A purple glow emanates from the diffuser in the corner of the room. The scent of lavender is everywhere. Low calming music plays on an iPad on the bedside table. The lights are dimmed and the room is cozy. If she didn’t know better she would swear that she was at the spa. But she wasn’t. She was in her daughter’s bedroom at 9:00 at night and she was desperately trying to get her to go to sleep.
Her eight year old daughter was wide awake and insisting that she could NOT go to sleep. Her legs were thrashing about under the covers and her little hands were balled into fists. A child who was typically rational and easy going had, for the past week, turned into an irrational, agitated, almost incoherent, nightmare. Ironic that nightmares happen when you are asleep. Which her daughter was NOT.
“I can’t go to sleep.”
“But you haven’t even tried.” She pleads.
“But I just don’t trust myself. What if I don’t get to sleep?”
“Sweetie you are eight years old. Every night for eight years you have gone to bed and gone to sleep. There’s no reason why tonight will be any different.”
“But I don’t trust myself.”
“Yes, you’ve said that.”
“Honey, you wont be able to get to sleep if you don’t try. Just lie still, close your eyes, take a few deep breathes and try to relax. If you still can’t get to sleep after, say, ten minutes then come and get me and I will tuck you in again okay?”
She starts to get up from the spot on the floor that she has occupied for the past half an hour. If she can just get out of the room maybe her daughter would……
“But…..I don’t trust myself to get to sleep.”
Damn. So close.
It’s all she can do to not scream. She is trying really hard to be patient.
“Count to ten.” She tells herself. “Or maybe one hundred.”
She had spent the last few days researching sleep disruption in children and one of the most important things, they said, was not to get angry and make the child think that what they were doing was bad behavior. In theory this made total sense, but her sweet little sunshine was still repeating the same maddening phrase over and over again and it was hard not to let that annoyance creep into your voice. Hell it was hard not to scream at her.
Just shut up and go to sleep
“Maybe she’s not tired?” She thought.
“No, she’s had a busy day and it’s an hour past her regular bed time. She should be tired. She’s done this every night this week.”
“You know what sweetie? I’m tired.” She stretched and yawned in the hopes that her daughter would follow her example. The truth was that the lavender oil, soft music and low lights were making her sleepy. Was her daughter immune to this stuff?
“Hey, I’ve got a great idea. We will both get into our beds and see who can get to sleep first.” Good lord why has she not thought of this before? It was genius.
“But mommy what if you get to sleep before me? Then I’ll be awake all by myself?” She had started to cry again. Damn.
Fearing that she might just loose her cool she gets up, kisses the little girl on the head and says.
“Good night sweetie. I love you.” Then leaves the room and walks down the hall to her own room.
“Mommy? Mommy. Mommy! MOMMY,” then silence. Could that be it. She held her breathe and waited. She lay down on her bed and closed her eyes. Just as sleep start to creep into her she feels her. Close. Beside the bed.
“Mommy, I can’t sleep.”
From this point things will go one of two ways….