Today was an extraordinary day for me (us.) To some, it may not sound like much, but for me, it was priceless. Today was the beginning of my first overnight stint (during the week, filled with our typical hectic schedule) alone with all three of my kiddos. The morning started off fabulously, as for a change, Nicholas slept the entire way through the night. Now, I don’t want to jinx myself for tonight since I am alone all night with them all, but he has been waking from about 2am until 5 am, doing nothing but making noises and basically testing my instinctive mother’s hearing abilities. Thanks to Nicholas, I have learned that I could NEVER sleep through one of my children’s midnight wakings. Thanks for giving me that boost of parental confidence kiddo!
Anyway, though we’ve tried a number of things to get him back to sleep in the middle of the night, we have finally come to the conclusion that nothing works, and we must just let him do his thing until he finally passes out. Sometimes this is comfortably in his bed, and other times it’s sprawled out in the middle of the floor with no pillow or blanket. I hate this, but it is what it is. It’s maddening, and it doesn’t help that my 4 month old, Brody still gets up for his 2 or 3am feeding, and my beautiful Avery is QUITE the early bird, usually up by 6am. Talk about a couple of walking zombies! My husband and I sometimes take naps in shifts on weekends just to make it through the day. In an act of desperation yesterday, I decided to try something new with Nicholas. Having heard of “music therapy” but not knowing a whole lot about it, I decided to buy some headphones for him that would allow him to listen to my music collection wirelessly. I have seen him show an interest in music, and he even recognizes some of my favorite songs (that I have a bad habit of playing over and over in the car….poor kids!) I thought maybe this could be a calming exercise for him since I’ve seen them do it in his private OT sessions and it seemed to be something he enjoyed. Despite not having the correct equipment for actual “music therapy” per say, I was pleasantly surprised that when I popped the headphones on his head for the first time (well, with some resistance from Nicholas since he doesn’t like to have his ears touched) and upon hearing the music, he immediately calmed, stopped putting his hands in his mouth (which he does incessantly,) and was smiling, and even laughing at the song! Thank you Pandora Toddler Radio!!!
Then it occurred to me….why not try this during his nap or bedtime? So, that I did. After laying him in his bed, and doing our usual ritual (with a weighted blanket, stuffed puppy and monkey) I asked him if he’d like to listen to some music. He looked me directly in the eye and had a little smirk on his face…I took this as a solid “YES!” So, as it turns out, either Nicholas is a HUGE Beatles fan (Abbey Road, of course…it’s all I could think of quickly from my music library that was somewhat mellow) or they bore him to sleep because after a few smiles and laughs during “Octupus’s Garden,” he placed his hands behind his head, and nodded off within 5 minutes! I was astounded, since nap time, until now has been something like this: lay him down, cover him up, turn on white noise machine, turn on ceiling fan, walk out of the room, walk downstairs, look at video monitor, find Nicholas happily standing on his head in his bed downward-dog style, return upstairs, and repeat process. Good times, let me tell you. And usually during this time, Avery has already fallen asleep, and by the time the process ends (which sometimes includes me just giving up) Avery has usually woken up, and Brody is ready for action too. This equates to ZERO quiet time for mommy. However, it DOES also result in quite the additional calorie burn for the day, since I climb and descend the stairs about 1500 times by the end of it all. Geesh….when we bought a quad level home 8 years ago, I figured the stairs are only an issue for the elderly. Who would have thunk that they would become my nemesis when I had children….but I digress.
It remains to be seen if this technique will always work for him (us,) but on this day, it did, and I couldn’t be more excited! I feel like I learned just a little something more about what Nicholas likes and needs, and when you don’t have that experience on a daily basis, it is profoundly pleasing! These are the moments that I treasure, and never take for granted. I look forward to the next one, and in the meantime, you can bet I’ll be putting a playlist together JUST for Nicholas.