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Honour the Child

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Friday, 21 October 2011
For a child with an active imagination, bedtime fears can be tough to tame.
I should know... I was a kid like that.

Since I spent my family's (scary) movie nights hidden in my bedroom with a paint by number and Cyndi Lauper cranked up high as a child, I understand my daughter's easily ignited fears of the dark and unknown. Honestly, even as an adult I can be spooked walking home after dark and I always check my back seat when I get in a vehicle at night and I never ever sleep in a room with the closet doors open.

Before you think it...  I don't share these fears with my daughter because I know how easily we can pass them on to our children, but I can empathize with how very real and overwhelming night-time imaginings can be. I am the bravest mom she knows!
At age 6, Rowan has really fallen into the 'monsters under the bed' set of fears.

It began with a nightmare in which the kids at school were pelting her with worms... a dream brought on by a real warm rainy night that brought all the worms to the surface in the school playground, where they were found by the children the next morning (um, ewww!).
And once the worms got in, so did all the other wee beasties and nasties.
My child is Scaredy Squirrel.

The ghosts, of course.
They are flat, see through and can fit in any place.

The monsters~ ogres and trolls, mostly.
They live under the bed, but come out to eat "mommies and daddies, boys and girls, aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas and friends and..." when darkness falls.
(and here I had thought about pulling out the Dennis Lee poetry soon..."and a monster ran off with my mum, my mum!" Nope.)

The underpants gnomes AND underpants aliens.
While not dangerous, they are definitely annoying.
And definitely hide under beds.
And their friends the sock gnomes.
Thieves, every one.

Thanks to the Barenaked Ladies, we have ninjas.
(and perhaps the BEST musical rhyme ever made: "The ninjas are deadly and silent. They are also unspeakably violent. they speak Japanese and do whatever they please. And sometimes they vacation in Ireland.")

Oh, and don't forget the killer bees.
Which don't sting you.
They stare you to death.

And finally, there are the DUST BUNNIES.
These scare the bejeebers out of me.
They CUT YOU IN HALF "with the sharpest knife they can find in your house".
These really freak me out because I know we have dust bunnies and I know we have knives.
So it could happen.

And I should mention~ all of these fears came to light on one night.
ONE night.

So what to do.
A 6 year old who can't function without enough sleep.
A school night.
A busy mom who needs to get some more work done and who will fall asleep for sure if she lays down with the kiddo.
Genuine fear that needed both respect and reduction to a more manageable size.

Sleeping in her own room was out of the question, the nasties knew she slept there.
So. She moved into my bed with a lamp on..
I gave her a new book (well, an old book of mine with lots of diverting pictures of puppies).
I gave her one of her real dogs in the room.
Still no luck.

And then I remembered having seen 'Monster Spray' for sale someplace.
A scented spray to chase the monsters away~ best used with great drama and confidence by the parents.
However, I knew I needed to be careful to NOT confirm the presence of monsters (ie. by spraying at them).
I needed to stop them from ever getting in, or there would be no getting to sleep (poor sleeper + ADD fueled imagination, stubbornness and sensitivity...).

Ah-ha!
Our beloved all natural hair detangler, scented with rosemary and lavender (my favourites!) to the rescue.
I grabbed the bottle and strode confidently into the bedroom, presenting my solution with a flourish.
"Monsters HATE rosemary!" I declared with bravado.
"They do?" Rowan asked with hope... I still don't know if she believed me, or whether she just wanted to believe as an out from her fears...
"All bad things hate the smell of rosemary!"
And I proceeded to spray about the room with a lot of "take that! killer bees!" and "I'd like to see dust bunny TRY to come in here now!", adding extra to Rowan's pillow and hair.
Once the room was fully doused, I left her with her dog, light and book and stayed close by, across the hall.

Every few minutes she would ask "can you still smell rosemary?".
And after a while a sleepy but skeptical voice inquired, "How do you KNOW they hate rosemary?"
Uh-oh.
"I looked it up on the computer."
Bingo. Ultimate authority.
The internet!

And off to sleep she went.

Last night, I sprayed her own room with a preventative shield of rosemary.
And on her own, she added some to her Puppy lovey and her hair.
As long as she could smell rosemary, she knew she was safe.

Hooray for the power of scent memory!
Yikes for the rosemary related dependency I may have begun.
But at least Rowan (and I) know the dust bunnies are lying quiet and still, no longer wafting about in search of a knife, not that they would find the sharp ones anyway.
I hid the sharp ones.
Just in case! ♥♥

3 comments:

Julie said...

Bravo, mama! I had a lot of night time fear as a child (and I also walk a bit faster outside at night and check the backseat) so I definitely have a lot of empathy for any fears my children have of the dark. It's not a constant here, and mostly just my middle daughter. But I never quite know how to banish those monsters for good. I'm definitely going to use this!

April's Homemaking said...

What a wonderful idea! I too grew up with a lot of fears, and still am spooked by noises in the night sometimes :) When my kids were little my youngest son would go sleep in big sis's room for quite a few years. I love your idea to repel the monsters with rosemary- cute post!! ~April

Tessa said...

This is so cute! I was a very scared of the dark as a kid too, luckily my kids arent too bad, but that might be because I let them sleep in the same room, the old saftey in numbers, I guess!
I have a bottle of bed-time lavender spray that I will definately use if the need ever arises, good to know!

This reminds me of a little trick I did for my kids unwillingness to try new foods. We used to use "Yuck-Be-Gone" on our "yucky" foods ;) it works very much the same way as your rosemary trick ;) I made a label for it and everything, just put the label over a package of stevia etc. and let the kids help you unpack the groceries, they are sold when they find it in the bag and read the "guarantee" ;) works like a charm. Pasta is now my sons favorite food! (what kid doesnt like pasta anyhow!)

Love your blog!
Tessa
www.mylittleniche.etsy.com

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