I didn’t realize, before I became a Mother, that I had the power to send you to sleep. That my words, proximity, sounds and rhythm held soporific powers.
As an infant, I would lull you to sleepyland with shushes, rocking, swaying.
As a toddler, I’d soothe you as you’d fight sleep tooth and nail, armed with fairy tales, lullabies and cuddles.
As a pre-schooler, I’d remove all specter of monsters and then rub your back in circles, over and over, until sleep snuck in.
As a kindergartner, we’d read, snuggle, have whispered conversations till you’d simply dismiss me, ready to welcome the excitement of your dreams.
As a second grader, you pretty much take care of business yourself, after a quick peck on the cheek, reading independently, falling asleep with your books askew on your pillow.
I have to admit that I miss the days of shushing, swaying, lullabies and stroking of backs and foreheads. Knowing that my touch, my presence was the drug you needed to transcend you from consciousness to a land of hopefully sweet dreams. It’s been an unexpected and heady privilege.
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Posted by samanthamcgarry on February 12, 2013
I love sleep. Almost as much as I love eating. I’ve never had much stamina or stay-up-late superpowers. When my brain says it’s time, I don’t simply drift off slowly to sleep, I crash into it. I plunge off the cliff of consciousness deep into the land of nod and usually stay there for at least seven hours of zzzzz. And now that my kids are older, their night time interruptions are few and far between, fortunately.
But the irony is now I am my own night time disruption and it is so, so annoying.
It started a few months back and happens roughly every five nights. I crash into sleep as per normal but awake about two hours later – and cannot fall back asleep. I usually lie there staring at the ceiling for about three hours until, somehow, sleep welcomes me back for what little remains of the night. It sucks big time.
Often what prompts my waking is my active digestive system or a cramp in my foot or calf (or the twitchy threat of it.) My heart starts to race as I stress about whether I’m getting sick. My mind plays cat and mouse with the cramp that’s threatening. It says “Don’t move a muscle.” But muscles ignore it and twitch.
Then my brain kicks in. And the opportunity to roll over back into slumber evaporates. Sometimes even there’s a tune running on repeat in my head and I can’t find the off button. Of course, like an idiot, I then turn to my iPhone, to Facebook and Twitter for distraction.
I’ve read many advice columns about insomnia and how to deal with it. I only drink one cup of caffeine a day, first thing. I try to eat dinner before 8pm. I know more exercise would probably help but I’m a yo-yo exerciser. I should probably snack on a banana and milk before bed time to boost potassium and calcium intake and ward off the cramps.
I don’t want to take any medications. On the rare occasion I’ve tried a Tylenol PM or similar, it has the opposite effect on me and makes my heart race. I’ll probably find a herbal remedy of sorts.
But seriously, this sucks. All I want to do is sleep and sleep well. I welcome any advice.
Posted by samanthamcgarry on October 12, 2012
I’m in a deep soupy sleep but something is tugging me into consciousness. I hear my name being called: not yelled, not moaned but with a tone that signals urgency and concern. I leap out of bed before my eyes are even open, senses alert, even though the grey matter is still revving up.
I enter your room and your eyes immediately find me, wide open but droopy, petrified but relieved, covers askew.
“Mama!” you breathe.
I sit down and you throw your arms around my neck, your skin sweaty and damp and smelling like a boy. You cling on to me and I let you, hoping this intense contact will chase away whatever monsters, scary thoughts or fears had the audacity of invading your dreams. I feel your pulse slowing down, your fear unwinding, your muscles and mind letting go of the adrenalin, the panic, the confusion. I am sorely tempted to climb under the covers with you and hold you tight against me forever.
Instead, I carefully help you lie back down, flip your pillow over so its cool side calms your flushed cheeks. I rub your back in hypnotic circles. Your eyelids flutter, your breath deepens and once again, you are in dreamland, hopefully this time a place filled with fun and smiles and adventures.
Having performed Mama Magic, I tip toe out of the room, eager to get back to my own bed and my own dreamland.
Just as I get to the door ….. “Mama!”
And so it goes.
Posted by samanthamcgarry on July 13, 2012