Liliane, at 4 going on 5 years old, has trouble falling asleep. I remember the very day when bedtime changed. It was November of 2009, she was a little over 2 years old. We had been blessed with a long stretch of good sleep so it kind of caught us by surprise. We did our usual bedtime routine (which used to involve singing - awwww) and closed the door as per usual.
The screams were heard 'round the world.
Once we figured out that all she wanted was to leave the door open, she was fine. Until the next thing came along.
Anyway, long story short, our Energizer Bunny really has trouble turning her brain off.
At the moment she prefers to sleep on the pull-out bed in the living room. This is fine, except that it means that all kitchen activities are seriously restricted once she is in bed. That kid has bionic ears so finely tuned to all adult movement that she would spend most of the evening standing up in bed, watching us clean up. Or catching us trying to snack but mostly calling to us for random, ridiculous reasons. Completely annoying.
So we have a new ritual in our house. It's called "doing the deux minutes."
It started when Stéphane agreed to lie down with her one night once stories and prayers were done. At first it was just him and it really was for two minutes. It seemed to help quiet her down. It made for a peaceful evening. I tried not to get involved but I have been sucked into doing the two minutes, which has evolved into anywhere from 15-45 minutes, depending on how long she holds out on sleep.
I have to be honest readers, I really, really resisted. I resented being one of those pansy parents who clearly failed to teach their kid how to sleep properly. Will she ever fall asleep on her own? Where did we go wrong here? I would lay down with her, mind racing with everything I'd rather be doing.
Then I got over it. I pushed away my restlessness and focused on soaking up these rare quiet moments with my fidgety firstborn. I opened my ears because bedtime is primetime for serious thoughts and confessions. (I grabbed the livre from Alice tantôt Maman). I eventually realized that I have been given an opportunity to repair any damage I've done by being impatient (sigh) or dismissive or rushed. Not to mention the privilege of snuggling my already big girl.
In a way, it's an extension of what we used to do when she was a baby.
We talk a little, I scratch her back, she asks questions (everything from are there sharks in the forest? to where is Jesus and why does he listen to us?) I understand this time is precious and soon enough she won't need me for anything as simple as helping her fall asleep.
She is a tall, slender, blonde and more determined version of this baby now, but this is still what I see:
She'll figure it out. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying it.