When my kids were little I expected to get up at night. But waking at night wasn’t just reserved for when my kids were babies. It seemed that every time my kids were learning a new skill they’re sleep patterns would suffer.
But the sleepless nights do pass; I think knowing that is what has kept me sane. My oldest daughter and my son sleep soundly through the night, sometimes to the point that it’s next to impossible to get them up the next day. I was even starting to think that my youngest daughter was giving up her night waking too.
All that changed a few nights ago. I was awoken by my youngest daughters sobbing cries. These cries were different, they were full of fear and distress. Usually my daughter doesn’t think twice about padding down the hall to my room when she wants something, but that night she wouldn’t leave her bed. Through her cries she told me she was scared; she told me she was scared of the monsters in her room.
I’ve heard kids can go through a stage of monster fear, but we’ve never encountered it, not with either of my two older kids, so this is new to me. I tried to calm her and turned on the light a little to show her nothing was there. I sprayed a little Anti-Monster Spray in the corners. I held her until she calmed down. When she was settled in her bed I said good night and prepared to leave the room but she asked if I could stay and hold her hand. Lights off, I laid down on the hard floor beside her bed and held her hand while she drifted off to sleep. By the time I worked myself back to my bed it was almost time for the alarm to go off. I was tired, but my daughter was able to sleep for the rest of the night.
The monsters haven’t visited since but I’m sure that won’t be the last time they show up. Some parents may not agree with how I handled it; some may not be so indulgent in their child’s nighttime habits when they’ve moved beyond the baby stage, but that’s why I’m responsible for my kids and they are responsible for theirs.
I’m counting on a few more years of sleepless nights (let’s not forget when my kids are teens and are out late at night or when they’ve moved out of the house and are on their own or when they’re waiting to hear on a job interview or the night before they get married or when they are expecting a child…) I guess sleepless nights are just one of those things we endure in our role as being a parent.
Now it’s time for my nap.