Thursday, October 20, 2011

Check Marks the Spot

We're struggling at night.

Even with a dozen lights on, even with a playlist of soft lullabies on repeat, even with the prize for eight consecutive days of my campaign entitled, "Hooray!  Everyone Will Sleep In Their Own Beds Again!" --  we are struggling.

"Mommy?  Mommeeeeeya?  Mommmmeeeeya?"
"I have to tell you something."
"Tomorrow, I want to have donuts."
"Tomorrow, I want it to be Christmas."
"Tomorrow, I want to go to Disney World."
"Tomorrow, put a dollar in my lunchbox so I can buy a cookie."

And my favorite: the half-awake, dazed, blank stare that has forgotten what he wanted but wants me to stand there until he remembers.

In every dialogue, they just need to say, again,
"Mommy, I'm afraid."
"Mommy, can you hold my hand, for just a few minutes?"
"Mommy, can't I just sleep with you?"

I make several trips down the hall every night.  It's roughly 37 steps from my bed to theirs.  The sleeplessness is reminiscent of the newborn stage.  Without the partner to commiserate with.

We're trying something new tonight.

After they have fallen asleep,
when I sneak in to tuck blankets and plant kisses on sleepy noggins,
I'll take a marker with me.
Washable Crayola. 
And I'll draw a checkmark on the back of each hand.

Checkmark means: Mommy checked on me.

It means, "Hey, buddy?  If you're awake and I'm asleep, I'm still here.  You are smart, safe, and brave.  And even if you can't see me right now, I was here while you were sleeping.  Look at your hand, and trace your checkmark until you fall back to sleep.  We'll wash it off in the morning, when sunshine brings security again."

They've asked for a blue marker.

I'll let you know how it goes.


Jaimie said...

That's a great idea. I wouldn't know what to do in that situation. The disciplinarian in me would want them to suck it up and deal, but they've been through so much.

Sally said...

What a creative idea. I hope it's successful for you. Sweet dreams.

Majorsfam said...

Can't wait to hear how this goes. What an AWESOME idea!

Patty Kline said...

Oh my word, that is ingenious. I pray it works. Peace to you all.

Angie said...

What a fantastic idea!

A friend's 4-year-old daughter used to get out of bed each night and ask some very-important-to-her question of her father downstairs: "Dad?" ("Yes?") "Can we go to the store/buy some candy/(go to Disney World)/etc. tomorrow?" The father always answered, "We'll talk about it in the morning." One night the girl stood at the top of the steps: "Dad?" "What is it, Megan?" -long pause- "Can we talk about something in the morning?"

Hoping for a long rest for all of you tonight.

Elisabeth said...

So smart! I really hope it works :)

janincolorado said...

I would love to wake up with a checkmark. How reassuring!

carolinagirl said...

Have you ever read the book "Kissing Hand"? This story sooooo reminds me of this book.

Christy Caflisch said...

I am experiencing the same thing! Your genius idea may save me months of sleep deprived nights! Thank you so much for always being so open and willing to share. You inspire me daily!

Maegan said...

this is a fabulous idea! Can't wait to hear how it went!

Megan said...

I'm not sure where to write this comment... but I guess in a post about bedtime would be appropriate.
I just woke up from a dream. You were sitting there talking with a close friend and even from a distance I knew who you were (even though we have actually never met).
I just wanted to tell you that you are doing well, with your children and in life and that you will make it. That you are in my thoughts often and that your husband is proud of you... I told you all that through tears. You looked in my eyes and nodded, like you got it. Then I woke up. Just wanted to share with you - you are thought of, loved and you make your hubby proud!

Mark and Amy said... did it work???????

Amy said...

I read this post, and at the part where you said "even if you can't see me, I'm still here" I couldn't help but think of God. He leaves us checkmarks, sunsets, friends, good books, music... Little checkmarks to let us know He's here - even though we can't see Him.

Majorsfam said...

Am I the only one that keeps checking back here to see how it worked?