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Getting the Baby to Sleep

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"The cats nestle close to their kittens,
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear.
Please go the fuck to sleep."

Babies, they cry a lot. They don't seem to want to sleep much either. In fiction, whenever there is a crying baby there is a parent (or babysitter) at their wit's-end who is prepared to do anything to get the infant to quieten down. And we do mean anything. Often this is something really inappropriate, or at least hilariously out of character. A funny dance, a song you really shouldn't sing to children, strapping the crib to the wing of a 747 jet!! These care-givers are going to try it. They've tried everything else. Often this ridiculous measure is the only thing that will quieten the infant down.

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Just how bizarre will, of course, depend on the baseline-reality of the work itself. A wacky and bizarre work filled with egregious violations of common-sense and the laws of physics will naturally have a more outrageous stunt than a work that is mostly realistic. The basic principle will remain, something that goes beyond what the character(s) would normally do, or would be considered sane by the rest of the cast. Please note this isn't just a baby fussing and not sleeping with the parent worrying, there must be the silliness element too.

A Comedy Trope and as such always Played for Laughs, if it is played for anything else it is not this trope.

No Real Life Examples, Please!, otherwise it'll turn into tropers tales.


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Examples

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     Advertising  

  • An advert for Volkswagen's Start Stop features a father trying to get his baby to go to sleep by driving around and being repeatedly thwarted by the Start Stop feature switching off the engine every time he gets to the traffic lights.

     Comic Books  

  • Baby Blues is a comic about parenting, so of course this has been the subject of multiple strips. Oldest child Zoe, in particular, has performed stalling tactics such as tying her shoelaces into massive knots, making Darryl search the whole house for all her stuffed animals, and even latching onto Darryl's face while kissing him in attempts to not go to bed.
  • One story arc of Curtis had Diane agree to look after a friend's baby and be driven to her wit's end when the baby just wouldn't stop crying no matter what she tried. However, it turns out that the baby is as quiet as a perfect angel when not in Diane's arms — Greg, who's able to take care of her without a single peep from her, has a good laugh over how the baby apparently just really doesn't like Diane for whatever reason.

     Fan Fic  

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     Film  

  • The three-part 50s era song used as a lullaby in Three Men and a Baby.
  • In the Vin Diesel movie The Pacifier, Diesel's character (a reluctant babysitter) has to learn the "Peter Panda Dance" (and the song that goes along with it), which is the only way to get one of the kids to go to sleep.
  • Storks: Diamond Destiny apparently dislikes sleeping, and Junior tries "manually" closing her eyes several times. It gets to the point that a fight scene is willingly made as quiet as possible (by both sides) to avoid waking her up.

     Literature  

     Live Action TV  

  • Friends, Rachel decides to wake baby Emma up on her first day home from the hospital, resulting in a crying fit so loud and long that Phoebe can't hear the voices in her head anymore. The only thing that can calm Emma down is Monica, and only Monica, holding her while doing a bouncing dance and chanting a silly song.
  • Doc Martin :
    • Season 5 Ep 3, Louisa is so desperate to get her baby to sleep she does all sorts of bizarre dances, and even gets arch-stick-in-the-mud Martin to do one too.
    • The next episode reveals Martin is willing to place the baby in a car and drive right out to the middle of the moor as a way to lull the baby to sleep.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Miles finds to only way to get new baby Kirayoshi to sleep is to place him in the computer-pit of the Station's bridge. Or leave him with Worf. It is debatable which is the most silly.
  • Played with in Up All Night the parents can't get their daughter to sleep at all because of a loud party. Their solution is to call the police to get the party shut down, then quickly infiltrate the party so it looks like they weren't the ones who called the police. The irony is that baby Amy falls asleep immediately in the arms of the coworker they call in to babysit. Guess all they needed was to have Calvin hold her...
  • Murphy Brown — Murphy's son only stops fussing when listening to Barry Manlilow.
  • Dinosaurs — Earl does the Mating Dance to get Baby to sleep.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla can only get her son to sleep by continually walking around Atlantis. Keller says that when she was a baby, she would only sleep in the car, so her parents had this habit of driving around the block at 3 AM.
    Teyla: Hmm... that would be lovely. At least I'd be sitting down.

     Music  

  • The Tim Minchin's song, "Lullaby" is a song sung by parent who is getting more and more desperate as their crying child won't go to sleep.
    I don't know what else I can do to try to hush you
    My heart says "I love you", but my brain's thinking "fuck you"
    And hoping a child trafficker will abduct you
    At least then I'll get a few hours in bed

     Video Game  

     Western Animation  

  • The Simpsons
    • Ahe and his wife have Octuplets in "Eight Misbehavin'", Apu has to strap on a body harness, which simulates teats on a sow, as the only way to feed them and keep the babies all quiet.
    • The episode "Fland Canyon" has Homer trying to put Maggie to sleep, eventually resorting to telling her a story from the past. In one scene, Homer managed to subdue Maggie, only for Marge to loudly ask "Did you put the baby to sleep yet?".
  • In the Classic Disney Short Fathers Are People, the baby cries in the middle of the night, and Goof— er, George gets up for "the bottle". It turns out to be a glass of martini which George promptly drinks, and the baby somehow shuts up at that moment.
  • In two of the Roger Rabbit Shorts, Roger trying to get Baby Herman to stop crying sets the plot in motion. In "Tummy Trouble", it's giving him a rattle, which Herman swallows, leading to the two going to the hospital. In "Roller Coaster Rabbit", Roger goes to get a balloon for Herman after the one he had flew away, and Herman wanders off in the meantime.
  • One Popeye cartoon had Popeye and Bluto trying to get a crying Swee'pea to laugh. Naturally, it leads to an Escalating War, and Popeye reaches for his spinach... only he opens a can of onions instead, causing him and Bluto to cry. Swee'pea sees them crying and laughs.
  • In the Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "Thomas the Babysitter", Thomas has to deal with a baby on his train, who cries every time the train comes to a stop, but calms down and goes to sleep every time the train moves. This initially gives Thomas the idea not to stop at all, but Annie and Clarabel are horrified at this, reminding him that he has to stop at every signal and crossing gate so all of his passengers will be safe. Towards the end of the episode, Thomas talks to Sir Topham Hatt about a request to miss his break to make a journey without stopping, which Sir Topham Hatt finds a wonderful idea. This journey gives both the baby and his mother some much-needed sleep. At the end of the episode, Albert, one of the workmen, congratulates Thomas on looking after his wife and son for him, and decides to name his son "Thomas" in honor of that day.
  • The Loud House: In "It's a Loud, Loud, Loud, Loud House", the kids tear the house apart trying to search for a hidden stash of money. In one scene, they try looking in Lily's room, and they make their chaos silent to avoid waking her from her nap.


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