Happy Things

22 Sep

Some of us may have a face-washing regimen. Others may like to read a book or need the tv playing. Maybe there’s a blog post/journal entry to write or a bathroom need you must take care of before you finally settle down for your night of sleep. For Nia, it’s always been a very particular process – almost a formula.

  • When she was a baby, she needed rocked and bounced  – a lot. I remember practically sleepwalk-swaying with her in my arms in the bathroom with the fart-fan turned on for white noise. We also spent many nights rocking and snuggling until she fell asleep. (Understandably, I just didn’t want to let her go.)
  • When she was a little younger than a toddler, she would cuddle with Andrew on the couch with her nightcap of milk, watching Tom and Jerry episodes. She knew after the cartoon episode was over, it was time for sleepy.
  • From about that same age until she was a preschooler (when night-night time really became an obstacle course), she required three different music boxes to run simultaneously for her to fall asleep. Her Lola described it as a cacophony and had the hardest time one night while trying to figure out how to make all the “musics” work. We forgot to tell her about this bedtime ritual so she was left with Nia saying, as if it was a no-brainer, “Lola, my musics.” Nia then had to instruct her Lola how to operate each “music.” One was a teddy bear with a tail that turned to wind up the music, one was a princess jewelry box and the other was a light up music projector that our friends Anna and Jason sent her when she was born.
  • At that time, she also required I give her a hug along with seven kisses on the forehead, seven blow kisses and seven leg rubs before I could leave her room.  When she returned the blow kisses, she kissed each finger and counted until she had seven fingers held up and seven exaggerated blows aimed my way.
  • The cacophony ended when one of the music makers stopped working and then the classical CD became the next must have. That, and happy things. I love happy things. It started because she was afraid of having bad dreams so I told her she needs to think of happy thoughts to calm her mind. I will usually tell her three things – a positive thing from school, something to look forward to, and something I love about her. Often, I’ll ask her to tell me one from her day. (I learn more about her day that way, too.)

It seems happy things (besides her goodnight prayer) is the longest running simmer-down-for-sleep ritual. After years of the same classical music, Nia has started listening to her beloved One Direction CD. “It makes me happy,” she says while turning over to get comfy in her bed.

The best way to fall asleep.

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