My son does not like to sleep. He feels that it is a colossal waste of time – hours wasted in oblivion when he could be doing things much more fruitful, for example, jumping off the bed with a whoop till the residents of the floor below probably murmur expletives under their breath. So, sleeping time turns out to be a major event each day, twice a day.
The afternoon nap is no less than a punishment for him. He grows restless right from the time he is fed lunch, is apprehension of the torture he knows is awaiting him. Each time I would gently put his head on the pillow and wrap him cozily in the blanket, he would struggle out and crawl off the bed with a big smile, and I would again have to take it from the top, repeatedly, till he cries in protest and falls asleep from all the exhaustion of fighting me. Come night time, the process is even more difficult, as he would be determined to wring off the day and extract from it whatever more joy possible. At these times, I cannot help asking myself why all the movies in the world show kids as beings who slipped quietly off to sleep after a mere good night kiss from their mums.
I always felt there had to be a better way of making him sleep than brute force. Thankfully, after several trials and errors, we have finally settled into a sort of routine. I put him in a fresh Pampers diaper which would keep him cozy and dry through the night. A bottle of warm milk does its part in soothing him a little and triggers off milk-induced sleepiness. That is followed by brushing and a cream massage. That relaxes his muscles. To dissuade him from getting off the bed, I make him lie down on me. This, probably thanks to the age-old mother-child bond, has a strange way of quieting him down. Then I run my fingers through his silky hair and croon his favorite nursery rhymes. After much trial and error, it turned out that while Five Little Monkeys excites him into sleeplessness, Twinkle Twinkle delights him so much that he wants to hear it again and again, The Wheels Of The Bus makes him want to croon along and renders sleep impossible and Hickory Dickory Dock makes him giggle uncontrollably, BUT Hush Little Baby does what it promises — it hushes him. After I sing it a few times, drawing out the words, while rubbing his back and gently patting his head, his eyelids get heavy and eventually – he drifts off to sleep. After silently thanking the good Lord above, I gently put him in his cot. The Pampers diaper makes sure that he does not wake up at night troubled by wetness.