The lyrics above are from a song called SleepyTown, sung by a children’s band known as Milkshake. Many nights I played this song as I tried to soothe my children to sleep. Over the years, I have tried many rituals to get my children to sleep. I’ve played every variety of classical music, including the entire Baby Einstein collection to them. I’ve tried warm baths to calm before bed, as well as soft light and white noise, but all to no avail. Though there’s plenty of proof that they do in fact sleep, as seen above, actually getting them to sleep is almost always a struggle each night, especially if I am home to witness it. (It seems the boys take my husband’s warnings to stay in bed and sleep much more seriously than my own.) I have read millions of stories to the children night after night. I have tried to tell them on the spot stories in the dark. We’ve tried various night lights, complete dark, staying up later to induce tiredness, going to bed earlier to try to avoid being overtired. I’ve tried threats to keep them in bed as well as promises of rewards in the morning. I’ve tried to “SUPERNANNY” them. I’ve tried co-sleeping and I’ve tried solitary confinement of sorts. And just as I think I’ve lulled them gently into somber….I hear one of them (these days usually Benjamin, but it used to be Jake as well) tip toeing out of their room and finding their way to wherever I am. And then the real show begins:
“I am hungry.” (But you just ate a bedtime snack.)
“I am thisty.” (Get a drink and back to bed, sir.)
“I have to go potty.” (That’s because you just drank all that water, silly.)
“I have to poop, Mama.” (No you don’t. Please don’t give yourself hemorrhoids.)
“I heard a noise.” (Yes, that would be the noise you made, getting out of bed…)
“My bed is not as comfy as butter.” (? Your guess is as good as mine…?)
“I need cuddles.” (UGH! I can’t resist this one!)
“I need MORE cuddles.” (Fine… I’ll just fall asleep next to you for a while..)
Last night, I heard an excuse that was completely unique to any of the many things I’ve heard before:
“Mama, you have more pictures of Jacob sleeping than of me sleeping. I want you to take picture’s of me sleeping.”
Huh. That might just be the first time I saw a glimpse of Benjamin having a sense of sibling rivalry, but I think that will be another blog altogether. I reminded Benjamin that he actually has to sleep for me to take pictures of him sleeping. This concept convinced him to stay in his own bed quietly, while I waited to sneak in and take pictures. Approximately 20 minutes after his request, well after two hours past his bedtime, these are the pictures I got of him “sleeping”.
I suppose that I should consider it a compliment that my children are so reluctant to end their days, and relish in the idea that they they want to linger on each happy moment the day had to offer. The days that are the worst are usually the ones that I am inclined to wish would never end as well. And truth be told, the nights they don’t creep into my bedroom, I find myself stealing my husband’s pillow and all the blankets to cuddle.
Despite my chronic sleep deprivation, I am still aware enough to know that some day I will miss these moments, when my boys are grown and negotiating slumber with children of their own. And though most nights I do feel very frustraited during the hours I’m trying to get them to sleep, I will miss the sweetest memories of our travels while we were heading to SleepyTown…