Ever since my little Calder was an infant it has been a real struggle to get him to bed at night. The twins have always shared a room, but when we first put them in separate beds Calder began his nightly ritual of screaming himself hoarse. Luckily, at the time our closest neighbors were about a half a mile away so no one reported us.
Despite the lack of sleep, I do have fond memories of cuddling with my little boy as he stared at me, refusing to close his eyes. I remember one night when he was about 18 months old that I sat in the rocker with him sprawled across my lap, gazing wide-eyed into my face, my arms falling asleep, and thought he’s so big, I’m not going to be able to do this for much longer.
Eventually his terrified howls turned into hysterical laughter. After an hour-long bedtime routine, the lights are turned off and we slowly exit the room. Seconds later, the laughter starts. I peek in his room and whisper “Quiet, Calder,” and the giggles instantly halt. Before I’ve taken 2 steps out of the door frame, it starts right back up.
After a few minutes the room is quiet. But then we hear a soft creak in the door and look to see two little eyes peeping through the crack. As I start towards his room, he turns to run and I hear a fast pitter-patter as he jumps back into bed. When I enter the room, I approach the bed and kneel beside it. I whisper, “Calder, everyone is sleeping. Can you go to sleep too?” “Yes,” he says. “You promise?” “Promise,” he replies. “Okay…I love you. Goodnight”.
You can guess how this goes on for the next hour or so. Promises mean nothing to a three-year-old. Sometimes it results in a firm pat on the bottom and a few tears shed. Many nights the same thing happens in the middle of the night. Aaron and I take turns going to his room and trying to coax him into falling asleep. Once he (and we) have exhausted all our tricks, there’s nothing left to do but just wait it out.
Several days ago, this happened. At about 3 AM, I laid in bed looking up at the ceiling with my eyes wide opened, thinking about what I needed to do the next day and if any of it required a well-rested body and mind.
Suddenly I remembered that the previous evening, as we tried “the usual” to get Calder to bed, Jade burst into a song that went something like “Go to sleep, go to sleep, you need to get your re-e-est…”, to the tune of — what else? — Let it Go. Aaron and I laughed and tried to continue with the song.
And that night, at 3 AM, I did continue the song. And this is what transpired:
The light still shines through my window tonight.
Jammies on and teeth are brushed,
lullabies of twinkling stars, ABC’s and babies hushed.
The sun is setting but I’m still awake inside.
Couldn’t close my eyes even if I tried.
I need a drink, my diaper’s wet,
there’s a monster underneath my bed.
One more light on so I can see, Mom, please.
Stay awake, stay awake, don’t wanna sleep anymore.
Stay awake, stay awake, don’t know what this beds for.
Parents still watching TV.
Maybe Oso’s on…
I don’t think sleeping is for me.
Funny how the darkness makes everything more fun,
but despite my curiosity I can’t play with anyone.
Brother, wake up and play with me.
It’s more fun than your bed, you’ll see.
We’ll play dress up with our dirty laundry.
Stay awake, stay awake, I’m having so much fun.
Stay awake, stay awake, can’t be the only one.
Mom thinks its necessary,
but I’m not tired.
My bed is soaring through the air to outer space.
I’m strapped into my bright blue car and I’m ready to race.
My yellow submarine’s submerged beneath the sea.
Fire truck’s on it’s way with help to those in need.
Stay awake, stay awake, I’ll miss something if I blink.
Stay awake, stay awake, I’ll never sleep a wink.
There’s so much to do and see!
When will the sun rise?
I don’t think sleeping is for me…
I would like to take credit, but if it weren’t for my clever daughter and my insomniac son, none of this would have taken place. Oh, how I love them!
In the days that followed, I got it in my head that this was going to be something big. So I pondered and worked and sang and edited and three short days later…