Step 1: Complete the preparations for bed time: pyjama selection, lotion(s) slathering, nappy change, and pyjama application. Do not let his fussiness and repeated rubbing of the face and eyes lull you into a false sense of optimism.

Step 2: Block off somewhere between 14 and 83 minutes on your schedule.

Step 3: Prepare his bottle, gather him up, and head to a dark room free of noise and distractions.

Step 4: Laugh out loud at step three when you remember there is also a three-year-old in the house and your house is built in such a way that you can hear every sound emanating from every room in the house through the walls and/or air ducts.

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Step 5: Console yourself with the fact that the level of noise or distraction is completely irrelevant anyway.

Step 6: Settle into a rocking chair or other piece of furniture and begin the feeding process.

Step 7: Be sure to maintain a steady rocking motion, either as provided by the rocking chair or by subtle side-to-side body movements if using a non-mobile piece of furniture.

Step 8: Ignore step seven. None of that matters.

Step 9: Keep a close eye on his left arm; it functions independently of the rest of his body. Be vigilant for unexpected slaps to the face, fingers up your nose, and digital examination of your eyelids and ear drum.

Step 10: When he has finished drinking the bottle, adjust your arms into the transfer-to-bed position: Left arm cupped under the neck, head to inside of elbow, and right arm under the knees with right hand positioned for maximal rear end support. Wait a minute or two to make sure he is fully asleep. Just kidding… it doesn’t matter if he’s fully asleep or not. Keep reading.

Step 11: Extricate yourself from your chosen piece of furniture and move towards the crib, making sure to keep his head in close contact with your chest at all times.

Step 12: Bending from the waist, gently bring your torso and the baby to the bed surface in a slow and gentle motion. Make sure his head stays in contact with your chest until his head touches the sheet! Execute a slow and soft roll over. Rest your hand on his back for a moment, then back slowly away.

Step 13: And that’s all there is to… never mind, he’s up. Let’s try this again.

Step 14: Gather him up and pace back and forth across the room for between seven and 37 minutes. On the plus side, if you have a FitBit, this is when you start to dominate your FitBit Challenge competition. If you don’t, sorry.

Step 15: Repeat step 12. Except instead of doing it slowly and carefully, just flop him down because it doesn’t matter anyway; the putting into the bed bit never takes until at least the third try. So, just get it over with: flopping around, arms flailing, whatever.

Step 16: Repeat step 14. Keep racking up those steps!

Step 17: Repeat step 12, this time for real. I really feel like it’s going to work this time. Do not get sloppy! Do not mess this up!

Step 18: Remove yourself ninja-style from the bedroom and retreat to the kitchen. Find something that contains chocolate. Eat it.

Step 19: Enjoy your two hours of rest.

See, less than 20 steps: Quit your complaining.

You can follow Andrew’s blog, Explorations of Ambiguity, on Facebook and Twitter (@aknott21).