We got a late start tonight – bathtime didn’t end until almost 8, then we watched an epidose of Odd Squad and read a few books. Time check – 8:45 pm. Lights go down, music comes on, back tickling starts…and 20 minutes later, she’s out. Wow. It’s working.
We didn’t get back from Bubby and Zaydie’s house until 9:30. Lights down at 9:45ish, delta-waves soft music, back tickling…til she fell asleep at 10:30 pm. Still 45 minutes, but I’m trying to enjoy it as quality bonding time. At least it’s a bit less boring with the music.
Sleepover at Bubby and Zaydie’s house…nuff said.
Tonight went pretty smoothly: supper, bath, bottle… 7:40 pm. Suddenly, my phone rings – it’s Daddy! Oh yeah, we were supposed to Skype…Skype with Daddy, turning a basically chilled-out kid ready for bed into an excited raspberry-on-my-stomach-blowing flurry. But it was a great conversation, and he needs positive interactions with her as much as she needs them with him. I cut the conversation short after about 10 minutes in order to maintain our new bedtime routine…and momentum. Almost 8 pm. Read a few books on my tablet. 8:10 pm. Time to stop reading and turn down the light. Tickled for half an hour and thought I was in the clear, but then as I started to get up she noticed the movement and insisted, “Tickle!” Ok my love, I will tickle…til you fall asleep. 8:51 pm. Fantastic.
Tonight was much more successful, even if not exactly according to plan.
We watched about half an hour of Toupie et Binou after supper; skipped the bath, brushed her teeth, and went straight to bed without a bottle, which was surprising because she always asks for one. Read two books, had some protest and tears asking for more, but I insisted that was it and turned down the light. 8:11 pm. Sang one song, tickled her arm…then she said, “Don’t sing, tickle!” So I tickled her back til she fell asleep… 8:51 pm. Success.
Everything went according to plan: at 7pm I started her bath, at 7:30 we were putting pyjamas on, and by 7:45 I was singing lullabies and rubbing her back. I had decided earlier that day that our bedtime routine had to change. It had become totally ineffective. Every night she goes to bed around 8pm [after one or two meltdowns], but doesn’t fall asleep for at least half an hour, often 45 minutes, sometimes an hour. And it’s not like she stays quietly in her bed waiting to fall asleep. Most nights I can expect to find a dozen or so stuffed animals placed in rows on the floor, each covered in their own “blanket” [washcloth]. Or the floor covered in books, with her sitting in the middle “reading” to more even more stuffed animals. Sometimes I think she’s asleep because she’s so quiet, but then I go to the kitchen at 10pm and her light is on. WTF?!? GO TO SLEEP!!!
So tonight was going to be different, and it was. There were no tantrums or power struggles, which is a definite improvement over the past few weeks [months]. But I rubbed and tickled her back for an hour, and she still didn’t fall asleep. After an hour, I actually started having anxiety and I just said “Ok, bonne nuit; dodo [night night].” And kissed her on the forehead. To be totally honest, although I’m fairly sure that she’s sleeping by now, I am afraid to get up and check on her because I don’t want to feel like I failed again, even after pushing through some pretty serious feelings of “it’s enough, already. She should soothe herself. I’m tired. I wish I could lie down, but I can’t because the bed isn’t strong enough and there’s no room. I should just go to bed now. How much longer til she falls asleep? My arm hurts.” Then I think “sticking it out and waiting for her to fall asleep will be soooo worth it! It will be its own reward when bedtime is dramatically reduced in both duration and aggravation.” But then it isn’t, and I’m pretty sure I keep hearing noise coming from her room…at 9:49pm. Yup, she’s in a princess dress and party shoes.
In honour of Yom Ha’Shoah – Holocaust Memorial Day – I have been inspired to share my tiny piece of the collective tale of the Jewish People:
My Zaydie survived the Holocaust and the camps…but never talked about it, until I had to interview him for a grade 4 project. On that Friday night, the family hardly paid attention to what we were doing as they cleared the table… until slowly, one by one, they realized he was telling me his story and quietly joined us in the living room. How I wish I still had that project, where I wrote it all down when it was fresh in my mind…
I remember he grew up in a shtetl – a Jewish village – along the Hungarian-Romanian border, where everyone was religious because that was the only way they knew how to be. As a kid, I remember thinking how cool it was that my Zaydie was from Transylvania [I had a minor obsession with vampires for a time] and, being so proud, throwing that out to earn “cool” points with other kids in those endless playground competitions to impress each other. You know, normal kid stuff.
The Nazis came when he was around 12, I think…the story gets fuzzy here. I know his job at the camp where he ended up was to fill the holes the Allies bombed in the Nazi airstrip nearby…and that at some point after leaving the camp [was he liberated? did he escape? It kills me that I can’t remember…I think he escaped, but maybe that’s my imagination…] he ended up with some resistance fighters who were to bring him to safety somewhere…he had to run across a border which was under guard, so they crossed at night during shift change, and if they had been caught they would surely have been killed on the spot. He spent some time in a DP [displaces persons] camp, and somehow made it across the Atlantic, where he eventually met and married my grandmother. Thankfully, he was able to reconnect with three siblings, two of whom were in the same city as he was – Montreal.
We asked him how he ended up in Montreal, and his response I will never forget: “That’s where the boat dropped us off.” He was around 18 at the time, having lost nearly everyone and everything he knew…but never giving up, building a family and a business from nothing. And his is just one story…
May we never forget how tenaciously the Jewish People clung to life, and may we continue to celebrate our existence…ad viyat Mashi’ach!