This is an oldie but a sweety…and since my daughter is becoming “too cool” for me lately I had to indulge myself with this post…enjoy, but it’s all about me right now. 🙂
There has been a new bedtime routine going on at our place these past few nights.
My 9 year old has taken to crawling into bed with her parents.
We have to get to the root cause of this.
She pads in around midnight, like Mrs. Noah on Ambien, with an ark full of stuffed animals under her arms.
I instinctively feel her forehead.
Cool as a cucumber.
“Bud-o, what’s the matter”?
“I can’t sleep, I need to be with you”.
My husband wakes and groggily asks her if she’s sick.
“No Daddy, I’m just tired”.
“Go to bed, then”.
She burrows her way between us, with her stuffed menagerie, twining her legs around mine.
Just like that she is off to sleep.
I feel her heart beating, pressed to my side.
I hear her slow steady rhythm of sleep.
Like a baby.
I lie awake like a new Mommy.
No one needs feeding.
Morning light comes and she retreats to her bedroom.
When I tip toe through the tulips of her nocturnal journeys, she informs me that she has stuff in her brain that won’t let her sleep.
“Stuff that hurts, like headaches”?, I ask.
“No, just stuff that stops my sleeping part of my brain from working”, she tells me.
“Stuff at school”?, I pry.
“No, just stuff”, she sighs.
If you have ever held a conversation with a pre-teen you know that “stuff” is a very broad term. It is up to you to find the needle in the haystack.
I sometimes feel I am on the giving end of the Nickelodeon version of “$25,000 Pyramid”.
“Broken promises, farting in the classroom, missing homework, getting a 70 on your math test.”
“Pass” Noo, Mom”.
“Well when you want to talk about it…..”
Nightime comes and Mrs. Noah is back.
My husband retreats to my daughter’s empty bedroom.
Awash in all things pink and Littlest Pet Shop.
I am left to listen to the night breathing of a little girl with something on her mind.
Unable to sleep with no one to feed, except my imagination.
Is she being picked on?
Does she feel left out?
Is she crushing?
Finally, the answer comes in a little sleepy voice.
“Mom…It’s just that..I…don’t…I.don’t get nine”.
I offer this philosophical pearl of wisdom.
“Honey, there’s no right or wrong way to be nine. Just be yourself”.
“Huh? What the”….
“Isn’t that what you’re talking about? Being nine, you’re nine, right?”.
“Nooo…I’m talking about my nine times tables… I don’t know them…fast”
“Ohhh, why didn’t you say so. We can work on that”.
I stifle a chuckle of relief.
Partly because it is not funny, not to her, anyway.
And partly because I can remember being bedeviled by nine times tables.
“We’ll get those nines, bud, together”.
“Just not now, Mom. I’m so sleepy”.
“Me too, Bud-o. Goodnight, Baby”.
“Goodnight, Mommy. I love you”.
And just like that she is in a deep sleep.
Counting her sheep as they cross the line being careful not to put them in groups of nine.
Peace – Rene