Nocturnal Navigations

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. 
Gently.

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”.
Fatherly wisdom.
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.
Just snuggling.

Morning light comes and she retreats to her bedroom.

Need fulfilled.
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

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25 thoughts on “Nocturnal Navigations

  1. Brilliant, especially the armful of animals. I used to sleep with teapots or pans, no idea why.It reminds me of my own childhood, we have photos of myself, my brother and sister all in our parents' bed, my mum teetering on the edge.

  2. We have had, on occasion, all three children AND the stuffed menagerie in our bed at the same time.Feet everywhere. Kicking in places where I really REALLY don't like to be kicked in the middle of the night (or any other time, for that matter).But there's nothing that makes a parent feel more needed than when we get to chase away those midnight fears with a gentle hug and kiss under the covers.

  3. When our son would need a night with us he'd get in between, fall immediately asleep and then turn sideways. His feet would be in my ribs and his head, under the covers, lodged into my wife's arm-pit. Eventually we parents would be clinging onto our respective bed-edges, wide awake, while he snoozed happily. We loved it and miss it now.

  4. May be an oldie, but a very goodie, Rene! I loved every bit of it, from fatherly wisdom, to "No, just stuff that stops my sleeping part of my brain from working," to motherly wisdom. And I so miss cuddling with my children, who as adults would think I'm mentally ill (or just being me) if I were to ask. This post is a treasure!Thanks for sharing.

  5. The Evil Genius sleeps with die-cast cars. When he rolls over, they thud, thunk, and crash to the floor. When he mountaineers his way up my bed, he usually just brings himself. He's all elbows and knees in his sleep, and he flails…but when he eventually settles, relaxes, goes limp against me…that's the good stuff, and I cherish it, because six doesn't last very long…neither does seven, or nine…and soon enough, he won't have any use for me except to grade his schoolwork and drive him about. Sigh.Shade and Sweetwater,K (who had trouble with her nines, too)

  6. Precious are these moments! All too well I remember similar nights and the sigh of relief when the bomb drops…lol! I was thinking maybe it might have been…oh, you know..the female gift! Prepare yourself for that! Haha, hubby in the Little Pet Shop…mine slept with Ariel 😉

  7. Our son would come to our bed every night it seemed. My legs hurt, he would say. I'd gather him in, massage his legs, we would both sleep for awhile and then I would send him back to his bed. Eventually he stopped doing it. I think back now that his legs aching was just an excuse that he thought I would accept. I think the real reason was he didn't like to be alone. this persisted until he was in his early 20s. When my husband and I were going to be away for the weekend we would get his older sister to come stay at the house with him.

  8. I love how you went straight to the "being nine" part, and it was only the nine times tables! My 10 year old sometimes brings his math papers to bed to READ them… he likes to find patterns… he may be a rocket scientist like my dad. I love that about him. He tells me his discoveries… like how the 2nd number in the 9's times tables goes down by 1 each time. Enjoy the snuggles for now!

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