgot to brush his teeth then we have to get back up and do that, then he may need a quick drink of water so back up to have that, then one of us has to read his favourite story, at the moment its Harry and his bucket full of Dinosaurs and then after a lot of cuddles and a few more plus cuddles for daddy and his sister he goes to sleep and you can hear him after five minutes in a deep sleep snoring quietly! So a nice relaxed evening ahead of us… Well its his big sister who is 8 who tries to delay bedtime every night! Last night she was in bed quite early after their bath, brushed her hair and teeth, been toilet, said goodnight and tucked up reading her book only for 5 minutes later downstairs asking Where’s the Salt? Pardon we ask as I am snuggled on the sofa! She has an Olsa so needed the salt to rinse out her mouth then and there! Other occasions of delaying going to sleep have included suddenly remembering something for school the following day, numerous trips to the toilet and being in bed for sometime then realizing that the duvet is all in a muddle and I must go straight up and get her out of bed and make her bed for her, taking everything off, her pillows, cushions, teddies, duvet and blanket, straightening out the duvet and waiting for her to get in to bed only then to make it for her as she’s in bed! However all this delaying in bedtime means mornings are completely different and can I get her out of bed??!!!

  6. Sharron Barrett says:

    My son hangs on to my hands and cries because he won’t see Mummy in the dark. I reassure him by telling him he’ll dream about Mummy and he drifts off with a happy smile, then is overjoyed to see me in the morning.

  7. Maya says:

    gets up..smiles and plays with the expression – whats next?

  8. Nisha says:

    My daughter still wears nappies and we’re thinking of toiley training her soon. At night time, when she’s tucked up in bed to go sleep, that is when she decides she wants to do a poo in the toilet (the rest of the day she’s adamant she doesn’t want to!). She also wants water, milk, and her book to be read again.

  9. margarita medina says:

    DS will ask DH to stay with him in bed “just a minute”. More often than not DH falls asleep before DS!!! 🙂

  10. Kelly says:

    My twin daughters go to bed perfectly, but stay awake as they’re waiting for the tooth fairy to visit 🙂 and every morning they’ll tell me that she tapped on the window to say hello. At the moment it’s the easter bunny who is a baby bunny as his dad has a poorly leg so baby bunny has to deliver the easter eggs instead. 🙂

  11. Denise Mills says:

    My Daughter Martha (5) has every excuse going to avoid Bed, Toilet, Thirst, Hunger, Tummy Ache, Too Hot/Cold, needing a Hug, needing to tell me something etc
    This Book would be great, as she won’t believe it’s named after her LOL

  12. Jenna says:

    My five year old daughter, asks me if I am feeling tired and instead of taking her up to bed, would I like her to stay up to help me; tidy up the toys (!) help sort out the kitchen, or even…. would I like her to do the dusting – all to delay going to bed. If only she were old enough to do the wretched ironing!

  13. Wow this looks amazing! I always read to my little boy at night and would love to win a copy of this for him! He always falls asleep in my arms, he goes to bed with no problems! x

  14. Marianne Perkins says:

    Stalling tactics my daughter uses ‘I need a wee’ (she still wears a nappy to bed) ‘are there any bugs in my room? Spiders? Cats? Elephants’ (?!) ‘I need some supper, another story, what are ants made of? Why are ants?’ That one threw me I can tell you. Ha ha. It’s endless…

  15. Angela McDonald says:

    My daughter informed me last night that she couldn’t go to bed because the washing up hadn’t been done! She said that when she’d made sure i’d done it, then she could go to bed!

  16. Bethany Hood says:

    My beautiful three year old daughter told me that “she was too dirk (scared) to go to bed, because Grandma was going to the farm tomorrow and she thought the cow would eat her”

    bless, 2 minutes later she was in bed.

  17. Rachel Hine says:

    My daughter Lyra is only 17 months old but already has a few stalling tactics! I put her into her cot and give her Sleepy Ted and then she starts pointing at everything in the room shouting “wassat?” over and over again! I leave her to it and 5 minutes later I’ll hear her shouting “MAMA” so I go in and she’s taken her socks off and thrown them on the floor, along with her toys, pillow and duvet. So I pick them up while she bounces up and giggles in her cot, get her settled down again and go back out. 10 minutes later she repeats the whole process! After she’s done it a few times she usually goes to sleep!

  18. veena hirani says:

    My youngest always has 101 tricks up her sleeve of why not to go to bed – and that’s when her creative juices tend to flow!!! After having seen “Wizard of Oz” and a mish-mash of various other stories, she wanted to know when and how she could go and see the Wizard and get special powers – My response to her, mostly is ” I’ll Google it to find the answer” and I always wish her a good night and sweet dreams!!!! x x x

  19. this looks lovely 🙂
    mine do try to make excuses to get out of bed and its normally they want to come and get toys from downstairs and bring them up to bed, or sometimes things like they are too scared cos they are worried about dinosaurs!

  20. Julie Jackson says:

    My 3 year old says he can’t go to sleep. If he does his hair won’t grow 🙂

  21. Josie says:

    My 3 year old daughter was brilliant at making excuses and now at 4 and a half will tell us nothing about her day at school UNTIL its time for us to tuck her up. But my all time favourite was when she said to me

    “But mummy look..” To which she has her arms above her head and bent at the elbows ” I can’t sleep my arms are all bendy!!”

    Another favourite was “I can’t sleep mummy, my eyes are not working!”

    Even now I love her coming up with excuses and desperately thinking up random questions to prolong the bedtime routine and the inevitable. It’s the best time of day where she is at her most imaginative xx

  22. sheila says:

    nicest time of the day snuggling up beside little ones sharing a story, so important.

  23. Viki says:

    My youngest says she can’t go to sleep because she doesn’t like sleep,it’s boring!

  24. Sally Dawes says:

    My 2 and half year old asks me ‘ Is it night time ? ‘ when its time for bed and I tell her yes it is.

    We have to then look out the window to see the Moon or Half moon as she says ,then we have to watch the cars go by, the aeroplanes in the sky,the people walking their dogs, the buses going by, the rain if its falling.This goes on for a while….then she ask me to check the weather which I do every evening…., once we have done all this its finally bedtime….

  25. Deborah says:

    my daughter has a list of excuses such as one more story and I cant sleep without one more hug or can you sing me a song just one more song how about one more kiss can you make a story up. How can you resist any of these bless them

  26. c nicholson says:

    My eldest son, 5, getting up again and snuggling against me : “Mum…I can’t go to sleep as I have run out of dreams so I need to borrow some from you”…

  27. helen mcdade says:

    My favourite one of my daughters that she came out with once was ” cant go now im watchin this…its my very favourite programme!” I looked at the ‘programme’ she was ‘watchin’ ……………it was a DFS advert!!!!!

  28. S.Main says:

    My sons favourite excuse at bedtime is Im not tired !!

  29. gemma says:

    my son is always thirsty hungry…needs toilet not a wee but a loooong poo….hes hot,or cold….he has belly ache…and then if hes run out he’ll get up to ask if iv signed his homework diary (he is 8)

  30. sharon dickson says:

    My LO told me the other night at bedtime “There is a polar bear in my bed and it is now too cold for me to go to, so I will just have to stay here with you and Daddy, ok.”

  31. Jenny says:

    Would love to win this for my little ones

  32. shanna says:

    Oh yes the excuses are endless we get the norm to hot/cold thirst hungry then we get the tellys to loud (we watch the tv on about 5 vloume so can barely hear it ) yet they crash in a car with music norm level then we get i heard a noise, ive had a nightmare(havent even closed their eyes) i love you x20,i need to tell you this its really important, cracker the other day with i heard the wind then it started raining x

  33. Carla says:

    My 5 year old normally goes to bed without excuse, occassionally using thirst or hunger, despite not long having drank/eaten! She likes to have a story before bed Peter Rabbit is the current favourite so we usually sit on the sofa before heading upstairs. My 2 year old can be a bit more tricky and I have to have a bit of a plan. ‘Lets go up the apple & pears and find Scout and/or Bradley Bear who are usually in bed waiting! We count the stairs and find the toys who are waiting for a cuddle in bed :-)’

  34. Natalie Peters says:

    My son thinks that by adking me for cuddles every night he can delay bedtime. “Just one more cuddle mummy” “last one”. Its cute, but the tantrums when he doesn’t get his way are not!

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  36. Clare says:

    Two minutes and I need a cuddle.

  37. Lucie Long says:

    We don’t have any bedtime excuses at the moment-as soon as tea is over,22mo boy is desperate for tv,songs with Mummy,bathtime then stories and “snuggly milk” with Mummy-long may it continue!!

  38. Jenny says:

    My son goes to bed well but I often wake up with him snugged right into me. When I ask him why he woke up he says “I didn’t climb in your bed mummy, the fairies sprinkled me with pixie dust and flew me in” makes me smile every time. He also said once that he didn’t like his bed, I asked home why because its an amazing bed with a slide, the best bed in the world. He replied its not the best when it falls over. I asked why on earth would it fall over to be met with “when the tiger comes in the night and bites it leg off” of course I should have known that!!

  39. Kate says:

    Sorry, ladies, my baby boy usually passes out before the end of his bedtime story-such a good boy x

  40. emily woods says:

    My little ones delay tactic is always the days of the week – she’ll start with “is it a home day tomorrow mummy or a school day” so I tell her which “so what day is it mummy” so I tell her ” so what comes next mummy” so i tell her “so when is next home day mummy” so I tell her, then we count up home many days till “home” day, then she breaks my heart every night without fail “i dont like school days mummy, just home days” 😦 I get the distinct feeling that I’m being manipulated into staying in her room for extra cuddles! lol!

  41. Sabina says:

    My 3 year old son has used the following ” oh mummy if I go to bed I will miss you and little sister.

    Or ask lots of questions but what time is it? What time will you go

  42. Karen says:

    My eldest’s favourite stalling technique is ‘Mummy, I want to read to you!. He’s only just learning to read & as we trying to ensure he stays motivated we never no!!

  43. Tamla Wells says:

    My dd tells me “It’s boring in bed!” I read to her every night, which she loves! She doesn’t get up so much nowadays but we still get the odd night when we get “I’m hungry” “I need a drink” “Can I just tell you one more thing?” Often she will have me singing lullabies lol!

  44. Natalie usmar says:

    My daughter has a bunny comforter (nicknamed snuggle bunny) and she says “but snuggle bunny isn’t tired yet!”

  45. Kerry Hall says:

    My daughter (3 years) does the usual needing toilet, food, cold, hot, cuddle etc but there have been a couple of hilarious ones. A few weeks ago she came into the living room and announced that she could not go to bed as we needed to clean her ears as they had ear wax in! Another recent one was before bed when I told her it was five minutes until bed time, she informed me that she could not go to bed as there was no petrol in her knees!! Very inventive.

  46. Jay says:

    My little ones always decide that actually it’s not time for bed, it’s time to play, they get all silly and run off and hide and then I have to find them. ..

  47. lorraine says:

    my 6 year old daughters excuse for not going to sleep at bed time is that her eye’s are not tiered yet and they won’t close till they are. this is one of many their is also writing note’s at bed time for her teachers, me, nana, papa, her brother and anyone else she can think of, which i don’t mind too much as i love reading the notes she writes for me telling me how much she love’s me when i get into bed myself x

  48. Sally says:

    My 18 month old turns up the cute factor when its time to go to bed, especially when its daddy’s turn to take her. She lies in bed holding up her teddies, one by one, so you can kiss and cuddle them all good night. She has a LOT of teddies.

  49. babyboos says:

    we love bedtime always have we are rushing around after school and nursery so much hurry hurry hurry wash hair eat dinner brush teeth clothes away so much to do they love collapsing into bed for big cuddles and some peace and quiet from mum saying come on

  50. Rebecca says:

    My son always gets me to give ALL his cuddly toys a kiss. Bunny kiss? Owl kiss? Hedgehod kiss? etc and then bunny ‘nother kiss? It could go on all night!

  51. Rebecca says:


  52. Phillis says:

    All of mine were pretty good at going to bed but always wanted one more story. Youngest one always demanded that her teeth needed brushing again – even though they had already been brushed. “Night, night sleep tight and don’t let the bugs bite” had the opposite effect on my eldest who would immediately jump out of bed and demand where the bugs were and it took a lot of convincing that it was just an expression (never to be used again). Also learned that The Three Little Pigs is not a good bedtime story as my stepson coulod “see” the wolf in the corner of the room (I was new to parenting!). I like the bunny song – one to share with my grandchildren and when giving them a BIG bunny hug.

  53. lynne says:

    my 5 y/o son is quite good at bed time and is happy to go…just not to his own bed. he asks every night if he can sleep in my bed, but after a lot of resistence, he sleeps in his own room 🙂

  54. Kathy says:

    My 4 year old (who is called Martha!), has lots of excuses…though since she started school in September she is with 28 other children most of whom are 8-11 months older and has twigged that the tooth fairy has visited some of hem….her latest excuse is she needs to ‘wobble’ her teeth in case one falls out in the night and as it won’t be under her pillow, the tooth fairy won’t be able to find it! She has no wobbly teeth but having to ‘wobble’ each in turn adds at least a 5 minute delay to bedtime! (Ps, she would absolutely love this book as it has her name in it!) 🙂 x

  55. frankiesoup says:

    My girl is such a bookworm – some of her first words were “choose a book” (though it sounds like “chew gook” :P) Will have to get a copy of this – she’s really into bunnies right now too – thanks for sharing 🙂

  56. Katerina says:

    My little ones can’t go to sleep without a cuddle and a heart-warming story!!

  57. Polly Ribet says:

    We have to run through EVERYONE my 2 yr old knows and the fact that they have gone to bed; need a hairclip – not that one, the dotty one ; now lost the hairclip; nose is ‘running out’ and needs a wipe; Mummy needs to put the wipe in the bin; needs magic wand, needs Rabbit costume; Mummy hasn’t got clothes ready for tomorrow morning; done a ‘pop’; done a wee and nappy needs changing….it goes on…

  58. Sarah bell says:

    My son has come up with the excuse that he couldn’t possibly go to sleep because his little brother needs sleep and he didn’t want to “steal” it from him! Lol

  59. Lauren says:

    Little one says she needs the toilet

  60. Nusrat says:

    My children love to listen stories at bedtime…

  61. catherine halloran says:

    my little ones are really good at going to bed 🙂

  62. Claire says:

    My little boy Noah is adamant there is something scary in his bedroom when it’s dark so he will try and say he’s not going in his bed and wants to sleep in mummy and daddy’s bed. Think he’s just afraid of the dark or it’s a case of seeing how far he can go at bedtime. Little monkey lol!!

  63. Clare Hancock says:

    They’re not bad. Normal excuse is needing “one more cuddle”

  64. Vick Brennan says:

    My 23 month old daughter has three requirements for bedtime – Jimmy Monkey, her ‘nummy’ and a book – otherwise she can’t sleep ❤

  65. ellie budden says:

    My boy has to have 3 books before bed 1 isn’t enough 🙂 xx

  66. wendy atkins says:

    would love to win this book to read to my little monkeys, bedtime always a struggle

  67. Emma says:

    My 4yr old boy has started suddenly remembering that he has to feed his imagenery animals as soon as bed time comes 🙂 he then continues to name all his animals that will go hungry if he doesn’t look after them, what they like to eat,
    My 2yr old girl has to give at least one of her teddys a ‘bottle of milk’ before she’ll get her pjs in and have her last drink 🙂

  68. Alison Leach says:

    my little girl is only 10 weeks but when we put her down in her moses basket she gives us the biggest smiles – so hard to resist the temptation to pick her up and play with/cuddle her!

  69. Cath Black says:

    Our little ones are 2 & 3. Bedtime routine, bath, story and into bed is great.
    Going to sleep can take a while – the youngest always wants you to kiss Kitty, Little Kitty and More Kitty. Then 5 minutes later a shout for ‘Magic Pillow’ – we go back in and turn the pillow over so it’s cool on her face. Then sleep.
    The 3 year old ALWAYS just before you close the door – ‘afore you go. I have a question’ which is never a question just a cheeky giggle & Mummy I love you

  70. Rachel Annetts says:

    Lots of ‘nice’ things to say to us like; “I hope you have a nice dream about me”

  71. julia says:

    I usually get “mummy, I’m hungry”

  72. Emma says:

    my 4 year old loves having her back rubbed – luxury! LOL

  73. Hareena says:

    My two daughters (4&2) love me reading them stories throughout the day and especially at bedtime. They share a room and each choose a story for me to read to them. But recently we have been acting out the stories which they love. They love the interaction and fall asleep quite quickly which is surprising considering they are both excited as they direct me on how to narrate and on my acting skills! I am so glad they have a love of books. Something which I will always encourage in them.

  74. Emma Cater says:

    My eldest is the worst! There’s always something he needs/ wants/ has to tell us etc!!!

  75. Sharon Makansi says:

    My 2 1/2 year old little girl, has just been potty trained.

    So the other night, when she was told it’s time for bed, she announced, ” Noooo, No bed, poo still hiding”

    This was followed by, 10-15 minutes of her sat on the toilet, making me sing nursery rhymes.

    Hook, Line, and Stinker, comes to mind.

  76. Alison Hinds says:

    Last week my 8 year old daughter after being put back to bed numerous times came running into the living room and said “Mum help I forgot to tell you I need a doctors appointment my hearts not been beating for days” lol

  77. angela neate says:

    I want to play in my paddling pool!

  78. Debbie Burfoot says:

    Even my 10 yr old trys the bedtime excuses..i need another wee, thirsty, forgot to read my book, my tooth hurts, my sisters annoying me..and the list goes on

  79. Christina says:

    last night my wee one said that he could stay up as my 7 week old puppy had told him so

  80. Liz Lunn says:

    My 2 yr old daughter says she can’t go to bed yet as she has to ‘get the party started’ lol.

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  83. Celine Bags says:

    Even my 10 yr old trys the bedtime excuses..i need another wee, thirsty, forgot to read my book, my tooth hurts, my sisters annoying me..

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