Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Walk In the Forest with a Giggle Monster

Sleep isn’t something we do a lot of in this household. I am a night owl who unfortunately is forced to live in a day time world, which means a lot of insomnia.  My pre-teen daughter has seemingly inherited this gene from me, and if you’ve read any of my past posts you know Caden has never been a big fan of sleep either.  Things have hit a new low though recently as one of the medications my daughter is taking for her chronic daily migraines is preventing her from sleeping and Caden is dealing with a concussion (fell a week or so on ice on the playground) and a virus that has him completely congested.  So when someone mentioned a relatively cheap, drug-less, “easy” method for dealing with insomnia I jumped at the idea.  The idea…..guided imagery. 

A little research later and this seemed do-able.  I found a company that makes a whole line of relaxation CDs for children, teens, and adults. I had my daughter listen to a few clips and we pretty quickly realized that the ones with positive affirmations weren’t going to work because she said the idea of someone she didn’t know whispering at her in the dark was more “freaky” than relaxing.  Some of the other products seemed promising though, and they were available on CD, mp3, or in the iTunes store.  Product purchased instantly and I was signed up, on board, and ready for us all to sleep again.

I tried it the first night and honestly it did help me calm down and I think I went to sleep faster.  Unfortunately the screams of mommy coming from Caden’s room didn’t exactly allow me to stay asleep and him moving back into our bed a few nights ago certainly didn’t assure restful sleep.  Although I am slightly biased, my son is absolutely adorable when he sleeps.  [Cue adorable picture of sleeping child]. 
This stillness however only lasts long enough for you to snap a picture and then you’re back to protecting yourself from his head of steel and always active elbows and feet. 

Tonight we have had “blinkouts” (what Caden calls flickering lights) and lots of strange noises due to extremely high winds.  Seemed like the perfect night to try guided imagery with Caden. I should mention before I start this story though that Caden has turned into the Giggle Monster lately—everything, and I do mean everything, is giggle worthy. 

We laid down and I told Caden we were going to take a trip with our minds while listening to music; his response? Well that sounds boring. 

I told him to just pretend with me and then spent the next few minutes trying to define pretend to a very literal child.  So I switched to let’s close our eyes and tell a story that matches the music.  He agreed [with a lot of giggling]. I suggested that we were in a forest to which he responded “no we not mommy, we are in bed.”  Which was then followed by “what’s a forest mommy?” I then spent the next few minutes trying to explain a forest before I gave up and said the woods, Caden, the woods.

I tried again with oh did you hear that bird Caden, do you see it in your mind? To which he responded, “not bird mommy, the ipod.”  [cue more giggling].

Caden let’s try to imagine what we might eat in the woods.  Caden’s response, “a ‘nana” to which I tried to follow on by saying tell me about the banana you see Caden.  Not missing a beat, he said “don’t see ‘nana Mommy, want one for snack now.”  I then spent the next few minutes explaining that he couldn’t have a banana because he had already had dinner and a bedtime snack.  [cue more giggling].

Hearing a bird in the music, I tried one last time to get him to tell me about the bird that might be flying around.  He said an eagle which wasn’t a surprise given that his sister just took a field trip to the National Eagle Center and he now wants to visit.  I had to ask….Caden’ what’s the eagle doing?  His answer should have been predictable…..”it’s pooping on your head mommy” which is his latest response/reply/answer for everything. [cue lots more giggling].

At this point I turned bedtime back over to the daddy who was delighted that the Giggle Monster was so wound up, giggling, and bouncing on the bed. 

Let’s face it, I get some great ideas sometimes [cue lots of sarcasm] but guided imagery with a literal child on the spectrum ranks right up there with trying to use the kitchen stool as a ladder to stand on to reach something in my cupboard.  Thinking I might be brave enough to try again with my daughter, I mentioned it to her as a possibility for bedtime which was met with a “whatever” and dramatic eye roll.

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner with my headphones on trying to enjoy my walk in the forest without flinching or ducking when I hear the bird sounds because darn it, the only image in my mind now when I hear the birds is of that dang bird pooping on my head.