Two nights ago my six year old had a tough time getting to sleep. I returned to her room about three times to assure her that her closet was closed, her night light was on, and that Dad and I were in the house so there was nothing to fear. Nothing could hurt her. It can be tiring on a parent to handle this because after all we’re “all-knowing” and so sensible, that we just KNOW there’s nothing to fear. Not to mention I’m walking up the stairs each time which is more tiring now since I am pregnant. All of that aside, I was patient with her. She is a young girl and I can remember how it felt to be her twenty years ago.
When I was six, and even younger actually, I was afraid of unknown things at night. I thought someone might climb through my window. I don’t know how I came up with that so young. I hadn’t seen anyone do it before. I also feared Chucky. I saw his evil doll face on TV when someone was watching the movie and never recovered from it. My parents wouldn’t sleep in my bed and I couldn’t always climb into theirs so I would sneak into my older brother’s. I don’t know if this was allowed right away or if I had to sneak in there enough times until my mom caved. I guess I’ll ask her about that. Eventually though I remember that I’d just get tucked in and kissed good night in there and skip the charade of me sleeping in my bed. We’d talk and play games in bed before going to sleep. Somehow having my brother who was only two years older than me as protection sure made me feel safe. Plus I remember thinking that if someone came in the window they would get to him first. Oh my poor unsuspecting brother. =]
Needless to say, I sympathize with my daughter’s nighttime fears. I hope other parents do too because after all, they’re innocent helpless little people dependent on us. It’s our job to make them feel safe in this dangerous world. It is with this in mind that I got out of bed four more times around 2:00am when she would come tap me and say she was scared. I’d spend a minute or two in there tucking her in and calming her before going back to bed. She’d try about ten minutes alone before waking me again. Finally I decided to sit on her bed for fifteen minutes until she knocked out. I wasn’t getting sleep in my bed anyway. She looked so sweet and relaxed. It was sweet to my soul to see that my presence had soothed her. I snuck out and she stayed asleep.
So I finally get to go back to my bed! I apologized to my husband who wakes up every time I leave the bed to check if I’m ok (sweet man). But here’s the kicker, I couldn’t go to sleep for hours! Three hours to be exact because his watch beeps at each hour and I counted the damn beeps. There is nothing more frustrating when you can’t sleep than to know just how long you’ve been flipping around and fighting to lose consciousness. I was close several times however Grayson, my unborn, likes to party in the womb at night. He kept kicking and flailing his arms at the same time. So strong in fact that my belly bounced on the mattress. Was he scared too? Dude, you live inside my body. How much safer does it get?
The next morning my daughter wakes up happy as can be. Like always she smiles and starts the day with little troubles. It’s lucky that she was happy because mom was a grumpy and exhausted beast that morning. I wanted nothing to do with daylight. I drove her to school then right back home to bed where I slept through my class and later went to work. Lucky it was a day that I start work at noon.
So now we’re through the day, and my girl is staying at grandma’s house. I am prepped and ready for a good solid night sleep. Well, what a nice thought that was. Instead I had a vivid nightmare of my own. It was so realistic and about something I subconsciously always fear. Because of how real it felt I couldn’t shake the feelings when I realized I was awake. I had to tell my husband who realized I’d startled myself awake, how I had a terrible dream and needed to cuddle. It took me another hour to fall asleep again at which time I had a different bad dream. I love sleep! Why is sleep torturing me? It should be a time of peace. Why would the mind play mean tricks?
I am fortunate that without questions my husband comforted me. Much like a parent comforts a frightened child. My fears were silly and I knew it but I still wanted assurance from my own protector in this dangerous world. I am blessed that he knew that and didn’t tease me or ask me any questions. He took great care in the morning to assure me while I was getting ready for work too. Looks like kids aren’t the only ones who get scared at night. The “all-knowing” parents do too.