As a young girl, even into my adolescence, I had a hard time getting to sleep at night. I would toss and turn, talk to myself, occasionally draw on my wall with crayons (that always went over well!) and in general did everything I could think of to entertain myself until I could fall asleep. Sometimes it took an hour. Sometimes three. When I was in high school my mom bought me a small black and white television for my room and even though it only had three stations, apparently it had magical powers because suddenly I was able to fall asleep. To this day, my mom still credits that TV for helping me sleep and saving our relationship!
So it only seems fitting that my daughter has inherited my childhood insomnia. Somewhere I can hear my mom laughing… loudly. I have done my best to establish a nighttime routine for Maddy, but often she is still awake long after the lights have gone out. Our nighttime ritual consists of a bath, a few minutes of Disney Junior, a snack, teeth brushing and finally, story time with Daddy. She may not be tired when these activities are over, but my husband and I are exhausted!
Last night was no exception. We completed our bedtime routine per usual and all seemed to be going well, until around 11:45 p.m.. I heard her soft, sweet voice calling to me asking me to rub her back. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. How in the world was she still awake? I’ll admit that my first instinct was anger and frustration. But while that is a natural response, it is neither effective nor productive for me or for helping my daughter sleep. I took a deep breath and then went to her to rub her back.
Within 15 minutes she was finally asleep. Unfortunately, unlike my mom, I have not found a magic pill to help Maddy sleep. There may not be one. The best that I can do is learn how I can help her and lessen the frustration of not being able to sleep. That starts with patience and understanding, two things often in short supply after 10 p.m.!
If all else fails, knowing my mom, that black and white TV is probably still in her attic.